Strawbery Banke is unique among outdoor history museums in presenting an authentic neighborhood, with most of the 32 historic buildings on their original foundations. These structures, the earliest dating to 1695, provide our strongest link to the lives of the people who lived in this neighborhood.
Some of the houses have been restored and furnished to particular periods in the past; some are used for exhibits on such special themes as architecture or archaeology; still, others serve as shops for artisans practicing traditional trades.
“Strawbery Bank” is marked on a c. 1670 map of this place. In 1630 when Englishmen chose this tidal inlet of the Piscataqua River as a safe harbor for their first settlement, they may have called their outpost “Strawberry Bank” for the profusion of wild berries they found near the river. By the eighteenth century, the site was a thriving waterfront neighborhood in an important seaport renamed Portsmouth in 1653. In the 1800s this place evolved into an immigrant neighborhood known as Puddle Dock. In 1958 the museum salvaged a 10-acre site and its original buildings to create the outdoor living history museum called “Strawbery Banke.”
Strawbery Banke, the museum, is dedicated to the study of the lives of the people who left their mark on Portsmouth's history. A few are well known: Washington and Lafayette, Daniel Webster and John Paul Jones, Paul Revere, and Admiral George Dewey. Most were more typical figures, merchants and seamen, fathers and mothers, native-born and immigrants. Their houses are interpreted, as authentically as possible, using items from the museum collections, to the eras that help tell their stories.
These are the houses and stories (date indicates interpretation) open for discovery:
- Thomas Bailey Aldrich Memorial (1908)
- Chase House
- Cotton Tenant (Traditional Crafts & Horticulture Centers)
- Dinsmore Shop (coopering demonstration)
- Goodwin Mansion (1872)
- Jackson House (house design and construction over time)
- Lowd House (Portsmouth wood-working exhibit)
- Marden-Abbott Store and House (1943)
- Pitt Tavern (1775)
- Rider-Wood House (1830)
- Shapiro House (1919)
- Shapley-Drisco-Pridham House (1795 & 1955)
- Sherburne House (1695)
- Captain Walsh House (1802)
- Wheelwright House
- Winn-Yeaton ("To Build A House" exhibit in the Winn House& "Port of Portsmouth" exhibit in the Montrone Family Gallery in the Yeaton House)
The following buildings are Education Centers:
The following buildings, part of the Heritage House Program, are part of the campus but not open to the public:
These buildings are enjoying use by Strawbery Banke tenants: