Portsmouth Athenæum

A non-profit membership library, gallery, and museum, incorporated in 1817 and located in the heart of historic Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Armsden Photographic Project

In 2018, the Athenaeum received the photographic collection of prolific photographer Douglas J. Armsden (1918-2009). This collection of mainly mid-20th century images of Portsmouth will nearly double the Athenaeum’s entire photograph collection. Find out how you can help preserve this important collection.

Due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the Portsmouth Athenaeum will be closed until further notice.

For more information, please read the latest statement, click here.


Nothing from May 31, 2020 to June 7, 2020.


Research Library &

Randall Gallery

Tuesday through Saturday


1 to 4 p.m.

Explore the Collection

The Athenæum houses an outstanding collection of documents and artifacts relating to local history. It also preserves what is undoubtedly the finest collection in the state of materials relating to the history of New Hampshire’s only major seaport.

The Perfume of Human Wisdom

The Perfume of Human Wisdom

By Proprietor Sherry Wood I miss (and worry about) my 7-month-old granddaughter Eleanor, who lives in Brooklyn with her RN mom and IT guru dad. But I also miss libraries, which closed in March when Gov. Chris Sununu’s stay-at-home order was issued. I was smitten at 6...

read more
Book Review: Olive, Again

Book Review: Olive, Again

Review by Research Librarian Carolyn Marvin Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout features the return of her prickly character Olive Kittredge from the small town of Crosby, Maine. And we, the reader, are so grateful to Strout and so ready to revisit the many villagers she...

read more

We, the Proprietors of the Portsmouth Athenaeum, associate to promote learning and advance useful knowledge among our constituents and the wider community by facilitating convivial interchange and intellectual discourse; maintaining our historic buildings and library; and collecting and preserving materials relevant to the history and culture of Portsmouth and the Piscataqua Region.