A springboard for the imagination in a first-ever exhibition of original art by dozens of beloved New England children’s book illustrators. May 6 to September 25, 2022, daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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John Paul  Jones House

John Paul Jones House

Historical Walking Tours

Historical Walking Tours

Welcome Center

Welcome Center

Exhibitions and  Events

Imagine That! The Power of Picture Books

Portsmouth Historical Society has assembled a collection of extraordinary illustrations for children’s picture books by a “who’s who” of New England illustrators, from Maxfield Parrish and N.C. Wyeth, to Robert McCloskey (Make Way for Ducklings), Hans and Margret Rey (Curious George), and Dr. Seuss (aka Theodor Geisel); to contemporary artists Chris Van Dusen, Mo Willems, Tomie dePaola, and Ashley Bryan. In all, more than one hundred illustrations, including new reflections on diversity and inclusion, offer a springboard for children and adults to explore the imaginative world of picture books and reading together. Accompanying the exhibition are creative reading, craft and play areas, and an impressive “Journey Box” initiative that takes picture books, reading, and book-making to local schools, libraries, and underserved families.


Welcome Center Opens April 1

Welcome Center Opens April 1

  Starting April 1, the Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center will be open 7 days a week, 10am to 5pm. Plus! On Friday, we’ll be staying open from 5pm until 8pm for our first Art ‘Round Town of the season! Kevin Trainer will be here to show us how to play his new...

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Welcome Center Opens 4/1 and Imagine That! Opens 5/6

Welcome Center Opens 4/1 and Imagine That! Opens 5/6

Imagine That! The Power of Picture Books opens to the public on Friday, May 6, and will be open every day except July 4 until September 25. We will have story hours in the gallery, school- and camp-group tours, pop-up reading around town, evening lectures, weekend...

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Become a Member today!  Support the Portsmouth Historical Society’s exhibitions, programs, policy of free/discounted admission, third grade history program, walking tours, publications and so much more by joining as a member! Membership benefits include exclusive invitations to member only events, discounts in the museum shop, free/discounted admission to programs, lectures, and tours, and advance notice of the Society’s activities.
Become a member today so that you too can make History, Arts, and Culture come alive for everyone!

Make a Donation

Support the Portsmouth Historical Society  with a  one-time or sustaining  donation.

A significant portion of our operating budget comes from generous supporters like YOU!



We could not be what we are or accomplish what we do without our volunteers. Join us in pursuing our mission to preserve and promote the arts, history, and culture of Portsmouth and the Seacoast.

We are looking for people who have a few hours to spare, whether it’s once a season or once a week—from high-schoolers looking to fulfill their volunteering requirements, to retirees eager to be active in the community.

About Us

“This place should be your first stop when visiting Portsmouth. There is information, free brochures, and maps about everywhere in town. The walls are covered with signs about historic places, and the shop sells wonderful, locally-made items. There is also a free movie about the history of Portsmouth to watch, and dozens of books about Portsmouth’s history for sale. There are rotating art exhibitions here as well, which are really well-curated!”

What’s New in the  Shop

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