For Jeff Barraclough, president of the New Hampshire Heritage Museum Trail, attracting out-of-state visitors is a big focus for member institutions. “Collectively, we welcome more than 200,000 visitors to museums on The Trail each year, more than half of whom are from out of state,” he explained. “Attracting tourists is a big part of our focus, because we recognize its impact on not just us, but nearby businesses.”
Formed in 2014 to share resources and better promote their programs, exhibits, and events, The Trail features more than 20 museums on the Seacoast and in Merrimack Valley and Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Aside from preserving the history and heritage of New Hampshire, individual museums on The Trail are “remarkably diverse” from one another.
“Some museums cater more to families, while others may be more suitable for adult visitors,” said Barraclough, who is also executive director of the Millyard Museum, located in Manchester. “All of us, however, work very intentionally to create high-quality programming and experiences that we believe enhance people’s overall quality of life.”
Emma Stratton, longtime executive director of the American Independence Museum (AIM) in Exeter, agreed with Barraclough and said the hope is that the 2022 season will see a return of visitation to pre-pandemic levels. “We are preparing for on-site visitation much like we did before the pandemic, while also continuing to develop online digital events and exhibits that can be accessed by anyone anywhere,” she said.
Founded in 1991, AIM preserves the Ladd-Gilman House (c. 1721) and Folsom Tavern (c. 1775). “When you tour our property, you will learn about the incredible history of these structures, the families that have lived in them, and the important role each has played in New Hampshire history,” added Stratton.
Regarding The Millyard, Barraclough said their permanent exhibit, Woven in Time: 11,000 Years at Amoskeag Falls, is a main area of interest for visitors. “The exhibit tells the story of Manchester and the people who have lived and worked here,” he said. “This story starts with the native peoples who fished at Amoskeag Falls 11,000 years ago and takes people through Manchester’s early farming and logging roots and into the beginnings of industry.”
Regarding her expectations for the 2022 season for AIM and all member institutions, Stratton said, “Welcome back.”
Member institutions on The Trail are located in Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Tamworth, and Wolfeboro.
While most museums on the NH Heritage Museum Trail begin to reopen for the spring and summer seasons, many will continue to provide digital events as part of their mission. For the American Independence Museum in Exeter, this means keeping guests engaged with history even from home. “Even though we’re reopening for the season in May, we still want to provide digital programs for those audiences who do not live locally,” said Executive Director Emma Stratton.
These digital programs, she noted, offer historical insight into the museum and explore the concepts of freedom and independence, including an upcoming lecture on May 20. The lecture includes the documentary Uprooted, which discusses the lives of five refugees who resettled in New Hampshire. Part of the New Hampshire Humanities To Go program, the lecture will feature a guided discussion and is free to the public.
In addition to digital lecture programs, the American Independence Museum also offers virtual scout programs for Boy and Girl Scouts to explore history and earn a badge. “We want people to have options to learn through our museum, whether it be in-person or at home,” said Stratton.
For more information about the American Independence Museum, click here.
Located in Manchester, the Currier Museum of Art is now open Thursday through Sunday and offers a wide variety of online art classes and programs through its website. “We offer classes for both children and adults as well as beginners or those more advanced in their artistic career,” said Tracey Carrier, Manager of Membership and Guest Experience. “We also have special programs geared towards veterans, and other community groups.”
Classes and workshops range from comic art and impressionism to printmaking, sculpture, and art discussions. With varying time frames, topics, and prices, the Currier offers a wide variety of classes and programs through online registration. The museum also offers a weekly, free art discussion: Art Conversations from Home, every Wednesday at 1pm.
For more details, or to register for classes, click here.
Formed in 2014 as a way to share resources and better promote their respective collections,programs and events, The NH Heritage Museum Trail is divided into the Seacoast, Merrimack Valley and Lakes Regions. Member institutions are located in Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Tamworth and Wolfeboro.
The onset of spring meansmany museums on the NH Heritage Museum Trail are beginning to thaw from the winter season to welcome the public back. For the American Independence Museum in Exeter, this means restarting tours.
“Visitors can journey back in time to experience the 1775 Folsom Tavern,” said Executive Director Emma Stratton. “Our public tours begin May 15.” Tours will be offered Thursdays from 10 am – 12 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am – 3 pm. Tours start every hour and require pre registration. They are limited to 8 people and masks are required at all times.
In addition to Folsom Tavern Tours, the American Independence Museum will celebrate both the 300th anniversary of the Ladd-Gilman House and 30th anniversary of the museum itself. “We will focus on building digital programs this spring and then shift to in-person and outdoor events for the spring and summer,” added Stratton.
