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Busy July for Merrimack Valley Region on NH Heritage Museum Trail

In July, the NH Heritage Museum Trail will feature numerous family-friendly events in its Merrimack Valley branch.

On Saturday, July 20, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester will hold Twilight at the Currier 3rd annual summer block party. The entire museum will be open at no charge.

The free, family-friendly event, open to all ages, will include both indoor and outdoor activities related to the exhibition, Medieval to Metal: The Art and Evolution of the Guitar. There will be a community art project based on guitars, face-painting, an LED hoop performer, many food trucks, and a beer and wine tent.

Music will be provided by Way Up South, whose sound weaves together southern, blues, country, jazz, and Americana rock.

“Block parties are a great excuse for neighbors to get together and have some fun,” said Alan Chong, director, Currier Museum of Art. “We invite all of our neighbors – from across the whole state – to stop by to see our art and our exhibitions, listen to some great music, and get their families involved in some creative activities.”

On Tuesday, July 23, Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury will kick off its Arts Week, which will conclude on Saturday, August 3.

During the two-week-long event, visitors may experience everything from art workshops to dance, music performances, and more.

“Creativity thrives here,” said Canterbury Shaker Village Interim Executive Director Maggie Stier. “Innovation was so important to the Shakers, and the setting seems to encourage that today, too – whether it’s observing, interacting, or making something yourself.”

For more information on the many activities offered during Arts Week visit shakers.org.

On Saturday, July 27 in Manchester, Millyard Museum will offer an educational tour of Manchester Hebrew Cemetery.

Through an in-depth tour presented by local historians Richard Duckoff and Matt Labbe, visitors will learn about Jewish history and Manchester heritage.

In speaking on these and various other events in the Merrimack Valley portion of The Trail in July, President Jeff Barraclough said they combine the “perfect amount of education and fun.”

“Visitors will gain historical knowledge without even feeling like they are learning,” he said. “These experiences are fun and educational for the whole family.”

“Lakes Region Branch of NH Heritage Museum Trail gearing up for busy July

In Wolfeboro in the Lakes Region branch of the NH Heritage Museum Trail, July will feature many fun opportunities for all ages.

At New Hampshire Boat Museum (NHBM), Executive Director Martha Cummings said the New England Vintage Boat and Car Auction on Saturday, July 13 is one of their biggest events.

“It’s a lot of fun to be able to see boats, cars, kayaks and unique collectibles you won’t find anywhere else,” she said. “It’s a great day for everyone.”

On Sunday, July 14 at Family Day, Wright Museum will feature WWII re-enactors, children story-telling, rides in military vehicles, face-painting and more.

“This is a fun day that gets the entire town involved,” said museum Executive Director Mike Culver. “There is so much to see and do at The Wright and throughout town this special day.

At The Libby Museum of Natural History on Saturday, July 27, visitors (teens and adults) can enjoy a unique combination of art and nature at Wildlife Sketching Class, taught by artist Stephanie Ayers.

“This class is a fun community event where you can learn to draw real animals like a polar bear, moose, or fisher cat from the taxidermy collection housed at the museum,” said Executive Director Alana Albee. “Right now, we have a 14-year old and an 84 year-old signed up. This is a nice way to get the whole family together to try something different.”

According to Trail President Jeff Barraclough, the entire Trail is “full of fun, family friendly activities.”

“My hope is that people look to us for not just history, but a fun time for the whole family this summer,” he said. “Celebrating our ‘heritage’ can be fun.”

More than meets the eye on NH Heritage Museum Trail

Though their respective subject matter is separated by nearly 175 years, a common conceptual thread connects the American Independence Museum and Wright Museum of WWII on the NH Heritage Museum Trail.

“We both use a war to illustrate complex ideas,” said Wright Museum Executive Director Mike Culver.

In the case of Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, Culver said these ideas often touch on the home front during WWII, which he said is not often covered at traditional “war museums.”

“We show what was happening in American culture at the time and how who we were at that time helps shed light on who we are today,” he added.

At the American Independence Museum in Exeter, which features an original copy of the Declaration of Independence and two working drafts of the US Constitution, Executive Director Emma Bray said the Revolutionary War illustrates civic engagement.

“Civic Engagement is our theme for this year, and one we feel should be part of our programs and many of our exhibits moving forward,” she said. “Why does civic engagement matter? Our current political climate can certainly testify to its importance today, and that can be traced back to our nation’s founding.”

For Jeff Barraclough, President of the NH Heritage Museum Trail and Director of Operations at the Millyard Museum in Manchester, history matters more than many people think.

