On Thursday, May 4, the Portsmouth Historical Society will celebrate its Centennial at a free celebration that kicks off an exciting 4 days of activity.

“We have so much going on here—it is so exciting to share what we have to offer to resident and tourist alike,” said Executive Director Kathleen Soldati.

On Friday, the Centennial Celebration will be followed up by opening of the exhibit, “200 Years of Portsmouth Athenaeum: Collect, Preserve, Share,” which runs until September 1. According to Soldati, the exhibit answers two fundamental questions: What is an athenaeum and why do we need one? Named for the goddess Athena, athenaeums were membership organizations that were very popular in the early 19th century.

“They served as libraries, periodical reading rooms, social clubs, cultural centers, museums and other uses,” said Soldati. “Today, the Portsmouth Athenaeum is the place to find information about Portsmouth’s past.”

After the launch of Portsmouth Historical Society’s popular Historic Walking Tours on Saturday May 6, the institution will then join in the celebration of Pro Portsmouth’s annual Children’s Day on Sunday, May 7 with family friendly activities. Sunday, May 7 also marks a lecture by members of the New Hampshire Furniture Masters at 2 pm as part of the exhibition, “Four Centuries of Furniture in Portsmouth.”

To learn more about these events and the Portsmouth Historical Society, visit www.portsmouthhistory.org.

In Exeter, the American Independence Museum will host its Opening Celebration on Saturday, May 6 from 10 am to 4 pm. At the event, admission will be free for all New Hampshire residents.

“We have new exhibits opening, hands-on activities for kids—and the Town of Exeter will be hosting Kid’s’ Day,” said Emma Bray, executive director.

According to Bray, the opening of their 2017 season helps to usher in a renewed emphasis on education at the museum, which is home to thousands of items from the 1700s. She said the museum’s Traveling Trunk program, which provides experiential learning directly in the classroom, is just one example.

“History is often overlooked as a key component in the wheel of education,” she said. “What history can teach a young person—or anyone for that matter—is the importance of critical thinking and how lessons learned from the past can be applied to the present.”

Other new programs at the American Independence Museum include Revolutionary Story Time, which is geared toward pre-school age children. The program will take place from 9:30 am to 10:30 am at the museum’s historic Folsom Tavern beginning on Thursday, May 4. It will continue on the first Thursday of each month in June, September, October and November on the dates of June 1, September 7, October 5, and November 2, respectively.

To learn more about these and other events and programs at the museum, visit www.independencemuseum.org.

The 16 museums on The Trail include the Aviation Museum, Albacore Park, American Independence Museum, Canterbury Shaker Village Castle in the Clouds, Lake Winnipesaukee Museum, Libby Museum, Millyard Museum, Museum of the White Mountains, New Hampshire Boat Museum, New Hampshire Historical Society, New Hampshire Farm Museum, Portsmouth Historical Society @ Discover Portsmouth, Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm, Woodman Museum, and Wright Museum of WWII.