July 1-4, 2016

An American Celebration” on July 4th is Strawbery Banke Museum’s annual salute to America, Independence Day and the joys of summer. Multiple generations make this their Fourth of July tradition, given the opportunity to enjoy the living history museum on a day that American history takes the spotlight.

At Strawbery Banke, the 14th annual An American Celebration extends the festivities all weekend long.  Offering something for everyone, from maritime art to a 1940s-style swing dance, each day’s events add something new to the Independence Day traditions. Sponsors include: BAE Systems, CPManagement, R.M. Davis, Marshall Rental and Cambridge Trust Company of New Hampshire.

FRIDAY, July 1st
Opening of the new permanent exhibit, "Port of Portsmouth: War, Trade & Travel" in the Montrone Family Gallery, Thales Yeaton House.

The exhibit focuses on the maritime history of Portsmouth and the Seacoast, showcasing eight beautifully-crafted models of Portsmouth-built sailing ships, originally collected by Joseph Sawtelle. Paintings and historical artifacts once owned by ships’ masters or builders are also on display.

SATURDAY, July 2nd

American Lives: a Timeline of Historical Reenactors

Celebrate America's diverse history in one of New Hampshire's oldest neighborhoods. In addition to historic houses and costumed roleplayers, discover special living history displays throughout the museum grounds, showcasing American History from the 1600s through the 1900s, including:

  • Native American Life
  • African American History
  • The Earliest Settlers
  • Golden Age of Pirates
  • Early American Crafts
  • Revolutionary and Civil War Soldiers
  • Colonial Age Medicine
  • Antique Cars
  • World War II Homefront Skills

SUNDAY, July 3rd, 6-9 pm

1940’s Style Swing Dance

Jump, jive and swing to the music of the Bedford Big Band at a 1940s-style swing dance. Dance Lessons (free instruction with ticket to the dance) starts at 6 pm, and the band boogies from 7 pm to 9 pm.  Then watch the Portsmouth fireworks display from the vantage point of Strawbery Banke. Tickets are $20. Click here to purchase in advance online . Sponsored in part by Cambridge Trust Company of New Hampshire.

MONDAY, July 4th. Children under 17 admitted FREE thanks to BAE Systems.

Naturalization Ceremony, 11 am
Celebrate America by welcoming new citizens at the US Naturalization Ceremony. A Museum favorite, come feel reinvigorated by the joy and patriotism shared by those who make their own special day on their new nation’s birthday.

Old-Fashioned Field Day, 10 am - 2 pm

Learn games played throughout the centuries as part of Strawbery Banke’s Old Fashioned Field Day. Visitors are invited to play a round of croquet, test their skill at marbles, have fun with hula hoops, and collect ribbons at 10 different games all over the museum grounds.

Patriotic parade around the museum grounds at 2 pm. Kids are invited to decorate their bikes, wagons, or hats from 10 am until the parade starts.

NH Governor Maggie Hassan reads from the Declaration of Independence at 1:30 pm.


The Museum is open daily, 10 am to 5 pm. During a visit families will enjoy:

  • Furnished houses representing 300 years of history
  • Costumed role-players
  • Victorian Fairy Houses
  • Guided garden tours
  • Demonstrations of weaving, colonial hearth-cooking, basket weaving, and more.
  • Enjoy refreshments at Figtree Café at Strawbery Banke, and a delightful shopping experience for adults and kids at Pickwick’s at the Banke.

All activities except for the Swing Dance are included with regular museum admission. Children under 17 are admitted FREE on Monday the 4th thanks to a grant from BAE Systems. As a Blue Star Museum, Strawbery Banke admits active duty military and their families FREE. Strawbery Banke also admits veterans free.

About Strawbery Banke Museum (

Strawbery Banke Museum, on the historic Portsmouth, New Hampshire waterfront, is a 10-acre outdoor history museum dedicated to bringing 300+ years of American history to life through heritage gardens, historic buildings, traditional crafts, preservation programs, hands-on activities, stories told by costumed role-players and the changing exhibits that offer hours of fun and discovery for all ages.  A 501©3 non-profit, Strawbery Banke’s daily programs, exhibits, seasonal outdoor ice skating and signature special events throughout the year are made possible by members and by grants from Proulx Oil & Propane, R.M. Davis, CP Management, the NH State Council for the Arts, the NH Charitable Foundation, Lincoln Financial Group, the Institute of Library and Museum Services and many other individual and corporate donors.  For a complete calendar of events, please visit