“We are not talking about facts and dates,” he said. “We are revealing aspects of New Hampshire and American culture in unique and fun ways,” he said. “Many of us offer all kinds of hands-on opportunities and programs for kids and people of all ages. Museums on The Trail are all defined by their focus on what is happening outside their walls.”

Noting Wright Museum is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2019, Culver said while The Trail attracts roughly 250,000 visitors annually, there is one caveat.

“There are people right in our towns who still do not know about us,” he said. “Where else can you cover more than 350 years of history in one experience than on The Trail?”

Comprised of 17 museums, the NH Heritage Museum Trail is divided into the Seacoast, Merrimack Valley and Lakes Region with stops in Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Tamworth, and Wolfeboro.

Busy June for Lakes Region on NH Heritage Museum Trail

Featuring seven cultural institutions, the Lakes Region branch of the NH Heritage Museum Trail is gearing for a busy 2019 season with a full calendar of events in June.

One highlight is Spring On The Farm on Saturday, June 8, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm in Tamworth. At this event on the museum’s historic grounds, attendees can experience up-close meet and greets with goat-kids, lambs, sheep, piglets and a calf. Other farmyard activities include Farm Olympics, making hand-churned butter, an herbal remedies Boo-Boo Station, crafts, face painting and more.

“We call this our cutest event of the year,” said Dawne Gilpatrick, marketing coordinator at the museum. “With adorable baby animals and our beautiful fresh-air setting, it’s a pretty special way to celebrate spring.”

On Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m.– 4 p.m., Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm will host its annual New Hampshire Appreciation Day.

“We are so thankful for the support shown to the museum by the people of New Hampshire,” added Gilpatrick. “Offering free admission to year-round residents is one way we can show our gratitude. We look forward to a fantastic turnout that day.”

In nearby Wolfeboro, Wright Museum will host Comedy Night with Tom Hayes as headliner. Performing everywhere from comedy clubs to corporations, clinics and classrooms, Hayes is a nationally recognized comedian, magician, impostor, writer, entrepreneur, and motivational and keynote speaker.

“We are thrilled to have Tom here,” said Wright Museum Executive Director Mike Culver. “it should be a lot of fun.”

On Saturday, June 29, the New Hampshire Boat Museum opens for its season, an occasion punctuated by big news.

“We are in the midst of an ambitious Capital Campaign and hope to break ground on a new facility in downtown Wolfeboro in the near future,” said Executive Director Martha Cummings. “Our current facility will have a new roof put on by then and we plan expanded programs throughout the summer. We are excited for a big year.”

Other highlights in June include kids programs and art exhibits at The Libby in Wolfeboro, music nights and open air landscape art at Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough, and more.

“There is so much to see, do and experience on The Trail in June,” said Cummings. “You won’t go home disappointed.”

Upcoming events in Merrimack Valley Region on NH Heritage Museum Trail

Located in Merrimack Valley on the NH Heritage Museum Trail, New Hampshire Historical Society and Canterbury Shaker Village feature events in April and May expected to attract many visitors.

New Hampshire Historical Society
At the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord, visitors can take Guided Gallery Tours led by a staff member or volunteer docent. These tours are available on Friday, April 19 and May 17, and Saturday, April 13 and May 11.

Guided gallery tours are 45 minutes long and are appropriate for visitors of all ages.

One highlight at the Society this year includes Discovering New Hampshire, a long-term exhibition in the main gallery organized around five key themes to illustrate how material items link us with our past.

In Signs of the Times, a new exhibit that runs through October 19, visitors will see an array of advertising, political, informational and directional signs. These signs range from a toll sign for the Cornish Bridge, dated 1796, to a 1920s advertising sign for the “honest” brand of underwear and hosiery manufactured by the Contoocook Mills Corporation in Hillsborough.

To learn more, including times for Guided Gallery Tours, visit nhhistory.org.

Canterbury Shaker Village
At Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury, Heifer Parade and Opening Day will be held on Saturday, May 4 from 10:00-4:00pm.

Beginning at 11:00 am, parade activities include maypole dancing, outdoor barn dancing, and make-your-own head wreaths and May cards.In honor of their 50th anniversary as an incorporated museum, a maple sapling will be planted in Meeting House Lane at 1:30pm.

Self-guided exhibits will open, while guided tours will be available for $10 per person at 11:00am and 2:00pm.

On Saturday, May 11, Canterbury Shaker Village will host the 12th Annual XC 5k in which participants may choose to run or walk the course on the its nearly 700 acres of fields, woods, pastures, and millponds.

Prizes and complimentary refreshments will be provided at the completion of the race. This is the fourth race in the Northeast Delta Dental Capital Area Race Series (CARS).

To learn more about either event, visit shakers.org.

About the NH Heritage Museum Trail
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.

