Book signing with Mary Ann Esposito, Ciao Italia!

Friday Dec. 7th 5:30-7:30pm
Discover Portsmouth Museum Shop

Ciao Italia
My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy

by Mary Ann Esposito

While you’re here, enjoy the Gingerbread House Exhibit Opening and check out our wonderful selection of holiday gifts in our Museum Shop!

Portsmouth Advocates Awards Night Honors City Preservation Projects

Discover Portsmouth 10 Middle Street
Thursday November 15, 2018 5:30-7pm

Award presentations 6pm.
Light refreshments will be served.

Portsmouth Advocates, a key program of the Portsmouth Historical Society, is preparing for awards season! Since 1989 Portsmouth Advocates has honored individuals and projects that enhance the city’s unique historic character and make Portsmouth a better place to live and work. On Thursday November 15 from 5:30-7pm at Discover Portsmouth, the Advocates will continue this tradition by presenting awards to exceptional individuals and projects completed over the last year.

Project-specific awards include the following:

  • Restoring the Integrity of a Resource: Historic New England for Jackson House
  • Continued and Sensitive Maintenance of a Historic Property: Northeast Auctions for Treadwell Mansion and Ayer House
  • Rehabilitation of a Historic Resource: Amanda and Jay McSharry for the Sailmaker’s House; Pontine Theater for the Plains School; and Chinburg Builders for Frank Jones Brew Yard
  • Arthur J. Gerrier Memorial Award, which is presented to an individual who is committed to serving our historic community. Arthur Gerrier was a member of the Portsmouth Advocates Board and an outstanding architectural historian: Ellen Marlatt
  • John Grossman Memorial Award, which recognizes an individual who makes a reality of an organization’s mission and bridging the theoretical and the practical. John Grossman was a tireless supporter of Portsmouth non-profits and Chair of Portsmouth Advocates for many years: Richard Candee

2017 Portsmouth Advocates Awards Recipients

Portsmouth Advocates

Formed in 1980, Portsmouth Advocates was established to “promote the maintenance of the historical and architectural integrity of the structures and cityscape of the City of Portsmouth.” In 2012 Portsmouth Advocates became part of Portsmouth Historical Society.

28th Annual Gingerbread House Contest Call for Entries

Entries must be registered no later than Saturday, November 17, 2018.

2016 Adult Winner, Gingerbread Contest

Portsmouth Historical Society is pleased to announce another year of a sweet local tradition. Gather your family, friends and/or co-workers together and craft your own beautiful creation! All levels welcome. Homemade gingerbread creations will be on display daily for the public throughout December at Discover Portsmouth.

Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth Kickoff

Friday, November 30, 2018, 5-8pm
The exhibition will open Friday, November 30, from 5-8pm, and run through December 22, from 9:30-5 pm daily. The exhibition will also be open until 8pm on Saturday, December 1 and Friday, December 7.

Take a house home!

Some of our most beautiful entries will be raffled off and available to the winners to take home for the holidays. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit Portsmouth Historical Society.

Please read the Contest Rules before you register.



The 28th Annual Gingerbread House Contest is a feature of Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth, the city-wide, month-long celebration anchored by The Music Hall and Strawbery Banke Museum.

Created by local businesses, artists, families and kids, the gingerbread houses will be nestled into a winter wonderland in the first floor gallery surrounded by large format photographs: David J. Murray’s images of Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth and photographs of trains in New Hampshire winters by Andy Dolph. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Judges’ winning selections will be announced at the November 30 Kickoff Party. Visitors to the exhibit can vote for the People’s Choice Awards in four categories: “Best in Show,” “Most Creative Building Materials,” “Most Attention to Detail,” and “Most Whimsical.”

Come see these magical creations and find holiday gifts in the Museum Shop! According to Robin Albert, Welcome Center Coordinator, who is overseeing the exhibit, “We are gearing up for what has become a wonderful tradition. Both past participants and newcomers are encouraged to enter, so get your family and friends and co-workers together and craft your own beautiful creation!”

Free Family Programs

Dec. 9 – Tin punching winter decoration (ornament)
Dec. 16 Snowflakes and Gingerbread Man Decorating

Thank you to our event sponsors

Devine Millimet    

Visit Our Museum Store

Museum Store Sunday!
November 25, 2018

On Nov. 25, Members get a double discount* *exclusions apply
Open Daily, 9:30am-5pm

Shop Portsmouth – support our community!

Our Museum shop is stocked with the perfect gifts:

  • Books about Portsmouth history – Portsmouth’s best titles!
  • Super cool stuff for kids
  • Keepsakes for your visitors
  • Unique jewelry and apparel from local artists and craftsmen

Special Shop events

Art ‘Round Town – Friday Dec. 7th from 5-8pm.

Book signing – Friday Dec. 7th 5:30-7:30pm
Ciao Italia
My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy

by Mary Ann Esposito

While you’re in shopping, let our Welcome Center staff help you and your visitors discover Portsmouth history, arts and culture!

For more information, call Discover Portsmouth at (603) 436-8433.

Members Opening Gala: Rose Labrie, Primitive Artist

Family Skate by Rose Labrie

Family Skate, by Rose Labrie


Thursday, October 18, 2018, 5-7:30 pm

Admission for Members: $35 pp

Join us for this exclusive Members’ preview event as we celebrate the talent of the Seacoast’s own Rose Labrie, in an exhibition curated by Richard Candee.

Enjoy an autumn evening of great art, Portsmouth stories, local music, fine wine, and delicious appetizers. Cocktail attire encouraged.

Thanks to DTC Lawyers for sponsoring this exhibition opening.

Purchase Tickets Online


Call 603-436-8433 for more information.

