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.