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.
On Saturday, November 7, the Millyard Museum in Manchester will host Millyard Walking Tour with John Clayton, which will take participants through the Amoskeag Millyard. “The Amoskeag Millyard is a mile of brick mill buildings that housed the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, a behemoth of American industry from 1831-1936,” explained John Clayton, executive director of Millyard Museum and Manchester Historic Association.
The tour will provide unique insight into Manchester itself. “To understand Manchester, you need to understand the history of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company,” he said. “For more than a century, Amoskeag was the largest textile operation in the world and shaped life in Manchester. Despite the passage of time, it still touches us in ways that people are amazed to discover.”
Preregistration is required for the 90-minute tours (10 a.m. or 1 p.m.), which will be limited to 30 guests (masks required) due to COVID-19. Tickets are $10 for MHA members and $15 for the general public. To learn more, or purchase tickets, visit manchesterhistoric.org.
The Millyard Museum is one of more than 15 members of the NH Heritage Museum Trail, which was formed in 2014 as a way to share resources and better promote their respective collections, programs and events. Member institutions are located in Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Tamworth and Wolfeboro.
Now through November 28, Millyard Museum in Manchester will host Manchester’s Urban Ponds: Past, Present, and Future. The exhibit, said Director of Operations Jeff Barraclough, investigates “the surprisingly unique history of many ponds in Manchester.”
“There are images and memorabilia from Pine Island Park, ice harvesting tools recovered from Maxwell Pond and photos of the Hermit of Mosquito Pond,” he said. “We also have recently discovered film footage of ice skating at Dorrs Pond.”
The exhibit also highlights the work of the Manchester Urban Ponds Restoration Program, which has organized 116 clean-up events since 2000. “1,066 volunteers have spent approximately 3,618 hours collecting 2,394 bags of trash,” said Jen Drociak, acting coordinator of the Manchester Urban Ponds Restoration Program.
Over the past 20 years, she said the program has also worked on numerous on-the-ground restoration projects. “These include Maxwell Pond dam removal, Black Brook restoration and water quality improvements and stormwater mitigation efforts at Dorrs Pond, Crystal Lake and Nutts Pond,” she added.
According to Barraclough, the exhibit underscores not only the mission of the museum, which is to tell the story of Manchester, but the intent behind many member institutions on The Trail. “Many museums on The Trail help to tell the stories of where they are located,” explained Barraclough, who is also president of The Trail. “For us, we explore Manchester, but Trail museums help tell the story of so many cities and regions.”
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 Millyard Museum, visit manchesterhistoric.org
In October, the NH Heritage Museum Trail will feature several harvest themed events for all ages.
On October 12 and 13 at Millyard Museum in Manchester, visitors will have the chance to view fall foliage from the top of the 66-foot-tall Weston Observatory off of Oak Hill Ave. “This is a great family fun event,” said Millyard Museum Director of Operations Jeffrey Barraclough. “The Weston Observatory is normally closed to the public so this is the only weekend to get a unique view of New England’s fall foliage.”
For pricing information, visit manchesterhistoric.org.
Canterbury Shaker Village
On October 18, 19, 25 and 27, Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury will offer Spirit Encounters Tours. These evening tours will take visitors into some of the buildings and rooms at the 200-year old Shaker Village that help tell the stories of the Shakers’ involvement with the spirit world and the growth of spiritualism as part of the Shaker religion.
“The tour leaders share the Shakers’ own accounts of otherworldly encounters, and they make the tours a lot of fun,” said Interim Executive Director Maggie Stier.
To purchase tickets, visit shakers.org.
Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm
On October 19, Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm in Tamworth will host Herbal Root Fest. At the event, Museum Educator and Herbalist Carol Felice will teach visitors how to recognize and harvest medicinal and wild edible plant roots.
“You will also create a delicious lunch and a medicinal remedy from what you collect,” said Museum Executive Director Cara Sutherland. “Participants will walk away well-nourished and with a supply of fresh assorted roots and a do-it-yourself handbook.”
To purchase tickets, visit remickmuseum.org.
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.
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.”