$500K federal grant to help cover Marble House roof repair

A $500,000 FEDERAL GRANT announced Friday will help fund roof repairs at Marble House in Newport. / COURTESY THE PRESERVATION SOCIETY OF NEWPORT COUNTY

NEWPORT – A $500,000 federal grant will go toward a roof rehabilitation at Marble House in Newport, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., announced Friday.

The award comes from the Save America’s Treasures federal grant program, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences.

Reed is a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, which oversees federal spending on the program.

“I commend the Preservation Society of Newport County for its dedication to preserving the history and beauty of Rhode Island’s vibrant past and ensuring it is accessible to the public,” Reed said in a statement. “This grant signifies the national importance of Marble House and the Newport mansions and recognizes the positive impact they have on the local economy.”

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The grant requires matching private donations, which the Preservation Society of Newport County expects to see soon.

“There are confirmed contributors,” said John Rodman, director of museum experience at the Preservation Society of Newport County. “We are well on our way to matching the full amount of the grant.”

Total costs for the roof work won’t be set until the extent of needed repairs is known, Rodman added. The project may begin sometime next spring.

Marble House, the former summer home of Alva and William K. Vanderbilt, was built between 1888 and 1892. Opened to the public in the late 1960s, it now hosts 175,000 visitors yearly.

Marble House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

“This grant now creates an opportunity for private donors to see their dollars matched by the Save America’s Treasures program,” said Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe. “We are incredibly grateful for everyone who helped make this possible.”

Marble House was among 41 entities nationwide to share in this year’s $12.6 million Save America’s Treasures program.

The Preservation Society of Newport County’s historic properties and mansions are among the top four most-visited museums in New England, hosting more than 1 million tours annually.

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