ABOUT STRAWBERY BANKE MUSEUM
Strawbery Banke Museum, in the heart of historic downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is a 10-acre outdoor history museum dedicated to bringing 300+ years of American history to life. The museum is a place for children, adults, multi-generational families and groups to gather to explore heritage gardens, historic buildings, crafts, preservation programs, hands-on activities, stories told by costumed role-players, and the changing exhibits that offer hours of fun and discovery. The museum’s restored buildings and open space invite visitors to immerse themselves in the past. The museum welcomes 110,000 visitors, members, schoolchildren and volunteers who love New Hampshire history for daily programs, exhibits, skating and signature special events throughout the year.
A BRIEF HISTORY
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 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.
To promote understanding of the lives of individuals and the value of community through encounters with the history and ongoing preservation of a New England waterfront neighborhood.
Toward that goal, Strawbery Banke Museum:
- Preserves for today's visitors and for future generations, historic buildings, cultural landscapes, objects, and other materials pertinent to its mission.
- Conducts research aimed at placing local developments within the broader context of city, state, and national history.
- Disseminates the results of that research to the public through exhibitions, publications, demonstrations, tours, symposia, workshops, and other educational activities and programs.
We bring history and people together for delight, discovery, and learning.
In doing so, Strawbery Banke Museum will:
- Stand for excellence and entrepreneurship in every aspect of the operation - programs, collections, preservation, and management;
- Champion the primacy of the visitor experience and use innovative and traditional methods to provide life-changing and inspirational learning experiences based on authentic objects, stories and ideas;
- Inspire the Seacoast community with awareness of our collective past, and work together to preserve our cultural and built heritage;
- Serve as a destination where engaging activities connect visitors to our common local, regional and national past; and
- provide life-long learning experiences incorporating the needs of learners and the community.
Yankee Magazine Editors’ Choice: Best of New England Classics
“Best Historic Village”
Trip Advisor 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 Certificate of Excellence
#1 TripAdvisor “Thing To Do in Portsmouth”
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