Portsmouth Historical Society Young Writers’ Contest

Children at Fiske Exhibition Discover Portsmouth 2018 Children at Fiske Exhibition Discover Portsmouth 2018 Children at Fiske Exhibition Discover Portsmouth 2018

Here’s how it works:

Select one work of art by Gertrude Fiske that is on display in the downstairs gallery at Discover Portsmouth. Spend time observing the artwork and write a short piece. You may write a poem, story, essay, play/dialogue, newspaper article, or in any other style you would like. You must relate your piece to the artwork you selected.

All entries must be submitted by midnight on Saturday, September 22.

A panel of judges will read and evaluate the entry on its content, creativity, expression, clarity, quality, and connection to the original artwork.


Age Division

  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 6-8
  • Grades 9-12


  • No longer than 600 words
  • At least 200 words
  • Poem must be at least 10 lines and no more than 50 lines


  • Email submissions to Claire@portsmouthhistory.org
  • Mail submissions to:
    Claire Spollen
    Young Writers Contest
    Portsmouth Historical Society
    PO Box 728
    Portsmouth, NH 03802
  • All entries must be received by midnight on Saturday, September 22.

Information Needed with Submission

  • Age
  • Grade you will enter in September 2018
  • First and last name of entrant
  • Home mailing address
  • Your email or parents email address
  • Home phone number
  • School Name or Home School
  • Title of Gertrude Fiske Painting
  • Title of entry


  • The judging panel will include staff from the Portsmouth Historical Society and local educators.
  • Entries will be evaluated on content, creativity, expression, clarity, quality and connection to original artwork.


  • There will be a small ceremony to celebrate the winners and all participants at Discover Portsmouth on Friday, September 28 at 5:30pm.
  • Each submission will be placed into a lottery to win a one-year family membership to the Portsmouth Historical Society. The winner will be pulled on Friday September 22 at 5:30pm at Discover Portsmouth. You do not need to be present to win.
  • Each division will have a winner and an honorable mention
    • The winner of each division gets a one year family membership to the Portsmouth Historical Society, a $25 gift card to Flatbreads and a gift certificate for a one-day rental at Summer Sessions
    • Honorable mention in each division gets a prize from the Museum Shop at Discover Portsmouth


  • Participants grant permission to the Portsmouth Historical Society to publish your entry and your name for publicity purposes.


Email: Claire@portsmouthhistory.org

Information about Gertrude Fiske and the Exhibition

Tips for observing artwork

Creating Writing Through Art
How to and Why Look at Art with Children
Teaching Tips

Thanks to our Contest Sponsors

Summer Sessions logo Flatbread logo

Sisters of the Brush and Palette Lecture

with Prof. Richard Candee

Thursday August 23, 2018 5:30–6:30 pm

at Discover Portsmouth
10 Middle St., Portsmouth NH.

Doors open at 5pm prior to each lecture with galleries open until 7pm in the evening.
All programs are open to the public
$10 Members / $20 Non-Members

Purchase Tickets

In 1896, art journalist William Howe Downes noted “every year we see more of these sisters of the brush and palette coming forward as doughty competitors to the men…” Recognition of an increasing number of successful women artists, especially in Boston, came a generation after Massachusetts mandated art education for all public schools. Other New England states and New York followed suit, resulting in the establishment of specialized college training and a profitable trade in teaching aids.

Presented by Prof. Richard Candee, this in our lecture series, “Sisters of the Brush and Palette,” explores the life and art of three such artists, now on view at Discover Portsmouth. The central subject, Susan Ricker Knox, was a Portsmouth native whose long career as a portrait and landscape painter intersected with Margaret J. Patterson and Anne W. Carleton, artists and teachers. Each of these women, with Portsmouth connections, made successful careers of their artwork in the early years of the 20th century.

Richard M. Candee is Professor Emeritus of American and New England Studies at Boston University, former director of Preservation Studies, and co-founder of Portsmouth Advocates. He is the author of several books and many essays on the region’s history and artists. The founder of Discover Portsmouth, he has curated or co-curated sixteen exhibitions for the Portsmouth Historical Society and the Portsmouth Athenaeum.

For more information, call 603-436-8433.

Ladd Doorway

Susan Ricker Knox, Ladd Doorway, ca. 1917. Photo by Jeremy Fogg.

Portsmouth Waterfront

Margaret J. Patterson, Portsmouth Waterfront, ca.1900. Photo by Jeremy Fogg.

Hot Sand

Anne W. Carleton, Beach Figures (also known as Hot Sand), 1930s. Photo by Jeremy Fogg.


Now through September 30, 2018

Visit our current exhibitions at Discover Portsmouth

Gertrude Fisk: American Master
Sisters of the Brush and Palette

Now through October 8, 2018 at the John Paul Jones House

Overlooked and Undervalued: Three Hundred Years of Women’s Art from the Seacoast

John Paul Jones House 2018 Media

Press Releases 2018

2018 Exhibition-Overlooked and Undervalued: Three Hundred Years of Women’s Art from the Seacoast (PDF)
John Paul Jones Birthday July 8, 2018 (PDF)

Overlooked and Undervalued Exhibition Images
John Paul Jones House Images



5th Annual John Paul Jones Jubilee & Silent Auction

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Discover Portsmouth
10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH.

$30 for Members / $40 for Non-Members

Buy Your Tickets by August 31st for an Early Bird Discount!

