A brief history of Strawbery Banke Museum
English colonists, who established a settlement in 1623 along with what is now the "New Hampshire" coast, built houses along the Piscataqua River and more shelter cove that is now Portsmouth Harbor. They named the settlement "Strawbery Bank" -- either for the wild strawberries growing along the banks or for an estate in England.
Strawbery Banke Museum tells the story of the neighborhood called Puddle Dock, surrounding the tidal inlet. This neighborhood grew from a wilderness outpost in the late 1600s through cycles of maritime prosperity to become a multi-cultural "neighborhood of newcomers."
In the 1950s, city officials slated the neighborhood for "urban renewal" and evicted the residents. The entire area was scheduled for demolition. Determined to preserve the physical evidence of history in the houses, local activists formed Strawbery Banke, Inc. in 1958 and the museum acquired the 10-acre site and about 30 buildings.
It took decades to save and stabilize the houses of Puddle Dock and rehabilitation and preservation efforts continue today, making Strawbery Banke a work in progress, where visitors can observe the process of peeling back layers of time.
The Museum allows visitors to time travel over four centuries through historic houses on original foundations, recreated orchards and gardens, costumed roleplayers, and traditional craft artisans. Alongside a priceless collection of decorative arts objects whose connections to Portsmouth are validated by the archaeological study of the "most intensively researched urban site in New Hampshire," the families who shaped this community remain in a form that still resonates with "becoming American" experiences of personal tragedy and triumph.