Keeping History Above Water—one of the first national conversations to focus on the increasing and varied risks posed by sea level rise to historic coastal communities and their built environments—was not a conference about climate change, but about what preservationists, engineers, city planners, legislators, insurers, historic home owners and other decision makers need to know about climate change, sea level rise in particular, and what can be done to protect historic buildings, landscapes and neighborhoods from the increasing threat of inundation.

Over four days, specialists from across the United States and abroad shared experiences, examined risks, and debated solutions with an emphasis on case studies and real world applications. The inaugural Keeping History Above Water approached sea level rise from a multi-disciplinary perspective in order to develop practical approaches to mitigation, protective adaptation, and general resilience.

For anyone concerned with preserving historic coastal communities, Keeping History Above Water offered an opportunity to hear from leaders in the field, participate in workshops on practical solutions, tour threatened areas and structures in Newport and its environs, and simply connect over this area of shared concern.

The conversation continues October 29-November 1, 2017 in Annapolis, Maryland, where the City of Annapolis is taking the lead in hosting the second edition of Keeping History Above Water.



Founded as a not-for-profit institution in 1968 by Doris Duke, the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) preserves, maintains, and interprets the early architectural heritage of Aquidneck Island and the fine and decorative art collections of Doris Duke. Since its founding, NRF has restored and preserved more than 80 eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century buildings, 74 of which are currently rented as private residences to tenant stewards and maintained by a full-time crew of carpenters and painters. This is one of the largest collections of period architecture owned by a single organization anywhere in the United States. More importantly, the majority of these structures are being lived in and used as they have for more than three centuries, making them an enduring and defining feature of the historic architectural fabric of Newport and a source of great pride for the community.

As a leader in the preservation of early American architecture, the NRF is well positioned to provide a forum for the exchange of information across disciplinary boundaries for collaborative problem solving in the areas of most critical concern to the field of historic preservation today.



Shantia Anderheggen, National Trust for Historic Preservation
Teresa Crean, Coastal Resources Center, URI Graduate School of Oceanography
Mohamad Farzan, RIBA, AIA, NewPort Architecture, LLC
Tom Goddard, Board of Trustees, Newport Restoration Foundation
Dawn Kotowicz, Coastal Resources Center, URI Graduate School of Oceanography
Adam Markham, Union of Concerned Scientists
Margot Nishimura, Newport Restoration Foundation
Marcy Rockman, National Park Service
Pieter N. Roos, Newport Restoration Foundation
Robert Russell, Salve Regina University, Program in Cultural & Historic Preservation
Val Talmage, Preserve Rhode Island
Jeremy C. Wells, Roger Williams University, School of Art, Architecture & Historic Preservation
Stephen White, Roger Williams University, School of Art, Architecture & Historic Preservation
Sandra Whitehouse, environmental policy consultant
Jeana Wiser, National Trust for Historic Preservation



Ashley Braquet, NRF Conference Research Fellow (2015)
Rita Lavoie, Conference Communications Fellow
Ashley Mercado, Marketing, Communications, and Press Relations
Kelsey Mullen, Coordinator of Academic Programs & Special Projects
John Taraborelli, Marketing Content Contributor