Chartered as a nonprofit entity in 1985 as Portsmouth Submarine Memorial Association, Albacore Park Submarine and Museum—as it is better known—recently welcomed Patricia Violette as executive director.
With more than twenty years experience in nonprofit management and museum leadership, including stints at Shirley-Eustis Historic House in Boston and Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner, NH among others, Violette expressed enthusiasm at her latest position.
“I’ve always had a military kinship with the Navy, as my father served his 20 years during WWII and beyond,” she said. “I’ve had experience with historic houses and culturally centric museums and began to search out a more unique experience, and here I am at a submarine museum.”
In looking ahead to the museum’s future, she said she cannot help but look back at the unique story behind the USS Albacore Submarine (AGSS 569). An experimental research vessel launched in 1953 during the Cold War era, the USS Albacore was intended to use size, shape and battery power to increase functional speeds while submerged.
“No weaponry of any kind was ever furnished on-board,” she explained. “Most of our visitors are stunned to learn that the Albacore never held torpedoes.”
Expressing the hope that the museum exceeds last year’s visitation numbers—42,000, which she described as “amazing”—Violette said she is also excited to be part of the NH Heritage Museum Trail.
“We cannot do this all by ourselves,” she said. “Being part of a larger network to discuss ideas for event planning and collaborations as well as kicking around fundamental policy issues that face nonprofit sites is vital to the survival of our organizations.”
Comprised of 17 museums, the NH Heritage Museum Trail is divided into the Seacoast, Merrimack Valley and Lakes Regions with stops in Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Tamworth, and Wolfeboro.
According to Violette, there is tremendous potential in The Trail.
“I am very interested in the creation of a Heritage Museum Site Muster where we would all gather for an all day retreat,” she said. “We could discuss various strategies for increasing visitation, PR, social media, programming, collaboration and statewide opportunities for a possible passbook program that could run all summer.”
Albacore Park opens for the 2019 season on March 3. To learn more, visit ussalbacore.org.
In the Merrimack Valley portion of the NH Heritage Museum Trail, the Millyard Museum recently unveiled a new exhibit, “Manchester and the Great War,” which is open through the end of the year.
The exhibit’s run coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the Great War on Nov. 11, 1918. According to John Clayton, executive director of the Manchester Historic Association, which operates the museum, items in the exhibit will include everything from weapons, uniforms and flags to photographs and other ephemera.
“The exhibit explores the impact of World War I on the city of Manchester and the many men from the community who took part in the conflict,” he said.
(The caisson bearing the flag-draped casket of Lt. William H. Jutras was the focal point of the somber funeral ceremony that was held at St. Raphael’s Parish in Manchester in 1921. Manchester Historic Association Photo.)
Lead curator for the exhibit is Manchester Historic Association (MHA) Research Manager Daniel Peters, an Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient who was wounded in combat in Afghanistan.
“The first World War is really a forgotten topic in our society,” said Peters. “More information is available about World War II mostly due to the large number of veterans who are still around. World War I participants are gone now, and history dies quickly if there isn’t a direct link to the days of the past.”
Each Saturday during the month of November, the Millyard Museum will host screenings of World War I films such as “Sergeant York,” Paths of Glory” and “All Quiet on the Western Front” to provide additional context on the Great War.
According to Mike Culver, president of The Trail and executive director of the Wright Museum of WW II, exhibits like“Manchester and the Great War” serve a deep purpose.
“The Millyard Museum, like all the museums on The Trail, helps provide a deeper context into various events throughout history,” he said. “There is also more to history than initially meets the eye, which makes The Trail such a fascinating resource for the state.”
The 15,000 square foot Millyard Museum features the permanent exhibit, Woven in Time: 11,000 Years at Amoskeag Falls, that tells the story of Manchester and the people who have lived and worked here.
For more information on “Manchester and the Great War,”visit www.manchesterhistoric.org.
In total, 17 museums make up the NH Heritage Museum Trail, which is broken down into three branches: Seacoast, Merrimack Valley and Lake Region. Stops on The Trail include Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Tamworth, and Wolfeboro.
For those looking to explore the Merrimack Valley Region of The New Hampshire Heritage Museum Trail, the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester is currently installing an innovative new exhibit that opens on September 15.
Hauling is an installation by Ethan Murrow, a well known artist whose work may be found in many public, private and corporate collections throughout the world. It was influenced by the labor and industry of the Manchester region and created with the help of other artists, craftspeople, and historians from the area. Its most salient feature is a 100-foot long panoramic wall drawing and a 52-foot long drawing of rope imagery animated by a kinetic sculpture.
“The kinetic sculpture slowly rotating the 52-foot looped drawing is loosely based on looms and the newspaper printing press,” said Sam Cataldo, assistant curator at The Currier. “It also shares the basic mechanism of the machinery that powered the Amoskeag mills using the water of the Merrimack River.”
According to Cataldo, Murrow has drawn inspiration from Manchester’s complex history that includes colonial intervention, a home of native communities, rapid industrialization, post-industrial decline, and high-tech reinvention.
“He sees Manchester as an icon of the rise, fall, and reinvention of industrialization throughout the region’s history,” she said.
Regarding the exhibit’s collaborative nature, Cataldo said it reflects Murrow’s interpretation of the labor process behind building Manchester itself.
“Murrow recognized correlations with his own artistic practice of creating epic constructions requiring highly skilled craft and immense collaborative labor,” she said.
Currently, the exhibit installation process itself is open to the public with the exception of Saturdays. In addition, there will be a night event from 6 to 9 p.m. on September 6 during which visitors can the view the process and interact with Murrow.
To learn more about Hauling, which opens on September 15, visit www.currier.org.
The Currier is one of 17 museums on the NH Heritage Museum Trail with stops in Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Tamworth and Wolfeboro.
In June and July, local photographer Amy Piper is on show at The Libby, located in the Lakes Region portion of the NH Heritage Museum Trail in Wolfeboro. Her textures and landscapes are stunning, and many images are for sale.
Now open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 to 4pm and Sundays from 12 to 4 pm, The Libby is free to children and veterans and $5/adult. There are few places more beautiful than The Libby and few photographers more gifted than Piper.
Her passion for photography runs the gamut from nature and landscape to texture, abstract, and detail. Her mother used to tell her she saw the world through “rose colored glasses.” She prefers to think with her eye for detail, as she sees the potential beauty in everything and tries to bring beauty to life through her camera lens for others to enjoy and appreciate.
Piper is owner and creative designer of Signature Events, a local wedding and event planning company now celebrating its 19th year. Locally, she belongs to the Lakes Region Photography Club where she has been a member for several years.
She was given her first camera when she turned 16. Growing up in Connecticut, she was inspired by her parents who were both talented artists and photographers. She remembers her mom developing her own pictures in “the family bathroom turned dark room” where one had to knock on the door before entering.
The Libby is one of 17 museums on the NH Heritage Museum Trail with stops in Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Tamworth and Wolfeboro. To learn more about The Trail and its member museums, visit www.nhmuseumtrail.org.
To learn more about The Libby, or Piper, visit www.thelibbymuseum.org or www.amypiperphotography.com.