The Newport Art Museum occupies the Griswold House, a national historic landmark designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt and considered to be a seminal and extremely influential early American Stick Style design. The project involved extensive renovations to the building, which is home to restored rooms, galleries, a children’s art classroom, administrative offices, a lecture hall, and a museum store. The surrounding park and sculpture garden is used for outdoor programs. A focus on the preservation of all prime historic interior features together with the contemporary design of the new facilities in accordance with the Standards of the Secretary of the Interior was a main driver of the design.
Work began with exterior stabilization and restoration including restoring, and replicating where necessary, exterior architectural features, repainting the original color scheme, and sealing the building against the elements. On the inside, the project scope included accommodation of a new full-floor public level below grade, legal occupancy and use of a previously inaccessible attic level, appropriate accessibility via a new elevator, new climate control systems, extensive fire detection, control and suppression systems, and state-of-the-art presentation audio / visual systems for the main gallery / lecture hall.
In 2006 the art museum won the State of Rhode Island Historic Preservation & Heritage Commission Award.