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Artists, gifts, quilts, books, photos, gingerbread, and much more. Discover Portsmouth wants to thank tens of thousands of visitors for making the centennial year of Portsmouth Historical Society, well, historic. And they’re still celebrating daily through December 23 with a Santa’s bag full of events, exhibitions, and museum shop treasures. In the spirit of Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, make your next holiday stop at Discover Portsmouth a must for the whole family—and it’s free.

Two new exhibitions fill our upstairs galleries. The Academy Gallery in the 1810-era historic building features the third and final year of “What Artists Look Like.” Portsmouth photographer Jay Goldsmith has once again created a powerful portrait gallery of popular seacoast artists whose works are also on display. A bonus exhibition includes stunning hand-crafted art quilts on loan this month only from the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell.

Downstairs the Museum Shop offers a carefully selected array of surprises and keepsakes for everyone on your list. You’ll find cool stuff for kids, plus unique jewelry, artwork, and apparel by local artisans. Discover Portsmouth proudly offers one of the best selections of Portsmouth-area books, including Patricia Wall’s revealing new study of “lost” African-Americans entitled Lives of Consequence, recently released by the Portsmouth Marine Society Press.


Family Category – #64 Penguin Palace, The DeCristofaro Family


And, of course, there’s a cityscape of gingerbread architecture to delight all ages. Take an indoor walking tour of the most colorful and edible Portsmouth exhibition to date. Vote for the winners of the 27th Annual Gingerbread House Contest. And stay warm and toasty in our spacious welcome? center, no matter how chilly the weather outdoors. Surrounding the gingerbread exhibition, hand-crafted by young-at-heart contributors, the walls are decorated by David J. Murray’s large format images of Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth and photographs of trains in New Hampshire winters by Andy Dolph.

Free December special events include: Art Around Town & Vintage Christmas Kick-off (Friday Dec. 1, open to 8 p.m.); stop in before or after City’s Illuminated Holiday Parade (Saturday Dec. 2, open to 8 p.m.) Sketching in the Gallery with local artist Kim Massaro (December 2, 10 a.m. to noon); Tote Around Portsmouth (Dec. 9, pick up your free tote bag); and Saturday Dec 23 – Farewell Historic 2017 (last day to shop, view gingerbread, and see exhibitions).   

For more information on events, exhibitions, and the Museum Shop, call Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street, at 603-436-8433 or visit online at