Newport Tower in Newport This Week

Jim Egan and The Newport Tower Museum were covered in the local magazine Newport This week. The author got a few things right. The full story is here is here: Newport This Week.Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 1.08.30 PM.png

Providence Journal: Newport tower on time with lunar alignment / Video

As a follow up to the previous week’s engagement The Journal revisited the Tower.

Whatever purpose the builders of the ancient stone tower in Newport’s Touro Park had in mind, there can be no denying that it functions reliably today as an astronomical calendar.

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Just ask Jim Egan, curator of the Newport Tower Museum — if you have the time. He’ll tell you how, back in December 1996, when the “full-moon Lunar Minor alignment” appeared through the west and northeast windows, William Penhallow, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at the University of Rhode Island, predicted that it would not happen again for about 18 years.

Egan was there again on Jan. 5, 2015, to witness the full moon’s return to the windows, confirming Penhallow’s prediction. The event will continue for several more lunar cycles for those who care to see for themselves.


The full story here: Providence Journal

Jim Egan at the Design Science Symposium

What is the tuned in or tuned out minimum structural experience of Universe? Jim Egan speaks at the Fourth Biennial Design Science Sypmosium co-sponsored by the Synergetics Collaborative and RISD, the Rhode Island School of Design.  In this engaging talk at the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab at RISD Jim explains the connections between Buckminster Fuller, Robert Marshall, and sixteenth century Elizabethan philosopher John Dee.

Egan presents evidence that the twenty eight foot tall tower in the heart of Newport Rhode Island, known as the Newport Tower, was designed by Dee as a camera obscura calendar room and an aedificium of philosophical thought.  For more information about John Dee, the Newport Tower, and the camera obscura calendar room please visit

The theme of the symposium: STEM to STEAM thru Synergy: Bridging Morphology, Biomimicry, Sustainability, and Synergetics.

John Shannon Hendrix, Ph.D., Professor of Architectural History

John Shannon Hendrix, Professor of Architectural History, sat down to speak about his opinions of Jim Egan’s findings regarding the 1582 construction date for the Newport Tower.

Tips for Viewing the Winter Solstice at The Tower

It is that time of year again.  Optimal viewing of the “light-through-two-windows” event at The Tower occurs on the Winter Solstice, which is December 21 this year. But as solstice means “sun stand-still” the lighting spectacle can be witnessed for a dozen or so days before and after December 21. Sunrise is around 7:10 and the light shines through the two windows around 7:30. The viewing spot is on the walkway in the extreme Northwest corner of Touro Park.

The “egg-shaped rock “ inside the Tower (in the west-northwest arch) gets illuminated by a patch of light coming through the south window around 9:00AM.

And remember, never look directly at the sun, even through the viewfinder of a camera. It is OK to watch it on an LCD screen of a digital camera, but not the viewfinder. Sun viewing glasses are available at the Newport Tower Museum ar 152 Mill Street, 50 steps northeast of the Tower.

For information on the Winter Solstice, see:

The Newport Tower Museum in the Boston Globe

Boston Globe writer Christopher Klein’s assignment was “Vikings in New England.”


The topic eventually led him to Newport and the Tower, which is just around the corner from the “Hotel Viking” and “Viking Cleaners.” But there he meets Jim Egan of the Newport Tower Museum who, in a “whirlwind,” spins Klein’s head from Viking to Elizabethan. We have included the link to the article here and also have uploaded the article as a 3 page pdf for ease of viewing. Globe 1 Globe 2 Globe 3

On The Set of “American Templars”

Last spring Dave Brody called me on the phone, “Jim, how would you like to be in The American Templars, a movie based on my book, Cabal of the Westford Knight: Templars at the Newport Tower? You get to play yourself, the curator of the Newport Tower Museum.”

“Sure Dave.” I replied, “On one condition. I get to mention that I don’t think the Tower was built by the Templars in 1398, but in that it was built by John Dee the Elizabethans in 1583.” Dave agreed, and last spring a crew of a dozen spent two days filming around the Tower and in my museum.

Flash forward to October. Brody calls Jim with good news and bad news. The good news is they want Jim to join the cast and crew in the limo ride and the red carpet walk at the premiere of the movie.

The bad news is: most of the bit-parts that Jim acted in ended up on “the cutting room floor.” Bummer.

This happens in life. You practice hard, dress for the big game, and you sit on the bench. On the other hand, I was a little miffed that my very brief appearance now implied I was lending support to the Templar theory.

So as a sign of a respectful protest, I decided to go to the premiere dressed as the John Dee, the man I claim designed the Newport Tower. I donned the whole Elizabethan costume, forest-green vest with gold buttons, matching doublet (knickers), shirt with billowy arms, felt hat with swirling feather, and dashing maroon cape. Everyone else had tuxes and gowns, so I definitely stood out.


The crowd of over 550 people enjoyed the 2-hour movie, and at the end, Dave Brody had me stand up and take a bow, graciously explaining our differences of opinion.

Despite being cut, I feel anything that wakes people up to the importance of the Newport Tower is worthwhile. Plus, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

ImageMembers of cast and crew of “The American Templars”

The Newport Tower’s Place in Early Newport

The Newport Tower once had a full view of Newport Harbor, as shown in this early illustration. Viewed from the Tower, the sunset occurred at 302 degrees directly behind the steeple of Trinity Church on the Summer Solstice. The steeple is no longer visible today, due to houses around the park.


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