Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth, NH


Located on Hancock Street is the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Strawbery Banke has a deep connection with Portsmouth's past regarding the people who lived and worked in the neighborhood for over four centuries. A number of restored houses, exhibits, landscape and gardens welcome visitors to this museum. The museum will tell the stories of generations who settled in the area between the 17th and 20th centuries.

Most importantly the area was rescued from the 1950's renewal policies that would have torn down such historical properties. Strawbery Banke is dependent on generous support from individuals and companies who feel history is worth protecting. The hours of operation are 10am to 5pm for tours of the museum and its buildings. Garden tours are also offered daily at 1pm. These hours are for summer from May 1st to October 31st only. There are holiday hours where the museum is open in December from 10am to 2pm on special days. They also have a Candlelight Stroll from 5pm to 9pm on Saturdays in December. A museum store is open the same time as the rest of the facilities. They also have an Ice Cream Shoppe in the summer which opens 12pm to 5pm.

Admission in to the museum is $15 for adults and $10 for children. Kids under 4 are free, and anyone over 17 is considered an adult. The general admission is good for two consecutive days in the event one is rained out or not all exhibits are seen in the one day.

Strawbery Banke is made up of buildings that visitors will tour. These exhibit buildings date from the 1630's to later centuries. The entire complex is an outdoor history museum with the houses fashioned in their period looks, with proper dycor and furniture. There are also artifacts in the homes that have to do with their owners and/ or fitting within the appropriate period.

There are demonstrations of life back in the past with costumed staff discussing the history and works. It is also possible to take part in some of the Hands on History. For example, the Cotton Tenant House is a restored 1834 home. It is actually partially restored, where one can see binders with wallpaper, paint analysis, and architectural drawings. Visitors are able to explain what they would do to if they were the curator. The Discovery Center is a place for children to learn traditional games, chores, crafts, and pastimes of the early residents.

The Victorian Children's Garden is unlike any other. It is a history garden with Victorian tea gardens, plants that supposedly tell time, and a butterfly and fairy garden. The Wheelwright House is a place to explore the tastes, sounds and touches of 1875. The home was Captain John Wheelwright's before he died at sea. Spices and teas are some of the aromatic scents you will be able to pick up. Visitors can also pick up or touch dinnerware and furniture that belonged to the home. Clothing and other artifacts complete the home exhibits.

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