Discover Portsmouth Exhibits, Programs & Events

Dynamic Tarbell Art Exhibition at Discover Portsmouth.

Open daily through June 3, 2016, 9:30am to 5pm

Illuminating Tarbell, Discover Portsmouth, NHRenowned American Impressionist painter Edmund C. Tarbell is back. The most ambitious exhibit of Tarbell’s vibrant work is open daily through June 3 at Discover Portsmouth.

Illuminating Tarbell is a unique two-part show, with the largest local gathering of Tarbell’s original work, plus a companion gallery featuring six contemporary painters working in the Tarbell style. Running through Friday June 3, the dual exhibit also includes a lecture series, a 72-page color catalogue, and a re-creation of Tarbell’s seaside New Castle, NH studio.

“This is a must-see show,” says DPC Executive Director, Kathleen Soldati. “While many know Tarbell as a Boston artist, he had close ties to the Portsmouth region. We’re bringing in works from collections all across the country, and many have never been exhibited to the public before.” [Read more…]

New Hampshire’s Black History Highlighted in New Film.

JerriAnne and Valerie

JerriAnne Boggis and Valerie Cunningham

Shadows Fall North

Premieres Thursday, May 26, 7pm, at The Music Hall.

The efforts of two dedicated historic preservationists and activists, Valerie Cunningham of Portsmouth and JerriAnne Boggis of Milford, to make New Hampshire’s Black history visible is the focus of Shadows Fall North, a new documentary that premieres at the Music Hall in Portsmouth on Thursday, May 26 at 7 pm.

[Read more…]

The Warner House at 300!

Warner-House-300th-logo150An exhibition of a National Historic Landmark

Opening Art ‘Round Town Friday, June 3 – Friday, September 2, 2016

At Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle St., Portsmouth, NH
Hours: Daily 9:30am-5pm, open until 8pm each Friday for the summer
Portsmouth Historical Society in partnership with The Warner House presents…

Portsmouth’s 300-year old Warner House is the focus of a Portsmouth Historical Society summer exhibition on the second floor of Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street in downtown Portsmouth. Discover Portsmouth is free and open to the public; a suggested donation of $5 helps support the organization. The exhibition, in partnership with the Warner House, will open during Art ‘Round Town Friday evening June 3 5-8pm, coincidentally the last day of the Illuminating Tarbell exhibition in the organization’s Academy Gallery, and will close Friday night September 2, 2016. [Read more…]

Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, Special Guided Tour

Ona Marie Judge walking tour 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Ona Marie Judge, The President’s Runaway Slave

During the Fall of 1796, George Washington’s final months in office, Ona Judge Staines, a dowager slave owned by the First Family, escaped the Executive Mansion in Philadelphia with the aid of that city’s free black community, and made her way to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. [Read more…]

John Paul Jones House Opening for the Season

John Paul Jones House, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Friday, May 27, 2016

Portsmouth Historical Society announces the John Paul Jones House National Historic Landmark, 43 Middle Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Open for the season
Friday, May 27
thru Columbus Day, Monday, October 10, Daily from 11am to 5pm

Open Veterans Day, Friday, November 11
Daily 11am-5pm

Read more

2016 Juneteenth Celebration: Coming to the Table


Saturday, June 18, 11am-3pm

Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail presents
Portsmouth’s Juneteenth Celebration, Coming to the Table: A Journey of Discovery Between Descendants of Slaves and Slave Owners.

The celebration will feature a dialogue between Langdon Marsh, a descendant of slave owner John Langdon; and Sheila Reed Findley who is a Portsmouth native and descendant of slaves from Portsmouth and Berwick, Maine. [Read more…]

2016 Walking Tours of Historic Portsmouth, NH

Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day

“Portsmouth and its pleasures are smaller scale.
They’re also best approached on foot.”
New York Times.

Portsmouth is the hub of the New Hampshire Seacoast. Its downtown streets are reminiscent of a small English market village. Portsmouth’s unique, historical character can be fully captured on foot. If you’re visiting Portsmouth for a meal, an afternoon or a weekend consider taking a Discover Portsmouth walking tour!

Portsmouth Historical Society presents 2016 Tour Offerings. Reservations strongly encouraged. Walk-ins welcome. Member discounts apply.

Portsmouth Historical Society Walking Tours 2016Zerve walking tours


Daily Walking Tour: 10am & Fridays, 5pm

60-minute walking tour covering the streets, stories, buildings and architecture of historic downtown.

Portsmouth History & Homes Tour: Tuesdays, 4pm
90-minute extended walking tour of historic downtown stopping in front of six historic houses and touching on Portsmouth’s economy.

Historic Preservation Tours with Richard M. Candee, author of Building Portsmouth: Select Saturdays, 10am
Series of guided architectural walking tours showcasing Portsmouth’s famous neighborhoods.

Portsmouth Historical Society 2016 Walking Tours

For information on Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail Tours, Click Here

For a listing of more Portsmouth Tours, Click Here


New Book Explores the Life, Art and Process of Edmund C. Tarbell

Illuminating Tarbell is a unique two-part book devoted to the life and legacy of Edmund C. Tarbell, one of the major American Impressionist painters and the leader of the Boston School. Although often most closely associated with Boston, Tarbell maintained a home and studio in New Castle, New Hampshire, for more than thirty years and had an especially close relationship with this beautiful area.

Illuminating Tarbell: Life and Art on the Piscataqua and Legacy in ActionThis book, published to accompany an exhibition at the Portsmouth Historical Society, illustrates and discusses many of his principal works, some never published before and several recently conserved. Based on new research into the holdings of the Tarbell Charitable Trust and other sources, Jeremy G. Fogg and Christopher Volpe examine Tarbell’s career, emphasizing the importance of family and place to his artistic vision. Read more…

Purchase Now

Wendy Turner ~ Island Light Exhibit


Friday June 17 – Friday September 30, 2016.

Portsmouth Historical Society presents the Wendy Turner Retrospective Reflects “Island Light” Exhibit.

“Wendy Turner’s work establishes her as one of New England’s finest interpreters of the coast”
– Carl Little, former associate editor, Art in America [Read more…]

Tea Talk: Writing Black & White: The Perils & Pleasures of Writing Multi-cultural Historical Fiction

Sunday, March 6, 2016, 2 to 4 pm, at Portsmouth Public Library.

Writing Black and White: The Perils and Pleasures of Writing Multi-cultural Historical Fiction
Presenter: Jodi Daynard

Our Own CountryIf you could time-travel to Portsmouth during the Revolutionary War, what would it look like? How did blacks and whites relate to one another in their daily lives? Come hear about OUR OWN COUNTY, the story of one young woman who dared to cross the racial divide. Hear too, about the challenges author Jodi Daynard faced while endeavoring to create authentic portraits of both slavery and of interracial love. [Read more…]