Top 10 Places ... for history lovers

May 18. 2018 2:02PM
Battle cannons roar at the 8th Annual Hillsborough Living History Event. (Lisa Martineau)

The 2018 Hillsborough Living History Event is August 18 and 19. Celebrating 10 years, it features a replica of an encampment with live battles, cannons roaring, and live music. Visitors meet with period artisans, pan for gold, learn to make butter and ice cream, use an old fashioned laundry, and feast on traditional foods of the period. Costumed interpreters will tell some tales of the time. Visit the Stone Arch bridge or the Franklin Pierce Homestead State Historic Park.
The Ladd-Gilman House in Exeter, the home of patriot leader Col. Nicholas Gilman, is a National Historic Landmark operated by the American Independence Museum as a house museum. (1971 photo, courtesy of the National Park Service)

The American Independence Museum in Exeter is housed in one of the most charming buildings in town, the Ladd-Gilman House. Learn about the impact New Hampshire had on the founding of our country and how leaders like John Stark influenced events around the Revolution. See an original purple heart that George Washington wore during the war and get up close to our state’s first copy of the Declaration of Independence. Kids can try on colonial clothing, learn where games were played, and how children lived in Colonial America. The museum’s annual American Independence Festival will be held this year on July 14.

Portsmouth will welcome two tall ships on July 25, the Roseway and the Oliver Hazard Perry. Best viewing spots include Four Tree Island, Great Island Common in New Castle and Peirce Island, where the Oliver Hazard Perry will be docked at the Portsmouth Fish Pier. The weekend celebration includes opportunities to board the ships, day sails, exhibits, food, music, and maybe even a flyover by the Hampton High Flyers.

Charlestown’s Main Street historic district consists of 10 properties and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s is a good place to drive through on your way to the Fort at No. 4 museum, a replica of the northwesternmost village within the British colonies. The Fort at No. 4 holds reenactments of battles and encampments throughout the year. The largest, Return to Number 4: Revolutionary War Weekend, will be held September 29 and 30.
Daniel Peters, an Army veteran and research librarian for the Manchester Historic Association, at the Millyard Museum in Manchester. 

Manchester’s Millyard Museum offers exhibits that showcase the city’s rich history of textile mills. In many ways, the museum represents the backbone of many New England towns. Take a self-guided tour through permanent exhibits like “Woven in Time: 11,000 Years at Amoskeag Falls,” which walks you through the story of the people who lived and worked in Manchester. The Museum’s Henry M. Fuller State Theatre Gallery features rotating exhibitions on a variety of topics. Currently on exhibit through June 30 you’ll find “Manchester’s Masters: The Artist’s Perspective.”
A visitor drives to the clouds on the historic Mount Washington Auto Road. 

The Mount Washington Auto Road in Gorham is rich with history. First opened in 1861, it’s considered to be America’s oldest man-made attraction. The auto road is also host to the Climb to the Clouds, which is widely recognized as one of America’s oldest motorsports events. The next Climb to the Clouds is scheduled for 2020.

Canterbury Shaker Village, an internationally-known non-profit museum founded in 1969, is dedicated to preserving the heritage and 200-year legacy of the Canterbury Shakers. Designated as a National Historic Landmark for its architectural integrity and significance, the Village has 25 restored original Shaker buildings, four reconstructed Shaker buildings, and 694 acres of forests, fields, gardens, nature trails, and mill ponds under permanent conservation easement. Visitors can enjoy tours, accessible historic buildings, family activities, exhibits, educational programs, special events, unique shopping and dining.

The Wright Museum in Wolfeboro honors the enduring legacy of WWII-era Americans with exhibits and educational resources. The brick building it is housed in can’t be missed, with a military tank appearing to protrude from inside it. Currently on exhibit, through June 17, are “Memories of WWII - Photographs from the Associated Press Archives” and “Private Charles J. Miller: WWII Paintings from the South Pacific,” showcasing some of Nashua artist and soldier Charles J. Miller’s sketches and paintings. There is also a permanent collection including more than 14,000 items that would be the envy of any WWII buff.

Srawbery Banke in Portsmouth transports visitors into Colonial America. This open-air historical museum, covering a time period of 1695 to 1954, includes historic houses and heirloom gardens outfitted and furnished to their specific era. Costumed roleplayers welcome visitors to the Puddle Dock neighborhood and share the story of their lives there.
Charles 'Bud' Thompson takes a break during a tour of the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum. He helped start the museum 25 years ago. (Melissa Proulx)

The Mt Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner educates visitors about the Native Americans who inhabited the Northeastern Woodlands, their birch bark containers, moose hair embroidery, and split ash baskets. Visitors will also learn about the Southeast’s Seminole and Cherokee cultures, and can visit the Plains Gallery’s full-scale tipi. The museum’s 19th Annual Pow Wow Celebration will take place on July 14 with dancing, music, storytelling and more.

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