2013 Past Events

The Aeterna Trio presents “Peace on Earth” concert, Sunday, December 22nd at 3PM

Aeterna TrioDiscover Portsmouth will present Peace on Earth a mid-day concert for the holidays featuring the new Andy Happel trio Aeterna on Sunday, December 22, 3pm. Tickets are $10 for members and $12 for non-members and can be reserved by calling the front desk (603) 436-8433.

Aeterna Trio is the exciting and inspiring new ensemble featuring Andy Happel (violin), Ben Birkbeck (piano), Devon Colella (cello) Forces collide in a genre-bending hail as these exceptional musicians spontaneously ‘riff’ on a classical themes or popular songs. Highly skilled and trained in the art of musical improvisation the Aeterna Trio is sure to become known for composing new music right in front of audiences eyes. The concert will feature Holiday favorites as well as playfully reinterpreting beloved classical themes such as Canon in D, The Nutcracker, Ave Maria, Nessun Dorma, and more. Aeterna Trio takes these familiar melodies to entirely new places.

Debut concerts in December will also feature popular music from Phantom of the Opera, songs from pop artists such as Sting, U2, Peter Gabriel, and even Led Zeppelin, as well as holiday favorites to fit the season.

Andy, Ben and Devon are also each composers of new original music and will bring select favorites to life with the Aeterna Trio.

Shop Discover Portsmouth! Open late through December


Welcome to the Portsmouth Historical Society Museum Shop!

Dec 1- Dec 23
M-F 10-5PM, Sat-Sun 10-8PM

Housed in Discover Portsmouth, we offer a wide selection of unique Portsmouth items, including books, pottery, art, jewelry, and accessories all crafted by local artists. Our winter and Christmas items include locally made winter-wear, ornaments, decorations, and more.

Stop in to see featured craftsmanship like hand-woven scarves from Sandra Rux, Celia Thaxter inspired pottery by Deg Designs, enameled copper pinch pots from S. Cole Designs and knitwear by Linda Graham.

Browse our books for those on your list who love history and historical fiction. We feature local authors like Richard M. Candee, J. Dennis Robinson, Richard Winslow and Jeffrey Bolster.

gift_card_frontCan’t decide? Grab a gift card! It can be used for items in the shop, events, and more!

Members always receive 10% off their entire purchase.

Every purchase helps the Portsmouth Historical Society preserve history and maintain our mission.

Flowers in Winter: Celia Thaxter’s Island Garden Exhibit Blooms Winter 2013 – 2104

Discover Portsmouth brings you scenes of summer to brighten our darkest winter days.

pr_FLOWER_MEDPhotographer Peter Randall and contemporary artists Christopher Volpe and Dustan Knight have teamed up to deliver a colorful 21st century response to the famous flower garden that 19th century writer Celia Thaxter cultivated in the six inches of soil on the timeless, rocky island of Appledore, Isles of Shoals. Discover Portsmouth presents Flowers in Winter: Celia Thaxter’s Island Garden which launches with a film premiere by Peter Randall on December 5th, 2013. The film will have two showings: 5:30PM and 6:30PM, $25 suggested donation. [Read more…]

Portsmouth Tweed Ride, Nov 2 at 1PM

TweedRidePin2On Saturday, November 2, join us on a leisurely fall bicycle ride around Portsmouth in your finest fall sporting attire to benefit the Portsmouth Historical Society. A pedal-powered tasting tour of the town, the ride will include stops at fine eating and drinking establishments around the city, including Book & Bar, Street, and White Heron Tea & Coffee. Wear your tweed jackets, caps, knickers, and of course, pedal your prized vintage or classic bicycle during the ride. We’ll end up at the Press Room to quench our surely formidable thirst from said excursion. [Read more…]

Game Change: 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth Increases Opportunity for Merchants, Oct 16

warner_houseJoin us for the Warner House Lecture Series at Discover Portsmouth on October 16th at 5:30PM as San­dra Rux, cura­tor of the Portsmouth His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety and Warner House board mem­ber, dis­cusses Game Change: 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth Increases Oppor­tu­ni­ties for Mer­chants. This lec­ture focuses on the rela­tion­ship between William Pep­per­rell Sr. and Archibald MacPhead­ris, first owner of the Warner House. [Read more…]

Basket Day with Gaby Pelletier at Discover Portsmouth, October 5th


Search your attic and barn for baskets!

