If you stumble into the Portsmouth neighborhood of Puddle Dock and ask someone where to charge your hybrid automobile, don’t be surprised if you get a surprised look and questions such as, “What is a car?” or “What do you mean by electricity?” If that were to happen, you would probably have located the Strawbery Banke Museum, where history is on display every day as if you have time traveled — and it speaks to you.
History of the Name
“Strawbery” is spelled with one “r” and “Banke” with an “e,” reflecting the original spelling and the character of the time. History has it that strawberries grew wild on the bank of the Piscataqua River, which forms the border between New Hampshire and Maine.
At the Strawbery Banke Museum, you might encounter a representative of the year 1777 at the William Pitt Tavern, or the wife of the former governor at the 1870 Goodwin Mansion, members of a Russian-Jewish immigrant family from 1919, or a storekeeper from 1943. The museum actually covers a range of history from 1695 to 1954. Any of those people would speak to you as if they were living in the time period in which they are role-playing.
The museum also has interpreters and craftspeople who can tell you about the time represented in a particular part of the museum or demonstrate how a craftsman would make everyday items from the period. Some of the demonstrations are even hands-on, allowing visitors to get a real feel for the time and what it was like to live during specific periods of time.
The Strawbery Banke Museum is located on roughly 10 acres, which includes historic buildings, gardens, and shops. In addition, there are over one million artifacts and other items in the museum collection, ranging from colonial times through World War II. The museum recommends that to make it worth the price of admission, visitors plan to spend an hour and a half to two hours in order to see its exhibits and natural scenery. Every ticket can be used for two days in a row, so you’ll have plenty of time to see it all!
The term “decorative arts” refers to the way the historic homes are furnished, including the arrangement of items, the way curtains were hung, and so on, based on the study of paintings of rooms. The museum seeks to accurately reproduce what existed 100 to 200 years ago or more. Visitors can see the historic houses between May and October. An ice-skating rink is also operated from December to March.
Learning in the Present
The Strawbery Banke Museum seeks to educate today’s virtual visitors as well. The museum operates what it calls its “Field School” online, offering its archeology field school, which does not require prior knowledge of archeology but says any knowledge of archeology, anthropology, or history is helpful.
Plan a Trip to the Museum!
Visit the Strawbery Banke Museum today! You can also follow them on Facebook to stay updated on their latest events and news!