Unique, rare, fun and more in Lakes Region portion of NH Heritage Museum Trail

With 250,000+ visitors annually, the NH Heritage Museum Trail is an important draw for tourists with many members institutions looking ahead to a busy 2019.

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.

As for what drives people to The Trail, Alana Albee, director of The Libby Museum in Wolfeboro, cited the variety of programs, events and artifacts offered by each member.

“At The Libby, for example, you can get up close to a full-size moose, a 16-foot alligator, and huge loons and eagles,” she said. “If you’re interested in native American artifacts or love local artist’s work, we have these, too. For kids, we have scavenger hunts to keep them busy and motivated with free prizes, and they can discover trees and plants on our nature trail.”

At nearby Wright Museum, Executive Director Mike Culver said 2019 will be a particularly special year.

“First, it is our 25th anniversary, so that it special, but we are also hosting for the first time a Smithsonian Institute exhibition,” he said. “We are so proud to partner with the Smithsonian because it illustrates that although  we  are tucked away in the small town of Wolfeboro, what we present and how it is presented is worthy of national attention.”

Referring to Wolfeboro as “a hidden gem,” Martha Cummings, executive director of the NH Boat Museum said she looks forward to a year of expanded programming.

“We don’t just talk about the lakes or boating, we bring people into the water to experience it for themselves,” she said. “We provide numerous hands-on activities for people of all ages.”

In nearby Tamworth Village, visitors can visit Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm, the only country doctor museum in New England and one of only four in the United States.

“On this historical site, visitors can learn about the significant contributions once made by country doctors and early medical practices,” said the museum’s Dawne Gilpatrick. “It’s still a working farm today with numerous barns and buildings as well as a variety of gardens open to the public. Visitors are also welcome to interact with resident livestock.”

For Cummings, the Lakes Region branch of The Trail is unique because it combines history and culture with natural beauty.

“You can spend a day on The Trail and shop and eat at some pretty amazing places–you can easily make a weekend out of it,” she said. “We also have some amazing breweries in Wolfeboro starting to make a name for themselves here. There is plenty to do.”

While some museums are year-round, most seasonal institutions on The Trail open in May with some in June.

Albacore Park welcomes new executive director

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.

NH Heritage Museum Trail looks ahead to 2019

With 2018 in the proverbial rear-view mirror, Jeff Barraclough, new president of the NH Heritage Museum Trail, said all member institutions are looking forward to a busy 2019 season.

“We collectively saw probably more than a quarter million visitors in 2018,” he said. “I think we all expect to exceed that number this year.”

In trying to predict 2019, Barraclough said that may be difficult given that this will be the first year The Trail operates as three distinct, but connected regions.

“We divided the Trail into the Seacoast, Merrimack Valley and Lakes regions to encourage tourists and potential visitors to visit all museums within a certain part of the state,” he said. “It makes it more manageable for them.”

The different regions have also created synergies between member museums.

“For example, the NH Boat Museum, Libby Museum, and Wright Museum developed a Loop Tour on Fridays in the summer with boat and trolley tours,” he said. “We want to work together to provide visitors with great experiences that bring to them to multiple museums.”

In 2019, The Trail will also partner with Granite State Ambassadors, a group of volunteers who work at rest stops and other travel areas to help guide tourists to points and places of interest.

“We are offering their volunteers free admission to all of the museums in order to help them learn about all the features The Trail has to offer,” he said.

For Barraclough, who is also Director of Operations at the Millyard Museum in Manchester, the most important thing for The Trail in 2019 is to continue to promote member institutions.

“Art, culture, history, family-friendly events and more, we have it all on The Trail,” he said. “We want everyone to come and see one of the most unique cultural assets offered in New Hampshire.”

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.

“NH Heritage Museum Trail to welcome new president in 2019”

Formed in 2014 as a way to share resources and better promote their respective collections, programs and events, the NH Heritage Museum Trail will welcome Jeff Barraclough as president in 2019.

Director of Operations at the Millyard Museum in Manchester, one of the founding institutions of The Trail, Barraclough said he anticipates a strong 2019, highlighted by a collaborative program with Granite State Ambassadors. He said the partnership will foster deeper relationships between the Ambassadors and participating museums “to provide stronger word-of-mouth marketing exposure.”

“We will also continue growing other initiatives to make The Trail and museums on it more visible,” he said.

He described New Hampshire as fortunate with “so many world-class museums within a short distance of one another.”

“Our goal is to make more people aware of these important cultural resources and encourage residents and tourists alike to visit these museums and see all they offer,” he added.

Outgoing President, Mike Culver, who spearheaded The Trails’s formation as executive director of the Wright Museum of WWII in Wolfeboro, said he is excited at the progress that has been made.