Thanks to our generous sponsors


Piscataqua Savings Bank

“It’s Pastel” 10th Annual Juried Show

October 20-November 24, 2018 • 9:30-5pm 7 days a week.

Awards Ceremony and Opening Night Reception Saturday, October 20th, 2018, 5-7pm. Free admission

Oriental Dreams, Gill Truslow

Oriental Dreams, Gill Truslow

The Pastel Society of New Hampshire presents its 10th Annual Juried Exhibition “It’s Pastel” at the Portsmouth Historical Society’s Academy Gallery at Discover Portsmouth in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. More than 80 paintings from award-winning, critically acclaimed artists from across the country will be on view in the Academy Gallery, in what has become an area favorite exhibit.

A Golden Crown, Bethany Fields

A Golden Crown, Bethany Fields

The Long Haul, Susan Ellis

The Long Haul, Susan Ellis

Fall Fishing, Terri Brooks

Fall Fishing, Terri Brooks

Stackyard Road, Tamara Amoroso

Stackyard Road, Tamara Amoroso

Gertrude Fiske: American Master – Closing Sunday!


With Companion Exhibitions
Seacoast Masters Today
Sisters of the Brush and Palette

Discover Portsmouth 2018
Friday, April 6 – Sunday, September 30, 2018
Curated by Lainey McCartney

Gertrude Fiske (1879-1961), a Weston, Massachusetts, native who painted in Portsmouth, is an American Master. She was a favored student and then the peer of several American Impressionists, including Edmund C. Tarbell, Frank Benson, Philip Hale, and Charles Woodbury. Critics and peers alike identified her genius as residing in how she ‘sees,’ and this gift of ‘seeing’ made her more independent than many. This independence set her apart.

Select Friday Lunchtime Guided Gallery Tours

For ten select Fridays in 2018, visitors to Discover Portsmouth are invited to a special gallery tour. Join our exhibition curator or curator trained guides for an in-depth look at the remarkable art of Gertrude Fiske. (click here for dates)

Private tours are also available upon request for a fee. Please call (603) 436-8433 for more information.
[Read more…]

Symposium II – A Strong Legacy Continued: The Women’s Movement from Gertrude Fiske to Today

Poster image courtesy of Jodi EdwardsOn September 22, 2018, Portsmouth Historical Society hosts the 2nd Gertrude Fiske Symposium. This Symposium is designed to build upon some of the social themes explored in our 2018 exhibition, Gertrude Fiske: American Master, and create a community conversation, reflecting on the Women’s Movement from First Wave to the present. In this symposium we have gathered a group of phenomenal women who have fought for their own rights and subsequently the rights of women everywhere. It is our goal to learn from them, engage with them, and ultimately be inspired by them to contribute to the advancement of the freedom and rights of all people.

The symposium will run from 9:00 – 3:00 with coffee and refreshments provided.
Tickets are $40 (Members) and $50 (Non-members).
Purchase Tickets Now

Lainey McCartney will welcome everyone, thank our speakers, and provide some brief context to the significance of this symposium.

The Portsmouth Historical Society is proud to present exhibitions of national importance and local relevance such as Gertrude Fiske: American Master. We hope to engage and inspire our visitors with beautiful and thought provoking artwork but we also hope to go beyond mere display and become a gathering place of ideas. Gertrude Fiske was a phenomenal artist who surpassed many of her better known male contemporaries in accolades, awards, and professional and popular recognition, and yet, her story and her work have been essentially forgotten by history. Fiske was devoted to her artwork, her independence, and the rights of all women. The themes and passions of Gertrude Fiske’s life are as relevant today as they were in the early 20th century. The rights of women have improved greatly over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries but there is still much more work to be done.

9:00 – 9:10 Coffee & Refreshments
9:10 – 9:20 Lainey McCartney – Introduction
9:20 – 10:00 Martha Fuller Clark – Keynote
10:00 – 10:30 Mara Witzling – Name Five Women Artists – Moving Beyond the Challenge
10:30 – 10:40 Break
10:40 – 11:10 Nicole Carrier and Annette Lee of Throwback Brewery – The Culture and Inclusiveness of the Craft Beer Industry
11:10 – 11:40 Dudley Dudley – Aristotle Onassis and career in politics
11:40 – 12:00 Jodi Edwards – The 2017 Women’s March and art as social activism
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 1:30 Susan Strickler – A Life Made in Art: Maud Briggs Knowlton, Artist, Educator and Museum Director
1:30 – 2:00 Kabria Baumgartner – Lois M. Jones and Gertrude Fiske: Women in the Boston Artistic Community
2:00 – 2:30 Seacoast Masters Today: Sydney Bella Sparrow, Pamela duLong Williams, and Amy Brnger – Women in the Arts
2:30 – 3:00 Group Panel – Questions and Answers
Crystal Paradis – Panel Moderator

With thanks to our generous event sponsor

FREE Family Program: Paint and Print with Nature

Family Program

Sunday, Sept. 23 9:30am-12pm
Discover Portsmouth.

Use natural objects to create your very own painting. Pine cones, leaves and other objects found in nature can create beautiful patterns and prints. Each child will take home their own masterpiece. This is best for ages 3.5 and older. Every child must be accompanied by an adult. Stop by anytime between 9:30am-12:pm

For more information, call Discover Portsmouth at: (603) 436-8433.

5th Annual John Paul Jones Jubilee & Silent Auction

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Discover Portsmouth
10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH.

$30 for Members / $40 for Non-Members

Buy Your Tickets by August 31st for an Early Bird Discount!

$25 for Members / $35 for Non-Members

Buy Tickets Here [Read more…]