27th Annual Gingerbread House Contest Call for Entries

2016 Adult Winner, Gingerbread Contest

Entries must be registered no later than Saturday, November 18, 2017.

Portsmouth Historical Society is pleased to announce another year of a sweet local tradition. Homemade gingerbread creations will be on display daily for the public throughout December at Discover Portsmouth. Gather your family, friends and/or co-workers together and craft your own beautiful creation!

Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth Kickoff
Friday, December 1, 2017, 5-8pm

The exhibition will open Friday, Dec. 1, from 5-8 pm, and run through December 23, from 9:30-5 pm daily.
[Read more…]

Seacoast Sculpture from Material to Masterwork

Seacoast Sculpture

Featuring the work of Sumner Winebaum, Jane Kaufmann and Michael Stasiuk

With Sublime Mud! New Hampshire Potters Guild Biennial Show

Friday, July 7 – Sunday, October 1, 2017

Organized by Allison Galliher, Lainey McCartney and Adam Brooks, with The New Hampshire Potters Guild

Master Sculptors Winebaum, Stasiuk, Kaufmann

Master Sculptors (l to r): Sumner Winebaum, Michael Stasiuk, Jane Kaufmann. Raya Al-Hashmi photo.

Discover Portsmouth Highlights Three Master Sculptors

Metal, ceramics, wood — three renowned seacoast sculptors working in three materials are the focus of the latest groundbreaking exhibition at Discover Portsmouth. “Seacoast Sculpture from Material to Masterwork” (July 7- October 1) unites the career work of master artists Sumner Winebaum, Jane Kaufmann, and Michael Stasiuk in the historic Academy Gallery at 10 Middle Street, Portsmouth. A companion show in the Balcony Gallery—“Sublime Mud!”–features work by over two dozen members of the NH Potters Guild. A lecture series accompanies the dual exhibitions, plus special free Saturday morning sculptural workshops for kids and a bonus meet-the-artist Sunday event. [Read more…]

“It’s Pastel” 9th Annual Juried Show

October 21-November 25, 2017, 9:30-5pm 7 days a week.

Opening reception, awards ceremony and gallery talk: Saturday Oct. 21, 2017, 5 to 7 pm. Free admission.

Carmel Dunes at Sunset by Jacob Aguiar, last year's  Best in Show

Carmel Dunes at Sunset by Jacob Aguiar, last year’s Best in Show

The Pastel Society of New Hampshire presents its 9th Annual Juried Exhibition “It’s Pastel” at the Portsmouth Historical Society’s Academy Gallery at Discover Portsmouth in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. More than 80 paintings from award-winning, critically acclaimed, artists across the country will be on view in the landmark Academy Gallery, in what has become an area favorite exhibit.

With a broad range of styles, vibrant colors and masterful technique, the exhibit showcases the new- found excitement of a traditional medium. “A whole room full of pastel paintings really packs a punch,” said PSNH Juried show chair, Keith Demanche. “Portraits, landscapes, still life – pastel is a terrific medium for almost any kind of subject. Seeing what all these talented artists put on view is truly amazing.”

Nationally recognized juror, Kim Lordier (PSA, IAPS MC), will choose the paintings that were accepted from hundreds of artist submissions. Juror of Awards, Christine Ivers (PSA, IAPS MC) will be granting over $6000 in prizes at the opening reception and awards ceremony on Sat. Oct. 21, 2017 from 5 to 7 pm. This event is free and open to the public. Christine Ivers will also be giving a free gallery talk about the work on view and some background information why and how the choices were made for prize selection.

Discover Portsmouth is located at 10 Middle St., Portsmouth NH. Phone: 603-436-8433. Gallery hours are: 9:30am-5pm., 7 days a week. For more information about the show, Pastel Society of NH or about pastels as a medium, please visit www.pastelsocietynh.com.

The Pastel Society of New Hampshire is a non-profit organization dedicated to the appreciation of soft pastels as a fine art medium. Founded in January 2006 by a group of pastel artists, the purpose of the society is to promote the arts in New Hampshire, and to foster connections among pastelists of all levels throughout New Hampshire, the New England region, and other states. All pastel artists and people interested in the pastel medium are welcome and encouraged to join.

H.M.S. Harlow’s Old Portsmouth

Harlow Old Portsmouth

Wednesday, September 6 – Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Organized by Dr. Gerry Ward, Adam Brooks, and Lainey McCartney

Discover Portsmouth presents an exhibition on the work of H.M​.S. Harlow, colonial revival artist of Portsmouth.

In the 1930s and 1940s, a retired commercial artist named H.M.S. Harlow (1881-1963) painted many views of Portsmouth’s colonial and early federal period architecture, including a series of small depictions of the “Doorways of Old Portsmouth.” His images of these houses and doorways are often architecturally correct but are also infused with a touch of the romantic colonial revival mode, as when he incorporates a charming figure in period dress standing before a door. Many of Harlow’s images were painted from life, using his traveling stool, easel, and umbrella on display in the gallery. For buildings which had been lost earlier, he was forced to rely on photographs, written descriptions, and other types of documentation. The Portsmouth Historical Society owns a large collection of works by Harlow, many of which are on view in the gallery, providing a glimpse into the past and present of Portsmouth’s outstanding early architecture.

John Paul Jones Jubilee 2017

& Silent Auction –
A Party & Fundraiser for the John Paul Jones House

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Discover Portsmouth
10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH
All proceeds to benefit Portsmouth Historical Society.
Members $25, Non-Members $35

Register Now

or call 603-436-8433 [Read more…]


Portsmouth Historical Society and the City of Portsmouth, NH, are gearing up for Portsmouth’s Celebrating 400 Years on the New Hampshire Seacoast. Please see below a powerpoint presentation explaining Portsmouth400, a press release about our search for a staff Director, the job description for that position, and a brief survey about your suggestions.

