Discover Portsmouth Exhibits, Programs & Events

Portsmouth Historic Houses Host Twilight Tour on Friday, August 15, 2014

WGTBTickets good for admission to all 9 houses on evening of tour or during balance of 2014 Season!

For just one evening every year, nine of the Portsmouth Historic Houses open their doors and gardens for the Twilight Tour. This year’s special hours are 5-8 pm on Friday, August 15. To make the evening extra special, each house offers a special entertainment: brief talks on collections, storytelling, short plays and light refreshments. For antique collectors and connoisseurs of 18th and 19th century houses, The Twilight Tour is the perfect complement to the annual Northeast Auctions Marine, China Trade and Sporting Arts Auction, August 16 & 17. Visitors can attend the Auction preview and participate in the Twilight Tour the same night.

Advance tickets: Adults $18, Children: $8
Day-of tickets: Adults $20; Children $10
Available at Discover Portsmouth, Strawbery Banke Museum and all participating historic houses

Each ticket is good for one admission to each of the 9 participating houses on the night of the Twilight Tour and are also valid for the balance of the 2014 season for admission to any houses that visitors don’t get to on the night of the Tour. Proceeds of the tour benefit the member sites of the Portsmouth Historic House Associates. [Read more...]

The Stories They Could Tell Guided: Tours of Portsmouth’s Historic Neighborhoods

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Next tour Saturday, September 20, 1PM

The Portsmouth Advocates present the second annual series of guided walking tours lead by Richard M. Candee, author of Building Portsmouth. The 2014 schedule features five of Portsmouth’s famous neighborhoods exploring the unique architectural landscape and the stories embedded in the bricks and mortar. All tours begin at Discover Portsmouth located at 10 Middle Street. The cost is $10 for members of the Portsmouth Historical Society and $15 for non-members. Memberships are available in the Visitor Center of Discover Portsmouth before the tour and online. Each tour is limited to 20; private signature tours for groups are also available. Reservations are required; call Discover Portsmouth at (603) 436-8433 to purchase tickets.

The first tour will highlight the Landmarks of Downtown Portsmouth, among them the Portsmouth Athenaeum built in 1805 for the NH Fire & Marine Insurance Company, the Old and New Custom Houses and the major churches of the city center. Other tours in the series cover Portsmouth’s South End in July, followed by the Brick Act of 1814 in August and The Hill and North End, Haymarket Square and the Victorian West End in the fall. Portsmouth Advocates is a preservation group that promotes the maintenance of the historical and architectural integrity of the city and to encourage the preservation and restoration of historically significant structures. The Advocates are dedicated to the preservation of our city’s unique historic character as an essential part of making Portsmouth a better place to live and work.

Upcoming Walking Tours

Saturday, June 21st at 1PM: Walking Tour #1
Landmarks of Downtown Portsmouth

Saturday, July 19th at 10AM: Walking Tour #2
South End & 20th Century Hopes to Preserve Portsmouth

Saturday, August 9th at 10AM: Walking Tour #3
Brick Act of 1814-1825

Saturday, September 20th at 1PM: Walking Tour #4
The Hill and North End

Saturday, October 18th at 1PM: Walking Tour #5
The Victorian West End

Your guide for the series is Richard M. Candee, Professor Emeritus of American and New England Studies at Boston University, where he directed the Preservation Studies Program for nearly 30 years. He has published nearly a hundred articles, essays, and reviews as well as four books specifically about Portsmouth. He has been Chairman of the Warner House Association, President of the Portsmouth Athenaeum and is President of the Portsmouth Historical Society.

Image: Public Square, Portsmouth, NH, 1902. Dry plate negative, 8×10 in. Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Bold & Brash! 2014 Season Exhibition

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Bold & Brash: The Art of John Haley Bellamy
April 4- October 3
Opening Reception April 3, 2014
Discover Portsmouth

Academy Gallery
The largest and most dramatic exhibit of works by New England woodcarver John Haley Bellamy comes to Discover Portsmouth from April to October 2014. Bold & Brash: The Art of John Haley Bellamy explores the life and work of the man best known for his iconic and highly collectible American eagle carvings. The retrospective marks the centennial of Bellamy’s death and is highlighted by the release of a comprehensive and colorful new hardcover book by exhibit curator James Craig. American Eagle: The Bold Art and Brash Life of John Haley Bellamy debunks many myths, uncovers the secrets, and explores the legacy of the successful Yankee artist from Kittery Point, Maine. Widely considered the pinnacle of American woodcarving, eagles by John Haley Bellamy (1836-1914) rank among such hallowed national symbols as the Statue of Liberty, the White House, and Old Glory.

Click here for details on monthly gallery talks, woodworking demonstrations, and other Bellamy programs. The opening reception is April 3 with tickets available online.

Discover Portsmouth is located at 10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH and open from 10-5 PM daily with extended hours until 8 PM on the first Friday of each month. Admission to the exhibit is $8 and free to Portsmouth Historical Society members, children under 12, and active military personnel and their families. Group discounts are available. For more information call (603) 436-8433.

John Haley Bellamy, God Is Our Refuge and Strength eagle plaque: painted and gilded pine, ca. 1872–1900. [17 x 48 in.] Private collection.
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Bold & Brash! Gallery Talks

WhiteBellamyJoin us for this series of informative and thought-provoking talks that look at the legacy of John Haley Bellamy. Bold & Brash: The Art of John Haley Bellamy includes lectures by authors, curators and artists who have contributed to the highly anticipated exhibit. The retrospective marks the centennial of Bellamy’s death and is highlighted by the release of a comprehensive and colorful new hardcover book by exhibit curator James Craig. American Eagle: The Bold Art and Brash Life of John Haley Bellamy debunks many myths, uncovers the secrets, and explores the legacy of the successful Yankee artist from Kittery Point, Maine. Widely considered the pinnacle of American woodcarving, eagles by John Haley Bellamy (1836-1914) rank among such hallowed national symbols as the Statue of Liberty, the White House, and Old Glory. The exhibit is open from April 4 through October 3 at Discover Portsmouth.

Admission is $5 for Portsmouth Historical Society members/ $10 Non-members/ Children under 12 are free. Admission to the John Paul Jones House is included when you purchase a ticket to any gallery talk. All gallery talks begin at 11AM in the Academy Gallery at Discover Portsmouth. Gallery talk seating is limited- please call to reserve your seat (603) 436-8433. [Read more...]

Discover Historic Landmarks with the Portsmouth Advocates

rockingham_interiorDon’t miss your chance to discover Portsmouth’s historic landmarks sponsored by Portsmouth Advocates, part of the Portsmouth Historical Society. A series five exclusive tours lead by Richard M. Candee, author of Building Portsmouth, will explore this city’s intriguing architectural landscape. All tours begin at 1 PM at Discover Portsmouth located at 10 Middle Street. The cost is $5 for members of the Portsmouth Historical Society and $10 for non-members. Memberships are available in the Visitor Center of Discover Portsmouth before the tour or online. Limited spaces are available. Please call Discover Portsmouth at (603) 436-8433 for reservations.
[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.