Strawbery Banke Museum-16I love historic homes and exploring historic places. I find learning about the past, observing the differences in architecture and lifestyle very fascinating. In New England we are lucky to have a few living history museums where visitors can get a full idea of the history of the area and how residents lived in the colonial era. One of the most interesting of those is the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH.

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Strawbery Banke Museum-33Strawbery Banke Museum-7Strawbery Banke Museum-8One of the features I found most interesting was the rustic wooden furniture near the gazebo and the greenhouse. The child sized table and chairs reminded me of the playhouse I used to have as a child. Seeing these beautiful pieces really accentuated how great this place is for a family outing, the children can enjoy the history as well as indulge their imagination, maybe go ice skating in the rink that is open during the winter months, frolic and play in the gardens, and then visit the different houses and interact with the “residents”. It is easier to get children to engage with history in a place like Strawbery Banke, where the staff is dressed in costume and will answer all questions in character. Unfortunately the museum was closed when I visited, but the grounds are open to the public and they encourage you to explore it and take in the architecture and scenery.

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Strawbery Banke is also where you will find a lot of the properties listed in the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail. Meant to educate visitors about the rich history of African Americans in the area, the trail features several properties throughout Portsmouth, most containing display plaques like this is one above, which tell you a little about the property’s history and significance in African American history or culture. Visitors can take a self-guided tour and view the properties even in the off-season. Even without going inside I find just viewing the architecture, reading and thinking about the story behind the properties  and the people who inhabited them, is  worthwhile.

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If you find yourself in Portsmouth like I did, no matter what the time of year, Strawbery Banke Museum is worth a visit. How long you stay will depend on whether it is open or not, but there is plenty to see and learn about the history of this area.  If you are looking for some nice views, check out my photos New Castle Island, only a couple of minutes away from Strawbery Banke. If you are searching for other historical “living” museums in New England, I also recommend Historic Deerfield in Western Massachusetts.

Have you visited Strawbery Banke or any other “living history” museum? What did you think?

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Written by Karina -mylettersoftransit.com

18 Comments

Rebecca

I’m a sucker for history and loved this and how you captured everything in your photography. Beautiful! New Hampshire is on my places to visit now!

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top5life

The photos are so beautiful. The place is historic indeed. I love these historic places.

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dcvaughan

Your photos are BEAUTIFUL! I am 100% with you on historic architecture and places. My fiance always makes fun of me for taking pictures of peeling paint, different wood textures, bark on trees, etc. Haha! Those details are always so beautiful though!! I am always at the ready to scamper away if bugs appear though :)

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Karina -mylettersoftransit.com

I’ve had a few close encounters with everything from bugs to bums exploring old abandoned buildings and remote spots in search of those very details. My boyfriend makes fun of me for it sometimes too until he sees the photos of our trips and realizes how much he missed out on by only looking at the main spots, the perfect views.

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BarelyVegan

This place sounds interesting! I agree that children will pay more attention at places where employees dress up and are in character. I loved those cute little children’s chairs too. Great photos. :)

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Karina -mylettersoftransit.com

Totally! I remember a trip to Plimouth Plantation, a similar museum focusing on the pilgrims, was one of the reasons I fell in love with history. It was the most amazing thing as a child to be able to ask questions of people who give you accurate answers in the first person. My entire class was engaged and talked about that field trip for weeks after.

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Lana B.

This looks like a good museum for the whole family. Having the staff in costume is a big plus.

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Juleskalpauli (@juleskalpauli)

The first image had me thinking Black Heritage. and I wasnt wrong…What an amazing journey you have taken me on…I love the images in fact I Have added Strawberry Banke museum on my wee list of places to visit round one of our US trips. Thanks for sharing]

Julie Syl Kalungi

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Karina -mylettersoftransit.com

It is great for children. The post really doesn’t do it justice because it was closed during this visit, but I’ve been there before and the interactive exhibits and the really knowledgeable actors really make it worth the trip.

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Kelly

I love history! These photos were gorgeous and I loved the white house. It reminds of a home you would see here in Charleston :)

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