A historical museum that is open seasonally for tours as one of the finest examples of Georgian Colonial architecture from Newport's "golden age".
Hunter House Museum is located near the northern end of the Newport Historic District. The home was built between 1748 and 1754 for Jonathon Nichols Jr. Nichols, who was a prosperous merchant and colonial deputy. Jonathon Nichols Jr. died in 1756 and the estate was sold to Colonel Joseph Wanton Jr., who happened to be a deputy governor of the colony and a merchant, as well. He wanted the house to be larger, so he added a south wing along with a second chimney. The building was transformed into a formal Georgian mansion with a large central hall. Colonel Wanton wanted the pine paneling in several of the rooms to look more like walnut and rosewood.
Colonel Wanton had Loyalist sympathies, so as the American Revolution began he left Newport and his home. The home was then used as the headquarters of Admiral de Ternay, who was the commander of the French fleet when French forces occupied Newport in 1780. When the war was finished, William Hunter acquired the home. William Hunter was a U.S. Senator and President Andrew Jackson's charge d'affaires to Brazil. The Hunter's sold the house in the mid-1860s, and the property then went through several owners until the mid-1940s. In 1945, the home was bought by the Preservation Society of Newport County to avoid demolition and to save the contents. They were able to restore Hunter House to the era of Colonel Wanton (1757 - 1779). The property was made a National Historic Landmark in 1968. Hunter House is open for limited public tours and has period furnishings by Townsend and Goddard and paintings. The garden has been completely restored to its 18th-century splendor. The home has beautiful woodwork and has a carved pineapple over the doorway, which is a symbol of welcome throughout Colonial America. Guided tours are available at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, and 4:30 pm. Tours have 10 people per group. Adults, $35, youth (6 - 17), $8.