Friday, April 3, 2009

Portsmouth Athenaeum

Thursday, I ended up unexpectedly taking a tour of the Portsmouth Athenaeum. I went to Portsmouth to run some errands, and planned to visit an exhibit of historic textiles while I was in town.

Market Square, Portsmouth, NH

I was not permitted to take pictures of the clothing (some handwoven), rugs, quilts, and samplers in the textile exhibit because they were not the property of the Athenaeum.

Portsmouth Athenaeum

The folks at the Athenaeum were very helpful, and gave me a very informative tour.

Unfortunately, I only had my small pocket-sized camera with me - so my pictures aren't great. To see more - including 360° virtual tours of the rooms I photographed - please visit the Portsmouth Athenaeum website!

Georgian Windows in the Ground Floor Reading Room

Looking Out the Door to Market Square

A small portion of the library

Reading Room

Colonial Andirons

The Seal of the King of England Affixed to a Royal Proclamation

I was very surprised by the size of this wax seal - probably 5 inches (13 cm) in diameter. One of the royal proclamations was urging New Hampshire and Massachusetts to agree on a border.

Hand-carved Wooden Bowsprit by Bellamy

Athenaeums were precursors to public libraries - and in some locations in the US merged with public libraries. Fewer than 20 Athenaeums remain in the US. There are also Athenaeums in Europe. There may be one near you!


charlotte said...

Thank you for sharing this interresting story and the great (always)pictures. I had no clue what an athenaeum is before reading this. Following your blog makes me almost feel like a tourist in New Hampshire!

Life Looms Large said...

I had no clue what an Athenaeum was even while I was visiting!! Finally, at the end of the tour, I asked about it....then came home and read more online.

Blogging about New Hampshire has helped me appreciate it a little more (which is good at this time of year when I get cranky about the length of winter!)


Jennifer said...

Every day's a school day - I've never heard of an Athenaeum, but then again our history is a little different down here!

I'm amazed how much you get out despite the "winter". Down here we don't do much outside below 50F. So I'm proud of you not letting the weather hold you back.

artemis said...

gosh this building really looks like portsmouth uk! there are old bits left (the rest bombed in the war).
I love reading about other peoples visits and what they picked up...thanks for posting it! x

bye the way...all the snow makes me think even more what a beautiful place you live! i'd rather have snow than grey drizzling rain like london for most of the year!

sarah haskell said...

Thanks for the preview, I actually just made a date with a friend to see this exhibit before it heads out the door. I love visiting the Athenaeum. I feel like I have stepped back in time whenever I cross the threshold. Happy Monday, Sarah