Portsmouth Historical Society is a nonprofit organization that operates a museum and welcome center in downtown Portsmouth, publishes books, manages the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail and advocates for historic preservation. We tell Portsmouth stories and our mission is to provide a central city location where, in cooperation with other groups, we can introduce, interpret, and stimulate the study of Portsmouth history. The Society is the only institution focusing on the history of the entire community.


A Welcome Center. A Community Center. A Nonprofit Hub.

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 long term vision is to protect and promote Portsmouth’s cultural heritage.

Portsmouth has an unparalleled wealth of arts, culture and historical assets and an international reputation for cultivating, preserving and promoting those assets. The impact of the collective arts culture on the local economy is $41 million — a level typical of a city 10 times our size. We’ve reached a critical point. To maintain that revenue and ensure the cultural renaissance continues, we must ensure that visitors find what they are looking for, stay longer, invest more in our venues, and spread the good word.

We know Portsmouth inside and out. We are operated by Portsmouth Historical Society, established in 1917 as one of the city’s first museums. With the addition of our expansive new facility, we are uniquely positioned to welcome and orient visitors and residents to the city’s vast cultural resources. We are the new gateway to performance venues, historic houses, lectures, walking tours, gardens, musical events, art galleries, exhibits, festivals, and more. Our job is to make every Portsmouth visit a richer experience.