Portsmouth Athenaeum 2016 Speakers' Series

Keeping the Past Alive

Fall 2016 Speaker Series Program

On September 21, 2016, the series resumes with "A Museum for Curiosities, "Both Natural and Artificial" - The Early Athenaeum Collection," related by Elizabeth Rhoades Aykroyd.

In 1820 The Athenaeum of Portsmouth, NH sent out a letter to local sea captains and merchants, soliciting donations of any "curiosities" that they might encounter in their travels around the world. The response was immediate, and all sorts of "specimens" were given to the young institution, many of which are still in the collection. At the same time the "curiosities" were being collected, some of the Athenaeum's most important paintings and busts were being placed in the building, which was purchased in 1823, laying the foundation for the remarkable collection of today.

Photo: U'u, a war club from the Marquesas Islands, c. 1820

Elizabeth Rhoades Aykroyd is the Curator of the Portsmouth Athenaeum. She is a native of the Seacoast and received her BA from Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts, and her MA from the Wintethur Program in Early American Culture at the University of Delaware. She has worked in a number of museums, including a U.S. Army museum in Germany.


Barbara Moore, Museum conservation consultant, will present "Preserving Family Heirlooms" on October 19, 2016.

Discover how to house and handle home collections that are such an important part of our own background. Barbara Moore will speak about preserving family treasurers, heirlooms and antiques. She will emphasize on steps you can take to extend the life of these objects for future generations of your family.

Barbara Moore works as a conservation consultant for museums and other cultural institutions across the country. She studied conservation at the University of London and has headed conservation laboratories at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, England, the Arizona State Museum, the Peabody Museum at Yale University, and the Strong Museum, Rochester, NY.


On November 16, 2016, An Historical Societies Panel on "Collecting, Preserving and Interpreting Our Community History" will be moderated by Peggy Hodges, Portsmouth Atheaneum.

Several representatives of our local historical societies will discuss the state of the valuable organizations that collect, research, interpret and preserve historic information of our communities.

Peggy Hodges, an Atheaneum Proprietor, will lead this lively conversation which will include topics such as collection items, community programs, visitor interests, challenges and collaboration strategies.

Members of the historical society discussion panel will include:

Nancy Borden is a 5th generation resident of New Castle, NH and a founding member of the New Castle Historical Society. Ms. Borden has been President of the Society for four years, encouraging the involvement of the community in celebrating local historic sites.

Alex Herlihy is President of the Rye Historical Society and a charter member of the Society, founded in 1976. Mr. Herlihy is a retired high school history teacher and has been the director of the Rye Town Museum for the last decade.

Betty Moore is the Executive Director of the Tuck Museum and a Past President of the Hampton Historical Society. Ms. Moore's interest in small museums prompted her to enroll in the Museum Studies program at Tufts University.

Kathleen Soldati is the interim Executive Director for Discover Portsmouth, the museum and visitor center for the Portsmouth Historical Society. Ms. Soldati also promotes Portsmouth tourism for the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce.

Proudly sponsored by:


Each program begins at 7:00pm in the Research Library of the Portsmouth Athenæum at 9 Market Square in Portsmouth, NH.

Attendance at programs is free for Athenæum Proprietors, Subscribers and Friends.  Guests and members of the public are welcome to attend the entire series by becoming a Friend of the Athenæum for as little as $25 per year, payable via mail or at the door. Admission to an individual program is $10.

Reservations are required. Please call (603) 431-2538, Ext. 2 for reservations up to 48 hours in advance.