Portsmouth Advocates Awards Night

Honor Historic Preservation Projects

Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street
Thursday, November 21, 2019, 5:30-7:00 pm
Award presentations 6:00 pm.

Light refreshments will be served.

Advocates 2018

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 21, from 5:30-7pm at Discover Portsmouth, the Advocates will continue this tradition by presenting awards to exceptional individuals and projects completed within the last year. [Read more…]

Winners of the 2019 Young Writers Contest!

We are delighted to announce the winners of our 2019 Young Writers Contest!

Writers in grades 3 to 12 who participated in our second annual Young Writers Contest came to Discover Portsmouth to view the exhibition, “New Hampshire Folk Art: By the People, For the People.” Each writer selected a work from the exhibition, spent time with the work and composed a response.

A panel of judges read and evaluated entries based on content, creativity, expression, clarity, quality, and connection to the original artwork.

Please join us in congratulating this year’s winners. You may click on the links below to read their submissions.

Grades 3-5

Maetta Jagentenfl
WINNER – Maetta Jagentenfl
3rd Grade – Dondero Elementary School

Exhibition selection (above) “Spotted Fawn”, Archie Gilbert (1868–1947). Landaff, N.H., ca. 1932. Carved and painted wood. League of NH Craftsmen
Entry Title –The Five Friends

Grades 6-8

WINNER – Isobel Horowitz
Home School – Age 12 – Grade 7

Exhibition Selection (above) “Dexter” Running Horse Weathervane, America, probably New England, ca. 1875–1900
Copper, cast iron, New London Historical Society
Entry Title – Stolen From the Skies

Grades 9-12

Grades 9-12
WINNER – Josie Sedam
10th Grade – Portsmouth High School – age 14



Exhibition Selection (above) Capt. Caleb Currier and Sarah Marden Currier, ca. 1820. William Chamberlain (1790–1860). Paper on black cloth, ink, pencil. Portsmouth Historical Society
Entry Title – The Immortality of Shadows

Thanks to our Contest Sponsors

Summer Sessions logo Flatbread logo

“It’s Pastel” 11th Annual Juried Show

October 25-November 30, 2019 • 9:30am-5pm 7 days a week.

Awards Ceremony and Opening Night Reception Saturday, October 26th, 2019, 5-7pm. Free admission

[Read more…]

Carl Austin Hyatt: From Portsmouth to Peru: in Search of Anima Mundi

Hyatt logo

Discover Portsmouth,
Friday, October 25 – Sunday, December 22.

Thursday, November 14
Thursday, December 5
5:30 to 6:30pm

Carl Austin Hyatt shares his experiences in Peru with indigenous shamans.

Doors open at 5:00pm
These events are free and open to the public.

[Read more…]

29th Annual Gingerbread House Contest & Exhibition Call for Entries

2018 Music Hall Gingerbread

Portsmouth Historical Society is pleased to announce another year of a sweet local tradition. Gather your family, friends and/or co-workers together and craft your own beautiful creation! All levels welcome. Homemade gingerbread creations will be on display daily for the public throughout December at Discover Portsmouth.

Professional Division Deadline to Register: Monday, November 1, 2019

Portsmouth Historical Society/Discover Portsmouth announces the introduction of a new “Professional Division” for 2019. Entries will be on display daily at Discover Portsmouth with the Professional Division scheduled to open a week early to kick off the exhibit. Due to space constraints, a limited number of entries in the Professional Division will be accepted.
The Professional Division will run Friday, November 29, – December 22, 2019

Community Division Deadline to Register: Saturday, November 25, 2019

This year, Community Division categories include Adult, Multi-generation (formerly “Family”), Teen, Youth, and Business/Nonprofit. Gather your family, friends, and/or co-workers together and craft your own beautiful creation!
The Community Division exhibition will open Friday, Dec. 6 from 9:30 am-8 pm, and run through December 22, from 9:30-5 pm daily. Some specially selected entries will be offered in a raffle.

Please read the Contest Rules before you register.


The Professional Division is closed for registrations.



Gingerbread FAQ

The 29th Annual Gingerbread House Contest is a feature of Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth, the city-wide, month-long celebration anchored by The Music Hall and Strawbery Banke Museum.

Created by local businesses, artists, families and kids, the gingerbread houses will be nestled into a winter wonderland in the first floor gallery surrounded by large format photographs: David J. Murray’s images of Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth and photographs of trains in New Hampshire winters by Andy Dolph. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Judges’ winning selections will be announced at the December 6th Kickoff Party. Visitors to the exhibit can vote for the People’s Choice Awards in five categories: “Best in Show,” “Most Creative Building Materials,” “Most Attention to Detail,” “Most Whimsical” and “Best Professional.”

Come see these magical creations and find holiday gifts in the Museum Shop! According to Robin Albert, Welcome Center Coordinator, who is overseeing the exhibit, “We are gearing up for what has become a wonderful tradition. Both past participants and newcomers are encouraged to enter, so get your family and friends and co-workers together and craft your own beautiful creation!”

Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth Kickoff

Friday, December 6, 2019, 5-8pm
The exhibition will open Friday, December 6, from 5-8pm, and run through December 22, from 9:30-5 pm daily. The exhibition will also be open until 6pm on Friday, December 13 and Friday, December 20.

Take a house home!

Some of our most beautiful entries will be raffled off and available to the winners to take home for the holidays. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit Portsmouth Historical Society.

Free Family Programs

Saturday, December 7 and Saturday, December 14
10am – 12:30pm
Join us this holiday season and create your very own festive winter decoration. Families and children of all ages are welcome. Children under the age of 8 must be accompanied by an adult.

Thank you to our event sponsors

Devine Millimet             Strawbery Banke

Bangor Savings Bank

The Music Hall

Walmart Portsmouth

The Music Hall

Colliers International

Louis F. Clarizio, DDS PA