Ever won­der about the ori­gins of your bas­ket? Join the experts at Dis­cover Portsmouth and bring your woven treasures. Identification will take place from 10AM-4PM and culminate with a 4:30PM lecture by Wabanaki basket expert Gaby Pelletier of New Brunswick, Canada. Gaby has more than 10 years research on Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy Penobscot, and Abenaki baskets, quillwork, moosehair embroidery, beadwork, and barkwork. She was the former Assistant Curator of History at the New Brunswick Museum.

Admission is free and open to the public.
This event is part of the Warner House 2013 lecture series.

The event is co-hosted by Warner House Association, Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum and Portsmouth Historical Society with a grant for the NH Humanities Council. For more information contact the Warner House at (603) 436-5909 or warnerhouse@myfairpoint.net.

Photo credit: Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum

When a Bed Sheet Cost More Than a Cow: Textiles in the Inventory of Ursula Cutt, Sept 28 at 11AM

cuttstextileIn July 1694, the sudden and unexpected death of Madame Ursula Cutt, widow of John Cutt, first President of New Hampshire, by the hands of Abenaki warriors provides a snapshot of the personal belongings of one of the wealthiest widows in Portsmouth. Madame Cutt and her laborers were attacked while haying, so that she had not prepared for death. [Read more…]

8th Annual Black New England Conference, Oct 25-26, 2013 at UNH- Huddleston Hall

The Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail and The Center for New England Culture present the 8th Annual Black New England Conference at UNH- Huddleston Hall on Oct 25-26, 2013



The Black New England Conference is a 2-day conference that gathers scholars, teachers, researchers, community members and members of local organizations to share their work and insights on the Black experience past and present in New England. It is both an academic conference and a celebration of Black life and history in New England. [Read more…]

A True Story of the Plains Massacre, 1696

A Gallery Talk by curator Sandra Rux, Saturday, August 31st at 11AM at the John Paul Jones House Museum

plains massacreWhile Portsmouth suffered less than surrounding towns from Indian attacks during the last decade of the 17th century, the stories about two “massacres” are frequently recounted. In this talk on August 31 at 11AM at the John Paul Jones House, curator Sandra Rux will discuss the attack on the Portsmouth Plains on June 26, 1696. The original sources are brief and simply say houses were burned and people killed and captured. All sources agree that those captured were recovered soon after the attack as the Native Americans were breakfasting at what became known as Breakfast Hill. However, Charles Brewster seems to have introduced an entirely fictitious list of the killed and captured in his Rambles. Ms. Rux will identify some who did lose their lives and those who survived.

The John Paul Jones House is host for First Nations Diplomacy Opens the Portsmouth Door, an exhibit featuring copies of the treaty, explanations of its significance, and objects and documents relating to the period of conflict with the Native Americans and protection of Portsmouth. Please contact Sandra Rux at 436-8420 for reservations or more information. Reservations are recommended but not required. Admission is free to Portsmouth Historical Society members/ $6 Adults ($5 seniors) and children free; includes a tour of the John Paul Jones House.

Caption for image : Marker at the Plains telling of the attack. Photo Sandra Rux

Dick Winslow Day, August 19, 2013

A Man’s-Sea-Passion Proclamation: Richard E. Winslow III got some well-deserved recognition for years of research and writing about Portsmouth. He received a proclamation from the mayor and city council on the official Dick Winslow Day.
Dick Winslow DayHere he is with Maryellen Burke and Deidre Randall, the co-publishers of his most recent book, A RACE OF SHIPBUILDERS, Portsmouth Marine Society Press Number 33, at the reception following the presentation at City Hall. A Race of Shipbuilders: The Hanscoms of Eliot, Maine is the 6th book Winslow has written and published with the Portsmouth Marine Society.

Congratulations, Dick!