Diversions and Entertainments in 19th Century Newport
Did you know that a Mummy was put on display in Newport's Old Colony House? That lectures on astronomy were given in the city’s 4th Baptist Meetinghouse? Or that Newport, RI was a center for live entertainment hosting musicals, comedies and Shakespeare’s plays? The Newport Historical Society presents a broadside exhibit featuring historic advertisements and highlights some popular forms of entertainment.
The advertisements featured in Diversions and Entertainments in 19th Century Newport, which were known as broadsides, promote the wide range of entertainments available to 19th century Newporters. The broadsides highlight how people learned about activities in town while showing how Newporters from over a hundred years ago spent their free time. “Broadsides are fascinating to investigate,” explains NHS Curator Matt Keagle. “This exhibit is about entertainment, but it’s also about communication. Before radio, television, or the internet, broadsides were some of the speediest forms of communication.”
Diversions and Entertainment in 19th Century Newport is part of the Rhode Island Center for the Book’s 2012 Art of the Book Program “Rhode Island’s Broadsides Rule!” which offers statewide exhibits and events celebrating Rhode Island’s broadside history.