Portsmouth Athenæum

A non-profit membership library, gallery, and archive, 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.

The Shaw Research Library & Randall Gallery are open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday thru Saturday. Masks are required during your visit.


February 9, 2023
  • Reading Room Tour

    February 9, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

    Tour the historic first-floor Reading Room. Donations welcome.

February 10, 2023
  • Book Signing: Charles Doane "The Boy Who Fell to Shore

    February 10, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 7:15 pm
    Portsmouth Athenaeum, 9 Market Square, Portsmouth, NH 03801, USA

    A seasoned bluewater sailor and author of many books and articles on sailing, Charles Doane’s newest book stitches together first-hand accounts from interviews and letters to paint a portrait of the remarkable and enigmatic Thomas Tangvald. Tangvald literally was born at sea and spent the greater part of his troubled life on the water. He was an intellectual prodigy and master navigator, but early tragedies led to a life of addiction and risky behavior that ultimately contributed to his disappearance in 2014. The most astounding thing about the story is that it is all true and masterfully told by Charles Doane.

    The book talk will be on the first-floor Reading Room. To reserve your spot, please call 603-431-2538.



Shaw Research Library &

Randall Gallery


Tuesday through Saturday


1 to 4 p.m.




Reading Room Tours

First & Third Saturdays
Second & Fourth Thursdays
1 to 2 p.m.
(Check our calendar.)


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.

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.