New Hampshire - Cultural Destinations

The Currier Museum of Art (Manchester)
This Museum is an internationally renowned museum featuring European and American paintings, decorative arts, photographs and sculpture and includes works by Picasso, Monet, O'Keefe and Wyeth, with exhibitions, tours and performances year-round. The museum owns Frank Lloyd Wright's' Zimmerman House and offers tours (reservations required).

The museum is located at 201 Myrtle Way in Manchester and is wheelchair accessible. Museum hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. Free to all on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Museum of New Hampshire History (Concord)
Interactive exhibits tell the story of people and places of New Hampshire's past, from its earliest Native American inhabitants. Listen to a Native American storyteller, venture up a recreated fire tower, inspect one of the nation's best examples of the famous Concord coach. Admission. Museum store. Open year-round.

Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum (Warner)
Devoted exclusively to Native American artifacts and lifeways. "Museum with a Voice" trained tour guide leads visitors across America on a remarkable journey of culture and perseverance. Open daily May through October. Weekends only November through mid-December. Adults $8.50, children $6.50.

Canterbury Shaker Village
The Canterbury Shaker Village is a 400-acre village depicting the "simple gifts" of Shaker life in New Hampshire. Organic flower, herb and vegetable gardens are of special note, as is Canterbury Shaker Table Restaurant.

The Hood Museum at Dartmouth College (Hanover)
Recognized by the American Association of Museums as "a national model," the Hood Museum of Art is one of the oldest and largest college museums in the country, housing an outstanding collection of European, American, Middle Eastern, African and Asian works of art and artifacts and presenting a lively and diverse schedule of exhibitions and educational programs.

The Remick Museum and Farm (Tamworth)
This cultural destination sustains a rural lifestyle by showcasing its history. The Museum and its special events—open to the public at no charge—interpret 200 years of New Hampshire agricultural, domestic history and seasonal farming practices, from haying to ice harvesting.

The Lake Winnipesaukee Museum (Weirs section of Laconia)
The Lake Winnipesaukee Museum lets visitors explore the history and heritage of the Lake year-round. Created by the Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society, the property is itself an historic landmark, situated in a renovated 1930 building that once was the second cabin colony to be built in Laconia, the museum and the surrounding cabins represent an evolution in hospitality that changed the way Americans spent their summer vacations. View artifacts recovered from the bottom of the lake, such as the front davit from the old Mount Washington Steamer (which burned and sank to the bottom of the lake in 1939), summer boys' and girls' camp memorabilia, authentic local Native American arrowheads, steamboat era artifacts and historical maps. The "Tour the Lake" exhibit provides an historical photographic tour of the various ports-of-call. Open all year, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment. Admission is free.

Historic New England
Presented by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, Historic New England is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional preservation organization in the country. It offers a unique opportunity to experience the lives and stories of New Englanders through their homes and possessions. Historic New England operates four houses in Portsmouth and Exeter:

  • Jackson House, the oldest surviving wood frame house in New Hampshire, located at 76 Northwest Street, Portsmouth.
  • The Governor Langdon House at 143 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth, once home to John Langdon, a signer of the U.S. Constitution and three-term Governor of New Hampshire.
  • Rundlet-May House, a Federal-style mansion on Middle Street in Portsmouth, built by merchant James Rundlet in 1807 and filled with locally-crafted furniture and the latest technologies of the time.
  • Gilman Garrison at 12 Water Street, Exeter, a log fortress built in 1709 and later converted into a tavern, a fine Georgian-style dwelling, and finally a museum that explores the history and architecture of the building.

The John Paul Jones House Museum (Portsmouth)
This museum is operated by the Portsmouth Historical Society and celebrates two historical highlights in the history of Portsmouth. In 1776, John Paul Jones lodged in the house that is now the museum while waiting for Portsmouth shipbuilders to finish Ranger, the ship of the line he and a Portsmouth crew would sail against England. The house is also host to the Centennial exhibit about the Portsmouth Peace Treaty signed here in 1905 and the Nobel Peace Prize President Theodore Roosevelt received for conducting America's first significant act of international diplomacy. The museum is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults. Children 12 and under get in free.