“We have been very successful in promoting our museums, so successful that the NH Travel and Tourism Department places our Trail brochure in every national and international tourism package they send out,” he said.

He cited other accomplishments, including a collaborative web site that links site visitors to every individual museum’s web site and an “aggressive press release program.”

“We have worked hard to keep all of our members in the public eye, encouraging visitation and making people aware of the diverse exhibits, programs and events that are available,” he said. “Over the years, every Trail member has seen a rise in visitor attendance.”

Expressing appreciation at Culver’s commitment, Barraclough said he looks forward to continuing his work.

“The museums on The Trail will continue to work together and help promote each other and The Trail as a whole,” he said.

In commenting on his tenure as president, Culver said he may be most proud of the relationships that have formed as a result of The Trail’s formation.

“There is a very high degree of professionalism in every staff of member institutions–and I think the public is aware of that and the educational and cultural importance that characterizes all our museums,” he said. “I am so proud of the museum professionals that I have come to know and respect.”

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.

The Woodman Offers Unique Glimpse into NH History

Out of more than 15 museums on the New Hampshire Heritage Museum Trail, one of the most unique is The Woodman Museum in Dover, located in the Seacoast region of the state.

Founded in 1916 from a trust established by Annie E. Woodman, The Woodman features four historic houses, each one revealing a different aspect of history in the Granite State:

1.The Woodman House (1818) holds a military history gallery highlighting the Civil War through Vietnam and a collection of rocks, minerals, fossils, and taxidermy specimens (animals, aquatic life, birds, and butterflies).
2.The Damm Garrison House (1675), the oldest house in Dover, contains 800 artifacts from the colonial era.
3.The John Parker Hale House (1813), aside from telling the story of one of America’s foremost Abolitionists and ally of Abraham Lincoln (and whose daughter, Lucy was engaged to John Wilkes Booth), informs visitors of the socioeconomic history of Dover. It also provides primary examples of Portsmouth furniture and related art and artifacts.
4.The Keefe House (1825) contains a library where the museum stores its collection of the city records of Dover and Thom Hindle Art Gallery.

According to Mike Day of The Woodman, recent changes to The Woodman House itself are also of importance.

“We have recently finished phase 1 of the Woodman’s Accessibility Project, which saw new ramps and walkways,” he said. “These were designed to compliment the historic nature of the buildings on campus and installed in order to increase physical access to people of all abilities…Looking ahead,.the museum will seek funding for digital access to the upper floors.”

The Woodman’s programs reflect are equally accessible and of interest to all ages with one example its “Lives & Legends: Voices From the Museum.” At this event on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21, visitors meet famous and infamous Dover citizens and historical characters in a 90-minute guided walk through 19 scenes spread throughout the museum’s campus.

In most scenes, denizens have come back from the dead to narrate their stories. In two scenes, however, these renowned Dover citizens are still alive with remarkable tales to tell.

To learn more about The Woodman, or any upcoming event there, visit woodmanmuseum.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.

NH Heritage Museum Trail retools for 2018 and beyond

Formed in 2014 as a way to share resources and better promote their respective collections, programs and events, the NH Heritage Museum Trail recently re-branded itself and its mission.

“We took a hard look at our objectives and capacity,” noted Mike Culver of the Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, who expressed excitement at “a new future for The Trail.”

This new future, according to Jeff Barraclough of the Millyard Museum in Manchester, entails splitting The Trail into 3 branches: Seacoast, Merrimack Valley and Lake Region.

“It breaks The Trail into regions that correspond with how the state promotes New Hampshire, too, so we felt it was important to use that concept to drive how we market ourselves,” he said. “People cannot realistically visit all our museums in one trip, but they could visit one of our regions.”

In addition to breaking The Trail into three distinct, but connected, branches, a new mission and vision was formed to better reflect how individual museum members view one another as part of the group.

The new mission statement is “NH Heritage Museum Trail: Connecting the public with culturally rich heritage institutions in New Hampshire.”

The new vision statement is “Our member museums will be recognized as significant leading cultural institutions which preserve and promote an understanding and appreciation of our
national and state heritage.”

Both Culver and Barraclough expressed excitement at the evolution of the NH Heritage Museum Trail.

“Our museums capture the spirit and history of the state from across more than 3 centuries,” said Culver.

“Barraclough agreed and added, “We look forward to reintroducing ourselves to the public in 2018. New Hampshire has such a rich and underappreciated history, and our member museums are perfectly positioned to shed light on different aspects of it for people of all ages.”

In total, 17 museums make up the NH Heritage Museum Trail. Stops on The Trail include Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Plymouth, Tamworth and Wolfeboro.