Portsmouth Historical Society, founded in 1917, is a 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 Museum and Garden, a national historic landmark.


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.