$25 for Members / $35 for Non-Members

Buy Tickets Here

  • Hors d’oeuvres from the best Seacoast restaurants
  • Wines from private vineyards, courtesy of South Street & Vine
  • Smooth sounds of live jazz by Dry Martini
  • Fine wine raffle
  • More than 75 stellar silent auction items!


Live auction to support our museum education programs

Eat! Drink! Bid!

All proceeds to benefit Portsmouth Historical Society & John Paul Jones House.
For More Info, Please Call (603) 436-8433

This event is generously sponsored by:
Newburyport 5 Cent Savings Bank

Ashton Company

Morgan Stanley

Extended Family

with additional support from:

• Louis F. Clarizio, DDS PA

Four Seacoast Women Featured in New Art Exhibition

Seacoast Masters Today

Seacoast Masters Today

April 6-September 30, 2018
Member’s Opening Gala: Thursday, April 5, 2018
Art ‘Round Town, Friday, April 6
at Discover Portsmouth

In a companion exhibition to Gertrude Fiske: American Master, along with a second companion exhibition, “Sisters of the Brush and Palette,” four Seacoast women artists are highlighted. They are making their name today with the same drive and passion as Fiske and her peers. They are: Amy Brnger, Donna Harkins, Sydney Bella Sparrow, and Pamela duLong Williams. [Read more…]

One stop shopping this Father’s Day at Discover Portsmouth

Just in time for Father’s Day!

Your Dad called and he really doesn’t want another tie for Father’s Day. So instead bring Dad to Discover Portsmouth and he’ll receive free admission with any paid ticket to the Bold & Brash exhibit PLUS 10% off American Eagle: The Bold Art and Brash Life of John Haley Bellamy the new book by exhibit curator James A. Craig.

Know a Dad who loves history? Get him the gift that will keep on giving year ‘round: a membership to Portsmouth Historical Society. In addition to free admission to the John Paul Jones House, as well as discounted admission to programs, lectures and tours, you will receive a complimentary copy of Patriots Reward, by Steven Clarkson; a great gift by itself made even better! ClarksonCover72-sm

The Discover Portsmouth Museum Shop is open daily 10AM-5PM

Lecture Series to Honor Former Nashua Resident, Elinor Williams Hooker

ElinorElinor W. Hooker (July 10, 1933 -January 27, 2012), a long time New Hampshire resident and activist, was born July 10, 1933 in Pittsburgh, PA, daughter of the late Dr. Ulysses Williams and Louise G. Williams. The family’s Pittsburgh home was near Wylie Avenue an active community of black businesses, jazz music and churches, a location that would shape her lifelong interest in multicultural activities.

Mrs. Hooker was a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University where she majored in French and English. She taught English in Junior and Senior High Schools in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, PA, Brockton and Quincy, MA and Concord, NH and served as a tutor in the English as a Second Language Program at Nashua’s Pennichuck Junior High.

As a community activist, she volunteered with several groups including the Nashua Multicultural Committee and served as scholarship chairperson and assistant treasurer for the New Hampshire Outreach for Black Unity. During her tenure she chaired art exhibits by black artists and black performing artists. Elinor was a strong advocate of cultural diversity and Teaching Tolerance in schools base on the programs developed by The Southern Poverty Law Center.

Elinor was the wife of Thomas L. Hooker, who served from 1966 to 1974 as Director of the New Hampshire Division of Welfare. Shortly after moving to New Hampshire in 1966, Elinor and husband Tom became aware of Valerie Cunningham’s research on the history of blacks in New Hampshire. Both became supporters of PBHT and were interested in its growth.

The votes are in!!!! 2013 Gingerbread House Contest

And the winners are….!

The 2013 Gingerbread House contest was a huge success! There were over 48 entries this year and many tough decisions for the all-star team of judges. The contest featured four catagories: Youth, Family, Adult and Business/Nonprofit. This year also featured the first annual People’s Choice Award. The winners will enjoy amazing prizes provided by Vida Cantina, Diversions Puzzles & Games and the Music Hall. Discover Portsmouth has extended hours for viewing this weekend from 10-8PM. There is still time to get one last look!

The Winners Are:

Best Family

Rebecca and Payson Dunn

Best Adult

The Enchanted Caravan by Mary Dissette

Best Business

Gilley’s by TMS Architects

Best Youth

Stocking-End Hobbit Hole by Emma Cross

People’s Choice Award

Victorian Gingerbread by Michelle Maple

[Read more…]

New Hampshire Charitable Foundation awards 2013 Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant


Discover Portsmouth
Sept 18-Nov 30
Academy Balcony Gallery
Open daily 10-5PM

Justin Kirchoff, a photographer in Eliot, Maine, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant. The grant is awarded annually by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

The Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant provides a $25,000 grant to an individual visual artist to promote his or her artistic growth. Since the program began in 2002, over $350,000 has been awarded to Seacoast-area artists.

“Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Foundation is able to award one of the country’s largest unrestricted grants to an individual artist so they can focus on what they do best, creating brilliant works of art for the community to enjoy,” said Richard Ober, president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. [Read more…]

Mother’s Day Event at the John Paul Jones House

Children’s Day Clothing: The Collection of the Portsmouth Historical Society

May 11-12

Gallery Talks begin at 11AM & 2PM

Join Portsmouth Historical Society curator Sandra Rux as she discusses the evolution of children’s clothing and 19th century stories of children in Portsmouth.

Free for members/ $6 non-members