Discover Portsmouth Exhibits, Programs & Events

25th Annual Gingerbread House Contest

Gingerbread 2015 Portsmouth New Hampshire

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015, 5-7pm

Discover Portsmouth celebrates Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth, and visitors will have the first look at the popular 25th Annual Gingerbread House Contest exhibit running until Christmas Eve in the first floor gallery.

Created by local businesses, artists, families and kids, the gingerbread houses will be nestled into a winter wonderland 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 can be seen every day through December 24 from 10am – 5pm with extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays until 8pm.

Art Round Town, Friday December 4 from 5-8pm

The judges announce the winners of the Gingerbread House Contest and Chef James Haller (turning 79 on December 4) joins in the fun with a birthday book signing of his newest book, Salt and Pepper Cooking, in the Discover Portsmouth shop.

The public can continue to vote for the best Gingerbread House throughout the month.

Friday, December 18, the Public Choice Award will be announced.

The exhibition is free and open to the public at Discover Portsmouth, located at 10 Middle Street. Come see these magical creations and find holiday gifts in the Museum Shop!

Visit the Art Exhibits

Visit the National Juried Exhibition: It’s Pastel! in our downstairs gallery at Discover Portsmouth.

In our Upstairs Gallery, visit the exhibit of Jay Goldsmith’s photographs of local artists, along with a selection of their artwork.

Both exhibits run through December 24th, 2015 at Discover Portsmouth.

Discover Portsmouth
10 Middle St.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Dec. 4 Art Round Town, & Chef James Haller’s Birthday

Chef James Haller, Salt & Pepper Cooking, the Education of an American ChefFriday, Dec. 4, 5-8pm, Join in the fun with a birthday and book signing celebration for Chef James Haller, who will be on hand in the Discover Portsmouth shop to sign copies of his newest book, Salt & Pepper Cooking, The Education of an American Chef.

Come and say hello and Happy Birthday!

Salt & Pepper Cooking chronicles Chef Haller’s lifelong journey with food, family, and friends, and how he came to open The Blue Strawbery restaurant on Ceres Street — the restaurant that first put Portsmouth on the map as a fine dining destination.

It’s also a great time to visit our museum shop for some holiday shopping!

Gingerbread House Contest at Discover Portsmouth

Art Round Town, Friday, December 4th, 2015, 5-8pm

The 25th Annual Gingerbread House Contest winners will also be announced.

Discover Portsmouth
10 Middle Street
Portsmouth, New Hampshire

2015 Annual Appeal

Share Your Love of Portsmouth History!

Scheier Exhibit Portsmouth Historical Society 2015

Please consider making a gift to our annual appeal and help us continue to tell Portsmouth Stories.

What a year! We cannot help but look back on this year with heartfelt gratitude and pride for the tremendous amount of support we have received from the community. Popular exhibits, poignant lectures and memorable events contributed to the success of our year. But these would not have been possible without the support of our members and visitors. Because of your support we were able to continue to strive toward our mission to be the cultural gateway for Portsmouth.

In order to continue our upward trajectory and provide the community with these events, exhibits, and lectures (many of which are free) – we need your help. Individual contributions are critical and make up 50% of our operating income.

You can donate online now by clicking on the button below, or send your donation to:
Portsmouth Historical Society
P.O. Box 728, Portsmouth, NH 03802

phone 603-436-8433 | email

Donate Now!

Thank you!

National Juried Exhibition: “It’s Pastel!”

Orchard Blossom, Mary Ellen Brown

Orchard Blossom, Mary Ellen Brown

Opening Wednesday, October 21, 2015:

The Pastel Society of New Hampshire presents the 7th Annual National Juried Exhibition: “It’s Pastel!” at Discover Portsmouth in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The show will run through Friday, November 27th.

Opening reception Saturday, October 24th at 5pm. Refreshments will be served, and there will be an awards ceremony with over $5,000 in cash and merchandise awarded. This is a major juried show with works by pastel artists from New Hampshire and numerous other states. The event is free and open to the public. Discover Portsmouth is at 10 Middle Street (corner of Islington and Middle), Portsmouth, NH 03801, phone: 603-436-8433. Gallery hours are 10am-5pm every day. [Read more…]

“This Is What Artists Look Like”

Portraits of 33 local artists & their work, Friday, Oct. 23 – Thursday Dec. 24, 2015.

Opening Reception – Art ‘Round Town, Friday, Nov. 6, 5-8pm

“Discover Portsmouth is the ideal venue for Jay Goldsmith’s exhibit that employs vintage techniques.
The historic 1813-era Academy Building once housed the studio of Samuel P. Long.
In 1839 Long produced the city’s first photographs on this very spot. It all started here.”
– Richard Candee, architectural historian

Jay Goldsmith Self PortraitPhotographer Jay Goldsmith could not have worked harder. In an age of instant digital photography and high-speed inkjet printers, he missed his old darkroom. Goldsmith’s latest exhibit, “This is What Artists Look Like,” is an homage to the days of crisp black and white images and hand-made prints. The free exhibit features unique portraits of more than 30 Seacoast artists, and runs from October 23 to December 24, 2015, at Discover Portsmouth. [Read more…]

Leadership transition at Discover Portsmouth

July 1, 2015.

Founding Executive Director Maryellen Burke to raise funds for Nantucket Cottage Hospital.
Kathleen Soldati named as Interim Executive Director.
Founder Richard Candee moves to chair of Exhibits Committee.
Financial executive Ed Mallon takes the reins as chair

Soldati, Mallon, Burke, Discover Portsmouth

“It’s bittersweet to leave Discover Portsmouth, but I couldn’t be more pleased with my successor. Kathleen will take the organization to the next level to serve as the cultural gateway to Portsmouth. Her skill set is exactly what we need at this moment in time to continue the upward trajectory.”
– Maryellen Burke, Founding Executive Director

[Read more…]

It’s Time to Shop Portsmouth!

Shop Portsmouth!Discover Portsmouth is open every Friday from 10am until 8pm as part of Shop Portsmouth Friday Nights! Stop by our museum shop, at the corner of Islington and Middle Streets, downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Shop Portsmouth Friday Nights (SPFN) is a downtown wide event where participating shops stay open until at least 8pm, every Friday night through Columbus Day (Oct. 12).

For more information call 603-436-8433. And be sure to visit for a list of participating Portsmouth, New Hampshire Shops.


A Visitor Center. A Community Center. A Nonprofit Hub.

Discover Portsmouth Center

We are dedicated to increasing public understanding and enthusiasm for local history. Our trustees, staff, sponsors, and members believe strongly that the uniqueness of Portsmouth is defined by the city’s past. Our mission is to provide a central location where, in cooperation with other groups, we can introduce, interpret, and stimulate the study of Portsmouth history.