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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.