2019 NH Folk Art Lecture Series

Portsmouth Historical Society announces the 2019 Lecture Series for our 2019 exhibitions:

New Hampshire Folk Art: By the People, For the People, and
League of NH Craftsmen Contemporary Folk Art.

The lectures are held at Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street, Portsmouth NH on Thursdays at 5:30 pm.

Thursday, May 16, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

“Trials and Tribulations: Researching Folk Artists Working in 19th-century New Hampshire.”

Deborah M. Child, art historian, lecturer, and independent curator.
In her illustrated lecture, Child, an independent scholar and resident of Seacoast New Hampshire, will present highlights from her research over the past fifteen years to identify the so-called Borden limner once thought to be Portsmouth-born John Samuel Blunt. She will also explore the careers of other artists passing through New Hampshire such as Rufus Porter and “Mr. Willson of NH” who supplemented his income by counterfeiting money. Her talk will allow for a closer look at some artists represented in the exhibition, such as Porter, and help place all the works in a wider context of nineteenth-century New Hampshire. Child is the author of many publications, including the Sketchbooks of John Samuel Blunt (Portsmouth Athenaeum, 2007), and a regular contributor to Antiques and Fine Art. Samples of her publications may be viewed on www.deborahmchild.com.

Thursday, June 20, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

“Folk Art and American Modernism”

Paul D’Ambrosio, President and C.E.O., Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmer’s Art Museum, Inc., Cooperstown, N.Y.
Paul D’Ambrosio, one of the leading scholars of American folk art and a widely published author, will discuss a crucial nexus between folk art and modern artists of the early twentieth century. Many painters and sculptors of the 1930s, such as Charles Sheeler, Elie Nadelman, Marguerite Zorach, and many others, were attracted to the formal abstract qualities and expressive nature of folk art. Their interest stimulated museums and private collectors to become interested in this material, and the enthusiasm for folk art remains string today. In particular, D’Ambrosio will examine the influence of Hamilton Easter Field and the Ogunquit School in the early collecting of American folk art.

Thursday, July 25, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

“It’s A Small World: The Micro-Drawings of Rufus E. Patten of Candia”

Gerald W.R. Ward, Curator, Portsmouth Historical Society.
The New Hampshire Folk Art exhibition includes about a dozen “micro-drawings”—some less than an inch wide—of ships, buildings, landscapes, and other scenes, all done by Rufus E. Patten of Candia, New Hampshire, as a young man in the early nineteenth century. Ward will discuss new research into the life of the little-known Patten, who did not become an artist but enjoyed a career in the military and as a justice of the peace before his death in 1879. He will place his amazing youthful work, now in the noted collection of Craig and Alison Jewett, into the context of folk art, especially as it relates to calligraphy and fine penmanship, and to the concepts of artisanal virtuosity and youthful masterpieces dating back to the medieval period.

Thursday, September 12, 5:30–6:30 p.m.

“The League of NH Craftsmen: A PechaKucha Event”

In a fast-paced and lively presentation, in which each artist only has a few minutes and can only show a limited number of illustrations, several members of the League who are included in the Contemporary NH Folk Art exhibition will discuss various aspects of their work. Although each short segment will be individualistic, topics such as the artist’s training and background, their artistic influences and sources, and aspects of their technique will be discussed, often with references to the examples of their work included in the exhibition. There will be time for a Q and A session afterwards. The event is an unusual opportunity to meet and learn directly from some of the most important artists and craftsmen working in New Hampshire today.

Call (603) 436-8433 for more information.

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



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