Founded in 1991, the American Independence Museum connects America’s Revolutionary past with the present. For more information about the museum, click here.
Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury also has their sights set on May 15 with their semi-annual 5K race. “This year, the Village is planning two 5K races, one on May 15 and the other on October 23,” said Executive Director Leslie Nolan. “All ages are welcome—there’s no obligation to run, as it can be walked as well.” Starting at 10 am, the race is organized in partnership with Capital Area Race Series (CARS) and Millennium Running. There is a registration fee of $25.
The 5K race is part of Canterbury Shaker Village’s plan for more outside activities throughout the season. “The main focus is on the outdoors, including tours on Saturdays and Sundays that take groups around the village,” said Nolan, who noted the Heifer cows will also revisit the Village on May 15. The Village will also open for brand new indoor tours beginning Saturday, June 12. Reservations are suggested.
To learn more about the race, tours, or the Village, click here.
Formed in 2014 as a way to share resources and better promote their respective collections, programs and events, the NH Heritage Museum Trail is divided into the Seacoast, Merrimack Valley and Lakes Regions. Member institutions are located in Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Tamworth and Wolfeboro.
On the NH Heritage Museum Trail in September, visitors can experience hundreds of years of history, highlighted by a virtual Around the World Flight Adventure at the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire in Londonderry. “Using a flight simulator and streaming video, we’ll take people around the planet and back again,” said Executive Director Jeff Rapsis.
Designed as an online resource for students and teachers engaged in remote learning, Around the World Flight Adventure is open to anyone with a desire “to see the world’s great cities.” “You’ll learn about science, geography, history and culture along the way,” he added. “At a time when travel options are limited for most of us, it’s the ultimate field trip.”
In Wolfeboro, visitors will have their final look at Vietnam: The Real War — A Photographic History from the Associated Press at the Wright Museum of World War II. Sponsored by Service Credit Union, the exhibit features 50 photos taken during the 1960’s and 70’s and runs through September 27. “These are images you won’t forget nor the stories that accompany them,” said Executive Director Mike Culver.
The region’s leading resource for educators and learners of all ages on World War II, The Wright features more than 14,000 items in its collection that are representative of both the home front and battle field. To learn more, visit wrightmuseum.org.
In Exeter, Curator Jen Carr will take visitors through a virtual tour of the American Independence Museum’s Ladd-Gilman House (c. 1721), home to former New Hampshire Gov. John Taylor Gilman, beginning in 1794. “It’s a chance to learn more about New Hampshire and the American Revolution,” said Carr, who noted the tours began in August and run through September.
Each 45-minute guided tour ends with a Q & A with Carr. “All tours take place on the Zoom platform, so be ensure you have the app or software downloaded prior to the tour start time,” she added.
Formed in 2014 as a way to share resources and better promote their respective collections, programs and events, The NH Heritage Museum Trail is divided into the Seacoast, Merrimack Valley and Lakes Regions. 18 member institutions are located in Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Tamworth and Wolfeboro.
From now through July 16, the American Independence Museum is hosting its annual American Independence Festival, presented by Newburyport Bank, with several virtual twists. “Due to COVID-19, we needed to re-imagine the Festival, which historically attracts thousands of visitors to downtown Exeter,” said Emma Stratton, executive director of the American Independence Museum, a founding Trail member.
Noting this year’s re-imagined Festival features more than ten different events and/or programs, Stratton said one virtual highlight includes a virtual Presentation on July 11. “We will have our traditional opening salute and the premiere of a video on the history of the Festival,” she said. “We will also have a reading of the Declaration of Independence by Greg Gilman, a direct descendant of the man who read it to the town of Exeter in 1776.”
Another virtual highlight includes a community-wide reading of the Declaration of Independence that will air on July 16, the day the Declaration of Independence arrived in Exeter. Other events include three lectures, town-wide scavenger hunt and more. “We are excited at the chance to welcome visitors from far and wide this year through a virtual platform,” added Stratton.
According to Jeff Barraclough, president of The Trail and director of operations at the Millyard Museum in Manchester, the American Independence Museum’s foray into the digital realm demonstrates capacity by many member institutions. “As a result of the pandemic, museums across the region have had to find new ways to reach their audiences, whether through virtual tours, social media, or developing online educational resources,” he said. “Although I know people will miss being at various events in person this year, many of our museums can reach people across the country now.”
Formed in 2014 as a way to share resources and better promote their respective collections, programs and events, The Trail is divided into the Seacoast, Merrimack Valley and Lakes Regions. Member institutions are located in Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Tamworth and Wolfeboro.
For more information about the American Independence Festival, visit independencemuseum.org.