Exploring America’s History at Strawberry Banke Museum

Welcome to Strawberry Banke Museum, a living history museum that takes you back in time to explore the rich, diverse history of America. This charming historic village, located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, features more than 40 restored buildings and gardens from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. You can explore the past by talking to costumed interpreters, participating in hands-on activities, and experiencing traditional crafts, music, and cuisine. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a student, or just looking for a fun family outing, Strawberry Banke Museum has something for everyone.

Exploring the History of the Strawberry Banke Museum

The Strawberry Banke Museum is a unique cultural destination in the charming city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Established in 1965 by a group of local residents, the museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and heritage of the city’s colonial past. Here, visitors can step back in time and experience what life was like in the early days of America.

The Museum’s Founding

The Strawberry Banke Museum was founded in the mid-1960s by a group of local residents who wanted to save the historic buildings in the downtown Strawberry Banke area from demolition. At that time, the neighborhood was in a state of decay, and many of the old buildings were being razed to make way for modern developments. The founders of the museum saw the value in preserving the unique character and architecture of this historic neighborhood.

Their efforts paid off, and the Strawberry Banke Museum has become a beloved cultural institution in the city of Portsmouth. Today, visitors can stroll through the charming streets and gardens of the museum and experience firsthand the beauty and history of this special place.

Growth and Expansion

Over the years, the museum has grown and expanded beyond its original purpose of preserving the colonial architecture of the Strawberry Banke neighborhood. Today, the museum boasts more than thirty restored buildings, including houses, shops, and gardens, that date back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The buildings are inhabited by costumed interpreters who bring the history of the city to life with stories, demonstrations, and hands-on activities for visitors of all ages.

The museum has also expanded its focus to include other aspects of early American history and culture. Visitors can explore exhibits on topics such as the African American experience, the role of women in colonial society, and the maritime history of Portsmouth.

Current Exhibits and Attractions

Today, the Strawberry Banke Museum offers visitors a wide range of exhibits and attractions that showcase the history and heritage of Portsmouth and early America. Some of the key exhibits and activities at the museum include:

  • Houses and Gardens: Visitors can tour more than thirty restored buildings, including homes, shops, and gardens, that date back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Costumed interpreters bring the buildings to life with demonstrations and stories.
  • The African Burying Ground: Located adjacent to the museum, the African Burying Ground is the site where African slaves and free blacks were buried in the 18th and 19th centuries. A powerful exhibit at the museum honors their memory and explores their contributions to early Portsmouth.
  • Museum Shop: The museum shop is a great place to find unique souvenirs and gifts, including books, jewelry, pottery, and more.
  • Guided Tours: Visitors can take guided tours of the museum to learn about the history and culture of early Portsmouth from knowledgeable guides.
  • Evening Programs: The museum offers a variety of evening programs throughout the year, including lectures, concerts, and special events.

With its rich history and engaging exhibits, the Strawberry Banke Museum is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the early history of America. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor from out of town, a trip to the museum is a journey back in time to the early days of Portsmouth and the unique culture and heritage that define this historic city.

What to Expect When Visiting the Strawberry Banke Museum

Are you planning to visit the Strawberry Banke Museum but don’t know what to expect? This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the necessary details to make your visit memorable and enjoyable.

Hours of Operation and Admission Prices

If you’re planning to visit the Strawberry Banke Museum, it is essential to know the operating hours and admission prices. The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, from May to October. It is essential to check the museum’s website for any changes in opening and closing due to special events or emergencies.

The admission prices for adults are $20, and for children between the ages of 5-17, it is $10. Children below 5 years can have free admission. Discounts are available for senior citizens, students, and active military personnel. Group tours of ten or more people receive discounts, and advanced booking is required.

Guided Tours and Special Events

At the Strawberry Banke Museum, you can experience a variety of spectacular tours. There are regularly scheduled daily tours that can help you to explore the museum’s history, architecture, and gardens. These tours are great for individuals or families who are visiting the museum for the first time.

The private group tours offered at the museum are ideal for social groups, schools, or businesses who wish to explore the museum with their own schedule and itinerary. The museum has expert tour guides who can take you through the history of the Strawberry Banke Museum and elaborate about the buildings and artifacts found in the museum.

Their seasonal-themed tours are also popular. During Halloween, they offer a special thematic tour called “Ghosts on the Banke,” where you’ll explore the museum houses at night, guided by the headless horseman. This tour is recommended for brave souls, 13 years and older.

The Strawberry Banke Museum hosts many special events throughout the year, including vintage car shows, candlelight strolls, and summer concerts. These events make the museum an active cultural center in Portsmouth, and visitors to the museum will get a chance to be a part of these special events and festivals.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Visit

To ensure you make the most out of your visit to the Strawberry Banke Museum, it is essential to plan ahead. Start by checking the museum’s website for hours of operation and admission prices, and also confirm that there are no special events or renovations scheduled, which may interfere with your visit. You might also want to consider booking your tickets online to avoid any delays at the gate.

Since you may spend many hours at the museum, be sure to dress comfortably, wear sunscreen, and bring along essentials such as bottled water and hats. Wear comfortable shoes since the majority of the museum grounds have gravel paths or brick sidewalks. The museum has a gift shop, so you may want to consider carrying some cash to purchase souvenirs or gifts.