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

Share Your Thoughts

Art ‘Round Town

Art Round Town, Discover Portsmouth

First Fridays 5-8pm
April – December
@Discover Portsmouth

About Art ‘Round Town
The Art Galleries of Portsmouth, New Hampshire celebrate this “inspired, intimate urban community with big city style” by presenting Art ‘Round Town Gallery Walk the first Friday of every month from 5-8pm year round.

Portsmouth Historical Society participates in this wonderful event during its open months: from April – December. And as with many of the galleries in town, it uses the monthly event to launch new exhibitions and related programming. Art ‘Round Town fulfills our mission of helping people discover Portsmouth history, arts and culture. Coming up this fall:

Sarah Farmer Book

Art ‘Round Town
Friday September 1, 2017 5-8pm
Special Programming – Book Signing 6pm

Join us to celebrate the anniversary of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty with a short talk by author Anne Gordon Perry, whose new book Unseen Witness: Sarah Farmer & The Portsmouth Peace Treaty has just been released. Hear about how historical accounts and photographs contribute and add accuracy to a fictional story set on September 5, 1905—the day of the Treaty signing—centered around the true story of how Sarah Farmer became the only woman to witness the historic signing. New research has recently emerged, adding detailed authenticity to a story previously unproved.
Main galleries: Seacoast Sculpture From Material to Masterwork
Special Events Room Gallery: 200 Years of Portsmouth Athenaeum – last night!
Welcome Center Theater: 12-minute film on the history of Portsmouth
Museum Shop open

Art ‘Round Town
Friday October 6, 2017
Special Programming – Maple Syrup Tasting

Maple Syrup Tasting returns to our Museum Shop with Chris Olson, owner of Syrup by the Sea. His dark amber syrup will delight you with or without the bourbon at this fun event! Chris will surprise us with other flavors that complement his maple syrup, but bourbon is a favorite. Maple Syrup Products of all sizes will be available and a portion of sales benefit the Portsmouth Historical Society.
Main galleries: in between exhibitions!
Special Events Room Gallery: H.M.S. Harlow’s Old Portsmouth, colonial revival artist of Portsmouth, Wednesday, September 6 – Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Welcome Center Theater: 12-minute film on the history of Portsmouth
Museum Shop open

Art ‘Round Town
Friday November 3, 2017

Balcony Gallery: Public Opening: What Artists Look Like 2017
Friday November 3 – Saturday December 23, 2017
Main Floor Gallery: NH Pastel Society nationally juried exhibition
Special Events Room Gallery: 200 Years of Star Island Photography: Retrospective of Photographic Artists
Special Programming: Weaving demonstration
Weaver Andrea Williams, Exeter, NH, is a retired first grade teacher, psychologist, psychologist and author. As a city girl (originally from Chicago) she was inspired by the some of the greatest architectural forms which she brings to her weaving through symmetry, lines, geometric patterns and mathematical proportions. Andrea considers weaving to be the essence of both science and art.
Welcome Center Theater: 12-minute film on the history of Portsmouth
Museum Shop open

Art ‘Round Town
Friday December 1, 2017

Main Floor Gallery: Public Opening: 27th Annual Gingerbread House Contest
December 1-23, 2017 Kickoff for Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth
Balcony Gallery: What Artists Look Like 2017
Special Events Room Gallery: Women’s Writes: Inscribed Quilts.

Welcome Center Theater: 12-minute film on the history of Portsmouth
Museum Shop open

More from the Art ‘Round Town site: As a thriving creative community rich in history, Portsmouth retains and honors its past while continuously cultivating an ebullient, exciting contemporary arts scene. Within its early-nineteenth century brick facades, cobblestone sidewalks, and urban streetscapes, the collective Portsmouth art galleries represent the work of international and national artists from as distant as Europe, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and as near as regional New England. The broad scope of these gallery exhibitions offer you the representational and recognizable, as well as the abstract and avant-garde. Whether it’s your destination for dinner or a summer sojourn, this prestigious community built upon arts and culture will satiate your cravings for original art, food, music and fashion.

Visit the Art ‘Round Town website.

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**

Buy Online Now
[Read more…]

2017 Walking Tours of Historic Portsmouth, NH

Walking tour Sandy WalentMay Through October

“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 2017 Tour Offerings

Reservations strongly encouraged. Walk-ins welcome. Member discounts apply.

All tours leave from Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street, Portsmouth NH [Read more…]

John Paul Jones House Now Open with The Odd & The Elegant Exhibition.

John Paul Jones House 2016     Portsmouth Historical Society     Portsmouth Historical Society

Open for the 2017 season

Monday, May 29 to Columbus Day, Monday, October 9, 2017
and Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11, 2017
Daily 11-5

New this year are renovations to the historic home, and the return of a special exhibition entitled The Odd & the Elegant, curated by Gerry Ward and Lainey McCartney.

Gerry Ward, curator, said, “It is a great pleasure to open the doors of the John Paul Jones House for the summer season. Once again, our visitors will have access to this grand Georgian mansion, built in 1758 and filled with collections pertaining to four centuries of Portsmouth’s history. This year, in addition to the several galleries devoted to John Paul Jones, the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty signed in Portsmouth in 1905, Portsmouth’s maritime history, and local paintings and decorative arts, we are again featuring a special exhibition of amazing objects ‘discovered’ in storage, treasures that rarely see the light of day.” [Read more…]