Discover Portsmouth Exhibits, Programs & Events

Politics & Activism in the Era of Trump

Sunday, February 5, 2 to 4 pm, please join us for the first 2017 Elinor Williams Hooker Tea Talk!

Era of Trump

Free and open to the public

Should President Trump’s administration carry through on his campaign trail promises—to eject millions of undocumented immigrants, expand racial profiling and stop-and-frisk policies, and ban Muslims from entering the U.S.—we may be entering a new era of activism and challenges to the constitution.

This panel will explore Trump’s pledges, potential threats to civil liberties for some members of our community, and challenges presented to the US constitution, a document intended to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority.

Presenters: Senator David Watters, NAACP President Rogers Johnson, Community Activist Nur Snoop, & Community Activist Selina Taylor. [Read more…]

Happy New Year 2017!

Discover Portsmouth, Portsmouth NH
Discover Portsmouth is currently closed and reopens March 18, 2017.

Happy New Year and Thank you! [Read more…]

The Unreconstructed North: Assimilation, Apartheid & Reconciliation

Sunday, February 12, 2017, 2-4pm, Elinor Hooker Williams Tea Talk – Join Us!

Tea talks, Portsmouth nh

Free and open to the public

Historic stories of violence on Native Americans and African Americans have for years saturated the airwaves and newspapers. Wounded Knee. Standing Rock. Emmett Till. Trayvon Martin. These names and situations invoke memories of extreme racial division and distrust.

Like South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation” campaign that began the yet progressing road to racial healing post-apartheid, this panel will present personal stories as steps to developing greater mutual understanding and promoting healing to create change in our own backyards.


Prof. Jason Sokol: Author, The Unreconstructed North
Eleanor Dunfey-Freiburger: Reflections on the Truth and Reconciliation process in South Africa
Penthea Burns: Stories from the Wabanaki-REACH program and their work with reconciliation in Maine
Sheila Finley: A personal journey to reconciliation with her slave holding family members
Woullard Lett: National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA). [Read more…]

Men of the Cloth: Black Masculinity & Spirituality

Sunday, February 19, 2017, 2-4pm, Elinor Hooker Williams Tea Talk – Join Us!

Black Masculinity & Spirituality, Portsmouth NH

Free and open to the public

Church has historically been seen as the backbone of the Black community and the center of political and social life for African Americans. This panel discussion, featuring prominent local pastors, will discuss the role of the church in their lives; the impact of racism on Black masculinity; their personal journey as Black men ministering in a predominantly white state; and ways to construct an alternative expression of masculinity that is connected with emotion and spirit, self-determinism, accountability, family, and pride.

Rev. Robert Thompson, Rev. Authur Hilson, Rev. Robert Humphreys

The Winter Tea Talk Series is part of the Elinor Williams Hooker Tea Talks Program: [Read more…]

The Birth of a Nation: A Film Discussion

Sunday, February 26, 2017, 2-4pm, Elinor Hooker Williams Tea Talk – Join Us!

birthof a nation

Free and open to the public

Nate Parker’s film The Birth of a Nation, which tells a version of Nat Turner’s infamous 1831 slave revolt in Virginia, underperformance at the box office raising question of the profitability of telling Black history stories like Turner’s. Some of the film’s most ardent advocates have charged that its problems result from plots among black feminists to harpoon the work of a man, the film’s produce, acquitted of rape. Other reviewers and supporters have called the film necessary viewing in spite of its creator. Join in the discussion of the film, Nat Turner, Nate Parker and the movement to boycott and Blacklist a film.

UNH Professors Delia Konzett, Joe Onosko, Reginald A. Wilburn

The Winter Tea Talk Series is part of the Elinor Williams Hooker Tea Talks Program: [Read more…]

2016 Annual Appeal

Share Your Love of Portsmouth History!

Discover Portsmouth Exhibit

Help us continue to tell Portsmouth Stories.

Please consider making a gift to our annual appeal and help us continue to bring History, Arts, and Culture to Portsmouth and the greater Seacoast! Individual contributions are critical and make up 50% of our operating expenses.

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. The exhibition Illuminating Tarbell attracted record crowds of residents and tourists, garnered national and global media coverage, and motivated many new members to join PHS. The popular Wendy Turner: Island Light exhibition rounded out the summer season, inspiring guests to build a deeper appreciation of the beauty of our rugged coast.

Donate Now!

Thank you!

[Read more…]

John Paul Jones House Receives $27,500 Grant

New Hampshire’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program Awards $27,500 Grant to Portsmouth Historical Society for renovations to John Paul Jones House, a National Historic Landmark

LCHIP Grant 2016 John Paul Jones House Awarded

Reagan Ruedig (center), chair of Building and Grounds Committee for the Portsmouth Historical Society, receiving the grant award letter from Governor Maggie Hassan (left) and LCHIP Board Chair Doug Cole (right). Photo by Perry Smith

Portsmouth, New Hampshire… Governor Maggie Hassan and Senate President Chuck Morse joined together to congratulate LCHIP’s most recent grant recipients on their hard work and successful efforts toward protecting the special places that define New Hampshire. Governor Hassan observed that “The Land and Community Heritage Investment Program is critical to protecting our natural, historical and cultural resources, and I am proud that we restored funding for LCHIP in 2013 and maintained that commitment in our current bipartisan budget. For every dollar invested by LCHIP, we see a significant return on investment through the economic activity generated by those conservation efforts. This year’s grants will support important projects across the state that will preserve our natural beauty and protect our rich history and vibrant culture.” [Read more…]

Discover Portsmouth Welcomes New Museum Shop Manager

2016 Museum Shop at Discover Portsmouth
Nov. 2016, Portsmouth NH: Cynthia Novotny uses the word “love” a lot. She loves her new job at Discover Portsmouth where she runs the Museum Shop. She loves Portsmouth and its history.

“Don’t you love this?” Cynthia says, picking up a new mug with images from the Port City. She has spent months stocking the nonprofit gift shop for the holiday season. Everything is hand picked. [Read more…]

Third Grade Portsmouth History Program Celebrates Tenth Year

“Fun and accessible local history”

Third Grade History Program, Portsmouth Historical SocietyPortsmouth Historical Society created its Third Grade Portsmouth History Program in 2006 to increase understanding and enthusiasm for local history by sending our PHS educator into local classrooms for an-depth, year round educational experience. The educator develops relationships during nine visits with each class, culminating in a field trip through Portsmouth. This exposure and continuity helps children understand that local history is fun and accessible. Our solid program has strong credibility and substantial teacher support; and has the added benefit of preparing students for the state of New Hampshire’s fourth grade state history program. [Read more…]

Wendy Turner’s New Book Available

Wendy Turner Island Light

Wendy Turner – Island Light,

Carl Little, with contributions by Catherine Armsden and Mekeel McBride
Portsmouth Marine Society Publication 36
Hardcover with jacket, 112 pages, 10 x 12, full color throughout
$40.00 ISBN: 978-0-915819-44-7
Order Online

Wendy Turner’s paintings of the Maine and New Hampshire coast, from the Schoodic Point to the Isles of Shoals, done over a period of thirty-five years, demonstrate the range and talent of this artist who lives and works in Kittery Point, Maine.  While often based on the plants, water, rocks, sky, and sea life of the Seacoast in terms of their subject matter, her watercolor and oil paintings have an ineffable quality that elevates them from depictions of nature to transcendent and sublime works of art. This book follows her work through various transitions in her career, starting with her delicate watercolor images of tide pools.  Over time, her focus moved from images taken along the beach, to beautiful garden studies, and then moving on to her large tour-de-force rock and wave paintings. [Read more…]