Discover Portsmouth Exhibits, Programs & Events

2018 Annual Appeal

Portsmouth Historical Society 2018 Annual AppealDonate Now!

YOU can bring History, Arts and Culture to life!

Can you imagine Portsmouth without exhibitions like Gertrude Fiske, Jay Goldsmith, Wendy Turner or Edmund Tarbell? Can you picture how the city would look minus the iconic John Paul Jones House and Garden, or Discover Portsmouth’s recognizable façade at the corner of Islington and Middle Streets? Neither can we! And with your annual gift, we will work together to ensure that Portsmouth Historical Society remains financially sound, and continues to improve upon its long tradition of bringing arts, history and culture exhibitions and programming to all at a free or reduced cost! [Read more…]

Leadership Changes at Portsmouth Historical Society

Portsmouth Historical Society Welcomes Ellen Fineberg.

Portsmouth Historical Society Board of Directors is very pleased to announce that Ellen Fineberg has been engaged to serve as Interim Executive Director beginning January 1, 2019. Current Executive Director Kathleen Soldati will be retiring December 31, 2018 after three years of exemplary leadership.

“We are delighted that Ellen Fineberg has agreed to accept the position of Interim Executive Director during this time of transition, enabling the Historical Society’s Board of Trustees to carefully plan and conduct a successful search for the next director over the coming months.” said Martha Fuller Clark, vice chair of the PHS Board of Trustees. Fuller Clark noted that the use of interim executive directors is now considered a “best practice” for institutions when undergoing a change in leadership.

Fineberg, a 30-year Portsmouth resident, is an active member of the community. Her public service includes thirteen years sitting on the Historic District Commission; guiding the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Arts and Culture; serving on the Portsmouth Advocates; co-authoring Portsmouth’s Cultural Plan and being a board member of Art-Speak! Portsmouth’s Cultural Commission.

“Ellen brings just the right combination of skills and experience to Portsmouth Historical Society to serve on an interim basis – from her nonprofit expertise and her passion for community service to her familiarity with historic Portsmouth and the community at large. She is ideally suited for our current situation. The board is thrilled that she will be leading the organization beginning in the new year,” said Portsmouth Historical president Dan Hoefle.

Fineberg has also held nonprofit leadership roles at the Peabody Essex Museum, the Women’s Business Center and NH Kids Count. She currently serves on the Board of the Portsmouth Athenaeum and helped coordinate TEDxPortsmouth 2018.

Dan Hoefle points to the evolution of Portsmouth Historical in recent years under outgoing director Soldati. Hoefle added, “People have been so impressed by the Edmund Tarbell and Gertrude Fiske art exhibitions. During her tenure, Kathleen built a stellar professional staff and volunteer support system. She oversaw expanded programming, needed upgrades to our buildings and the establishment of Portsmouth400. As a result of her work and that of the entire staff over the past three years, memberships and visitor interactions have increased dramatically. We are grateful for all Kathleen accomplished during her tenure.”

How Would You Celebrate Portsmouth400?

Portsmouth NH Masons 1923 Arch

Middle Street arch in 1923 during 300th anniversary celebration. (Photo courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum Collection)

JULY 2018

Portsmouth400 held two public input sessions at Portsmouth Public Library in June 2018. Attendance was great and we received hundreds of ideas. If you were unable to attend but have some ideas, Please “Share Your Thoughts” at the link below. The ideas we receive through August 2018 will be combined to formulate a strategic plan. We will share the results of the June 2018 public input sessions on this webpage and enews in September.

Additional public input and informational sessions will be scheduled for the fall. We value everyone’s ideas and look forward to hearing from you!

For more information, email: Portsmouth400@PortsmouthHistory.org

We value your input! Please share what you’d like to see included!

Share Your Thoughts
[Read more…]

Gertrude Fiske Exhibition Catalogue Available

Gertrude Fiske, American Master

Gertrude Fiske: American Master
with Sisters of the Brush & Palette and Seacoast Masters Today

Softcover, 8¼ x 9, 108 pgs, color & bw, ISBN 978-0-915819-47-8. $35.00
An important contribution to the literature on American art of the early twentieth century. T​he first study of Fiske to appear in decades, this book re-evaluates an often-overlooked but extremely talented American Impressionist painter. Using many unpublished works and new research, Carol Walker Aten and Lainey McCartney give us a fresh look at the career of this strong, independent woman. A complementary essay by Richard M. Candee examines three of Fiske’s contemporaries — Susan Ricker Knox, Margaret J. Patterson, and Anne W. Carleton — and the book concludes with a look at four female artists — Amy Brnger, Donna Harkins, Sydney Bella Sparrow and Pamela duLong Williams— who pursue independent careers in the Seacoast today​.​ Read More and Order Online!

Read more about the Exhibition

This year, look for our Gertrude Fiske note cards, available in our museum shop opening April 1.
Exclusive boxed note cards, Gertrude Fiske: American Master.
Set of 20 cards, 5 each of 4 designs $18.95

New Book Reveals Lost African Lives in Maine

Lives of Consequence Cover

Lives of Consequence: Blacks in Early Kittery and Berwick in the Massachusetts Province of Maine

By Patricia Q. Wall

Portsmouth Marine Society Press, 2017
**Public Book Signing: Friday August 4 5-8pm at Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH**

To order a copy of this book, call 603-436-8433.

[Read more…]

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.