2017 Annual Appeal

Portsmouth Historical Society, Sculpture Exhibition 2017

YOU can bring History, Arts and Culture to life!

Please make a gift to our annual appeal so that you can help us bring History, Arts, and Culture to Portsmouth and the greater Seacoast region! Individual contributions are critical to our success and make up more than 50% of our operating expenses. Did you know that your contribution also keeps our exhibitions FREE to the public so we can teach others to become stewards of our national culture and history? [Read more…]

27th Annual Gingerbread House Exhibit

Gingerbread House Contest

December 1-23, 2017, Daily 9:30am-5pm (and until 8pm on Dec 1st & 2nd)
Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street
Portsmouth, New Hampshire


Save these dates: open late until 8pm

Friday December 1, 5-8pm

Opening night/kickoff party for Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth

Saturday December 2, 9:30am-8pm

Attend 5:30pm Portsmouth Tree Lighting followed by Illuminated Holiday Parade and stop in at Discover Portsmouth anytime!

Portsmouth Historical Society celebrates Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth with the kickoff party Friday December 1, 2017 5-8pm when visitors will have the first look at the popular Annual Gingerbread House Contest exhibit running until Saturday December 23 in the first floor gallery at Discover Portsmouth located at 10 Middle Street in downtown Portsmouth.

Vote for your favorite creation for People’s Choice Award!

[Read more…]

What Artists Look Like – 2017

Jay Goldsmith

Photographer Jay Goldsmith

Exhibition opens at Discover Portsmouth

Portraits of local artists & their work,
Friday November 3 – Saturday December 23, 2017
Opening Night – Art ‘Round Town Friday November 3 5-8pm
Sketching in the Gallery, discussions with artists – Free All Ages Programming [Read more…]

Special Holiday Events in Our Museum Shop!

Shop Discover Portsmouth NH

Don’t miss these Free Events at Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle St., Portsmouth NH

Friday, November 24

Plaid Friday
Enjoy cider and cookies while you shop!

Sunday, November 26

Museum Store Sunday
Come taste olives and olive oil from Lakonia Greek Products, a Maine family-owned gourmet food importer.

Saturday, December 9

Tote Around Portsmouth
Pick up your tote bag at Discover Portsmouth!

Our Museum Shop is stocked with the perfect holiday gifts:

  • Books about Portsmouth history to read and share
  • Super cool stuff for kids
  • Keepsakes for your visitors
  • Unique jewelry and apparel made by local artists and craftsmen

And, because we carry gifts that relate to our changing exhibits, you’ll always find something new. Members receive 10% off!

Open daily 9:30-5pm through December 23, 2017.

Open until 8pm Friday & Saturday December 1 & 2
10 Middle Street, Portsmouth NH
Call 603-436-8433

Free Family Programming

Karel Hayes Winter Visitors

Sunday, December 10, 10am-12:30pm

Book Signing 10am-11am
Author / Illustrator Karel Hayes will be in the Museum Shop signing two of her children’s books.
The Winter Visitors and The Christmas Visitors
Snowflakes 11am-12:30pm
Children will play with paper, craft sticks, tissue paper, and pipe cleaners to create all different kinds of snowflakes. Take your snowflakes home and design a winter wonderland.

Sunday, December 17, 10am-12:30pm

Gingerbread Man
Decorate and create your very own paper gingerbread man. Use your gingerbread man as a greeting card or an ornament.

27th Annual Gingerbread House Exhibit

Vote for the People’s Choice Award!

nestled into a winter wonderland in the first floor gallery… [READ MORE]

2017 Gingerbread House

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…]

The Quilted Canvas

Quilts at Discover Portsmouth 2017

Art Quilts from the Collection of the New England Quilt Museum
Exhibition opens at Discover Portsmouth
Tuesday November 21 – Saturday December 23, 2017

In the 1960s and ‘70s formally trained textile artists around the country began painting with cloth. They explored the medium, manipulating fabric and enhancing their designs with the bas relief effect of the surface stitching that holds the three layers together. The work shown in this small exhibition is constructed of fabric that was cut, sewn together again, and then quilted. The New England Quilt Museum holds early work of some of these early pioneer textile artists. All of these artists continue to work today in the medium of fabric, expanding the public perception of quilted artwork.

The New England Quilt Museum is located in Lowell, MA, and is the only venue in the Northeast that features only exhibits of quilt history and art. More than thirty years ago a group of pioneering women gathered to form and accomplish their dream—a museum devoted to the craft and art of quilting.