In conclusion, the Strawberry Banke Museum is an incredible historical treasure in the vibrant City of Portsmouth. The above guide on what to expect when visiting the museum, including hours of operation, admission prices, guided tours, special events, and practical tips, will ensure that your visit to the museum is unforgettable.

The Educational Value of the Strawberry Banke Museum

If you’re looking for a museum that offers a unique educational experience, look no further than the Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This living history museum is dedicated to bringing early American history to life through its exhibits, events, and special programming. The museum’s educational value is felt by visitors of all ages, making it a popular destination for families, school groups, and history buffs alike.

Engaging Students of All Ages

One of the main draws of the Strawberry Banke Museum is how it engages students of all ages. Elementary school children will love exploring the Costumed Interpretation program, where actors in period dress bring history to life through storytelling and role-playing. Older students will appreciate the museum’s Hands-On History program, which allows them to engage with history through interactive exhibits and workshops.

Even adults and seniors can benefit from the museum’s educational offerings. The museum’s lecture series and historical tours provide a deep dive into specific aspects of early American history, while special events like the annual Vintage & Vine fundraiser offer a fun and unique way to support the museum’s mission.

Introducing Visitors to Early American History

At the Strawberry Banke Museum, visitors can step back in time and experience early American history in a tangible way. The museum’s exhibits, housed in historic buildings that have been restored to their original state, showcase life in Portsmouth from the 17th century to the early 20th century.

One of the highlights of the museum is the Shapiro House, which offers a glimpse into the life of a Jewish immigrant family who settled in Portsmouth in the early 20th century. Visitors can explore the family’s home and learn about their traditions and daily life.

The museum also features exhibits showcasing Portsmouth’s maritime history, as well as its role in the American Revolution. The Puddle Dock neighborhood, which has been restored to its 19th-century appearance, provides a fascinating glimpse into life in the city during that time period.

Supporting Local Schools and Community Programs

The Strawberry Banke Museum isn’t just a destination for tourists. It’s also a valued community resource, providing educational opportunities for local schools and community organizations. The museum’s education team works closely with teachers to develop programs that align with state and national standards, making it a popular choice for field trips.

The museum also offers a variety of resources for homeschooling families, including online lesson plans and activity guides. The museum’s partnership program provides opportunities for community organizations to collaborate on special programming and events.

By supporting local schools and community programs, the Strawberry Banke Museum is helping to ensure that the importance of early American history is understood and appreciated by future generations.

The educational value of the Strawberry Banke Museum is clear. Whether you’re a student, a history buff, or simply someone who appreciates a good story, this living history museum offers a unique and engaging way to learn about early American history.

The Future of the Strawberry Banke Museum

Continued Preservation of Portsmouth’s History

The Strawberry Banke Museum is committed to preserving the unique cultural history and architecture of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. As part of this ongoing effort, the museum has formed partnerships with local organizations to help preserve historic buildings and landmarks throughout the New England city.

Through these partnerships, the museum is able to identify important historic buildings and landmarks in the city that are in need of preservation. The museum then works with local organizations to obtain funding, coordinate work crews, and oversee restoration efforts. This ensures that important pieces of Portsmouth’s unique history and architecture are preserved for future generations.

One recent example of this community partnership involved the restoration of the historic Stoodley’s Tavern. Built in 1771 and located in the heart of Strawberry Banke, the tavern has long been an important landmark in the city. When it fell into disrepair, the museum worked with local businesses and residents to raise funds and coordinate restoration efforts. Today, visitors to Strawberry Banke can tour the restored inn and experience an important piece of Portsmouth’s history.

Growth and Expansion Plans

The Strawberry Banke Museum has ambitious plans for growth and expansion in the coming years. One major area of focus is the addition of new exhibits that explore different aspects of Portsmouth’s history and culture. These exhibits will include interactive displays, video installations, and other technological enhancements to the visitor experience.

The museum is also exploring opportunities to expand its programming to include new events, lectures, and educational workshops. These programs will allow visitors to engage with different aspects of Portsmouth’s culture and history in a more hands-on and interactive way.

Other planned expansions include the renovation of existing buildings in the museum’s collection to create more dynamic and interactive exhibits. These renovations will add new features and displays that showcase different aspects of Portsmouth’s cultural heritage.

Community Involvement and Partnership Opportunities

The Strawberry Banke Museum relies on the support and involvement of its community to preserve and showcase Portsmouth’s unique cultural heritage. There are many ways for individuals and businesses to become involved with the museum and support its ongoing efforts.

One way to get involved is through volunteering. The museum is always looking for community members to help with various tasks, such as gardening, giving tours, and assisting with events. Volunteers can gain valuable experience while supporting the museum’s mission to preserve local history and culture.

Another way to support the museum is through financial contributions. Donations and memberships help fund ongoing preservation efforts and new exhibit development. In addition, the museum offers sponsorship opportunities for local businesses that want to support Portsmouth’s cultural heritage while gaining exposure and recognition in the community.

The Strawberry Banke Museum is committed to preserving and showcasing the unique cultural history and architecture of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Its ongoing efforts to form partnerships with local organizations, develop new exhibits and programming, and engage the community in preserving local history are all important steps towards achieving this goal.

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