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Strawbery Banke Museum Free on June 21 and 22


June 21, 2014 marks the 226thbirthday of the US Constitution and – not coincidentally – the 226thbirthday of the state of New Hampshire, “the state that made us a nation.” Strawbery Banke Museum invites residents of the state to visit, free. (Click title for full article) 

The dates for the state and the Constitution birthdays are the same because it was New Hampshire’s vote to ratify the Constitution – the 9thof a “super majority” of the 13 colonies -- that created the United States. The Constitution had been drafted and signed on September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia after three months of debate led by George Washington. Ratification by 6 colonies came quickly, but it took until June for New Hampshire’s legislators to approve.

Strawbery Banke created New Hampshire Week as thank you gift to all New Hampshire residents. All New Hampshire residents are welcome at the Museum, free of charge (proof of residence required) during the Museum’s usual operating hours,10AM to 5PM, on Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22.

At Strawbery Banke, visitors will enjoy 10-acre outdoor history museum with 25 historic buildings and eight gardens, costumed role-players, traditional crafts and hands-on activities for adults, children and families. Admission also includes the special 2014 exhibits, “Finding Home: Stores from a Neighborhood of Newcomers.

“Strawbery Banke Museum is the perfect place to celebrate New Hampshire’s 226thbirthday because we share the history of the state and the nation, as it occurred in the same waterfront Portsmouth neighborhood for the past three centuries,” said Lawrence J. Yerdon, president and CEO of Strawbery Banke Museum. “Just as New Hampshire is the state that made the nation by voting to ratify the US Constitution, Portsmouth is where New Hampshire began in 1623 with an English settlement named ‘Strawberry Banke’ and we are happy to celebrate that heritage with all of the state’s residents by giving them free admission to the museum.”

Strawbery Banke presents everyday life that corresponds with many of New Hampshire’s historical firsts:

The c. 1695 Sherburne House is one of the oldest in New Hampshire and was standing when Portsmouth welcomed both fleeing settlers and fortifying militia during conflicts with the First Nations and the Royal Governor’s Council who negotiated the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth with the Wabanaki to end the bloodshed.

During the War for Independence, Pitt Tavern rang with arguments between city residents who were wealthy merchants Loyalists allied to the Crown and the growing band of patriots, some of whom carried out the first act of Revolution by liberating gunpowder from the local British garrison at Fort William and Mary. The names of the restored houses at Strawbery Banke echo the prominent merchant families – Shapley, Walsh, Wheelwright and Chase -- while other Portsmouth citizens, John Langdon and William Whipple were signers of the Declaration of Independence and delegates to New Hampshire’s Constitutional Convention. Stoodley’s Tavern, now the Museum’s Education and Administration Center was the place Paul Revere stopped when he traveled to Portsmouth in December 1774 to warn of the buildup of British troops who would need that gunpowder.

Nearly a century later, at the very start of the American Civil War, New Hampshire’s Governor Ichabod Goodwin funded the 1stNew Hampshire Regiment out of his own pocket, and outfitted them in uniforms of cloth made at his Portsmouth Steam Factory. The Goodwin Mansion, moved to Strawbery Banke from its original spot on Islington Street, is a focal point of the Museum thanks to its elegant Victorian gardens and Mrs. Goodwin role-player who tends them.

Portsmouth helped President Theodore Roosevelt win the Nobel Peace Prize for orchestrating the negotiations ending the Russo-Japanese War with the Portsmouth Peace Treaty of 1905. The Shapiro House at Strawbery Banke and “Mrs. Shapiro” in her kitchen tell the story of one Russian Jewish family who fled the pogroms and conscription of the Russian Army fighting that war, while underscoring the spirit of citizen diplomacy that characterizes New Hampshire’s perennial political activism.

Another War, in 1941, brought thousands of workers to the Portsmouth Navy Yard. The everyday lives of the workers who were the backbone of record-setting submarine production during the war, and their families who lived in the waterfront Puddle Dock neighborhood, are interpreted in the Abbott Store and its Victory Garden, alongside. The USS New Hampshire nuclear submarine (SSN-778) was christened on New Hampshire’s 220thbirthday and commissioned at the Shipyard, visible across the river from Strawbery Banke.

“Strawbery Banke continues to make history,” Yerdon observed. “Each Fourth of July, the Museum hosts a Naturalization Ceremony as part of its family-oriented An American Celebration, welcoming new citizens in an historic neighborhood that has woven newly-arrived immigrants into the tapestry of the national family for centuries. And, just as Pitt Tavern welcomed President George Washington during his Inaugural tour of the States in September 1789, we were honored to welcome President Barack Obama the day after he accepted his party’s Presidential nomination in September 2012.”

For more information on Strawbery Banke’s New Hampshire Week and the 225thNew Hampshire Birthday Party, visit www.strawberybanke.orgor call603-433-1100.

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