Portsmouth Historical Society and the New England Quilt Museum have partnered to present a collection of rarely seen works of art. Portsmouth Historical Society seeks to collaborate with other regional museums to exhibit important and unexpected works of art for our visitors.

Portsmouth Advocates Awards Night Honors City Preservation Projects

Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street
Thursday November 16, 2017 5:30-7pm

Award presentations 6pm.
Light refreshments will be served.

Portsmouth Advocates, a key program of the Portsmouth Historical Society, is preparing for awards season! Since 1989 Portsmouth Advocates has honored individuals and projects that enhance the city’s unique historic character and make Portsmouth a better place to live and work. On Thursday November 16 from 5:30-7pm at Discover Portsmouth, the Advocates will continue this tradition by presenting awards to exceptional individuals and projects completed over the last year.

Project-specific awards include the following:

  • Restoring the Integrity of a Resource: 496 Middle Street
  • Continued and Sensitive Maintenance of a Historic Property: The Masonic Hall on Middle Street, and the Warner House
  • New Construction in a Historic Context: Islington Street Condos/Old Port Traders site, and the African Burying Ground Memorial
  • Arthur J. Gerrier Memorial Award, which is presented to an individual who is committed to serving our historic community. Arthur Gerrier was a member of the Portsmouth Advocates Board and an outstanding architectural historian: Dick Adams
  • John Grossman Memorial Award, which recognizes an individual who makes a reality of an organization’s mission and bridging the theoretical and the practical. John Grossman was a tireless supporter of Portsmouth non-profits and Chair of Portsmouth Advocates for many years: Valerie Cunningham

2016 Award Winners

2016 Award Winners


About Portsmouth Advocates

Formed in 1980, Portsmouth Advocates was established to “promote the maintenance of the historical and architectural integrity of the structures and cityscape of the City of Portsmouth.” In 2012 Portsmouth Advocates became part of Portsmouth Historical Society.

Portsmouth Historical Society, founded in 1917, is a tax-exempt 501©3 nonprofit devoted to championing the history, arts, and culture of the Portsmouth region through acquisitions, preservation, museum exhibitions, programs, and publications. It operates two facilities: Discover Portsmouth and the 1758 John Paul Jones House and Garden, a national historic landmark open Memorial Day through Columbus Day + Veterans Day. Discover Portsmouth is a cultural gateway that houses a welcome center for residents and visitors; a museum of exhibitions and programs devoted to Portsmouth history, including Historic Walking Tours; and a museum shop of unique Portsmouth gifts and books. A gathering place for Portsmouth nonprofits, it is a popular location for event rentals. Located at 10 Middle Street, Discover Portsmouth is open daily from 9:30-5pm, from April through December, and remains open until 8pm for Art Round Town, the first Friday of each month. For further information, please call 603-436-8433.

Discover December 2017 at Discover Portsmouth

Shop at Discover Portsmouth

Artists, gifts, quilts, books, photos, gingerbread -and much more.

Discover Portsmouth wants to thank tens of thousands of visitors for making the centennial year of Portsmouth Historical Society, well — historic. And we’re still celebrating daily through December 23 with a Santa’s bag full of events, exhibitions & museum shop treasures. In the spirit of Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth, we’re making your next holiday stop at Discover Portsmouth a must for the whole family — and it’s free. [Read more…]

Sketching in the Gallery – Free for All Ages

Sketching at Discover Portsmouth 2017
For three Saturday mornings during the Goldsmith What Artists Look Like exhibition, artists young and old are welcome to grab a pencil and paper and sketch in our beautiful upstairs gallery at Discover Portsmouth. Use the inspiration of local artists to create your own masterpiece. Meet artist, Jane Copp on Saturday, November 11 and Kim Massaro on Saturday December 2nd!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sketching in the gallery and discussion with local artist Jane Copp

Saturday, November 25

Sketching in the gallery

Saturday, December 2

Sketching in the Gallery
Discussion with local artist Kim Massaro

Visit What Artists Look Like Exhibition

Portraits of local artists & their work,
Friday November 3 – Saturday December 23, 2017
Opening Night – Art ‘Round Town Friday November 3 5-8pm
Free All Ages Programming — discussions with artists, sketching in the gallery
More Info

John Paul Jones House Museum & Garden

1758 National Historic Landmark

Open one day only – Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11, 2017
11-5​ Free admission
John Paul Jones House 2016     Portsmouth Historical Society     Portsmouth Historical Society
​***Last chance to see the exhibition, The Odd & the Elegant*** [Read more…]