This month marks the second anniversary of the Newport Historical Society’s online database. As the only Newport institution to offer online collections access, the Society is pleased to announce the “Top Five” most searched for topics which answers the question: “What are people interested in?”
5) A photograph of John Joe who served on the privateer Yankee during the War of 1812 and lived at the Newport Asylum (P9317).
4) A set of 18th century pewter buttons (01.131).
3) A c.1978 photograph of a man cross country skiing along a snow covered Newport street (P2978).
2) A c.1863 photograph of Civil War soldiers at Portsmouth Grove (P5725).
1) Fabric sample books from Samuel Philips and Company, 1771 (Object: 91.16.14).
Looking at the top ten list, fifty percent of the searched objects were photos, which is not surprising given that the Society’s extensive photo collection is one of the most frequently requested objects to access. The popular costume and textiles collection represents forty percent of the searched objects.
“We are happy to see that people are using this resource,” explains the Society’s Registrar Stacie Parillo. “It’s a great tool for both academic audiences, the armchair cultural tourist, reenactors and anyone interested in Newport’s rich past.”
It’s also fun to search. For those who enjoy social media photos, the “random images” button offers a “Pinterest-style” collection of pictures to begin exploring the vast information the database holds.
The Society is launching a contest to name the database. Newport History fans are asked to submit ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org or by posting them on the NHS facebook page at: facebook.com/NewportHistory. The winning name will be announced in February 2014 and the winner will receive a complimentary NHS membership and two walking tour vouchers (an $80 value).
“In 2014, plans are underway to continue expanding the database such as adding more images,” Parillo concludes. “It’s the ideal forum for us to share Newport history with an international audience and further our educational mission.” To view the database, visit NewportHistory.org and click the Collections & Resources / Searchable Collections Catalog tab with a cup of tea in a comfy chair.