Strawbery Banke Museum (Portsmouth)
Step into 400 years of living in our neighborhood. Strawbery Banke provides the opportunity to see how people lived for four centuries of New England history. Through restored furnished houses, exhibits, historic landscapes and gardens, and costumed role players, Strawbery Banke interprets the living history of generations who settled in Portsmouth from the late 17th century to the mid 20th century. Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth is open May 1 through October 31, Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.; and November 1 through April 30, Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 2 p.m. for guided 90-minute walking tours on the hour.

The American Independence Museum (Exeter)
The American Independence Museum celebrates the Revolutionary era in America. In December 1775, Paul Revere warned New Hampshire citizens that "the British were coming" to seize gunpowder stores at Fort William and Mary in New Castle. A group of seacoast residents liberated the powder from its 12 British guards without firing a shot. They then rowed the stores down Great Bay and the Squampscott River to store it in a brick powder house in Exeter, which has been preserved. The museum is open seasonally from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. An annual Revolutionary War festival is held in July a week after the Independence Day holiday, in commemoration of the date the Declaration finally reached Exeter from Philadelphia in 1776.

Children's Museum of Portsmouth (Portsmouth)
Explore, create and experience the wonders of science, art and world culture through 19 hands-on exhibits designed to inspire curious young minds. Exhibits include an interactive sound sculpture, walk-in kaleidoscope, dinosaur fossil dig and model lobster boat.

The Fort at No. 4 Living History Museum (Charlestown)
This museum offers a glimpse of what life was like when the Northern Valley was a frontier in the mid-1700s. Sited on the banks of the Connecticut River, the Fort recreates and interprets the first permanent Euro-American settlement in the upper Connecticut River Valley, in 1744. Originally a log enclosure surrounding a number of dwellings at Charlestown's present-day village center, the fort is now represented by a reconstructed log museum at the nearby site of a Contact Period Abenaki village. In addition to its exhibits, the Fort maintains a busy calendar of re-enactments and programs.

The Millyard Museum (Manchester)
The Millyard Museum showcases the time when this New Hampshire was the center of New England's mill industry. The surging Merrimack River once powered the Amokeag Mills that line its shore—its one million square feet of floor space once the largest textile mill in the world. A permanent exhibit in the Manchester Millyard Museum in Millyard No. 3—"Woven in Time: 11,000 Years at Amoskeag Falls"—traces the impact of the Merrimack and the Amokeag Indian tribe the mills honored in their name. A brightly lit cobblestone alley in the museum offers a 19th-century replica of Elm Street, complete with shops.

The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair (Sunapee)
New Hampshire also boasts the oldest juried craft fair in America. The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair takes place each summer in Sunapee. Celebrating its 75th year in 2007, the fair incorporates the work of its 300-plus juried members and a variety of media: wood, clay, metal, jewelry, weaving, glass, photography and applied art.

The MacDowell Colony (Peterborough)
The MacDowell Colony is an artists' colony in Peterborough, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2007. The MacDowell Colony has offered a creative, all-expenses-paid haven for writers, composers, painters and other artists ever since pianist Edward MacDowell established the place in Peterborough in 1907. Over the years, MacDowell's 250 residents have included composers Aaron Copeland and Leonard Bernstein, writers Willa Cather and Mary Higgins Clark and playwright Thornton Wilder, who wrote Our Town while at the Colony.

From the Stratham Fair, which is the first of the season offered in late July, to the late-season offering at the Sandwich Fair, a visit to one of New Hampshire's major country fairs is worth a special trip, or as an add-on to other travels in the state. Of special note is the Deerfield Fair, New England's oldest country fair, coming late enough in the season (late September into early October) that it's easily combined with a fall foliage tour of the state. Look for horse shows, a woodsmen contest, a midway and a "relaxation grove" on the fairgrounds.

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