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 third-floor Shaw Research Library and Randall Gallery are open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday thru Saturday. For elevator access, please call (603) 431-2538.

CLOSED on Saturday, June 3 (Portsmouth 400th parade) and Saturday, June 10 (Market Square Day). Check our calendar for tours of the first-floor Sawtelle Reading Room.


June 10, 2023
June 15, 2023
  • Fred Schubert talk "Advances in Understanding and Treating Disease in the 19th Century with Lessons that Still Resonate"

    June 15, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
    Portsmouth Athenaeum, 9 Market Square, Portsmouth, NH 03801, USA

    Science educator and Proprietor Fred Schubert will give a talk on "Advances in Understanding and Treating Disease in the 19th Century with Lessons that Still Resonate." In 1880, the world biology had yet to be defined. By 1900, vaccines for many serious illnesses were being developed. The work of John Snow, Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister, Robert Koch, Max von Pettenkofer and other remarkable figures will be considered. 

    The talk begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Shaw Research Library on the third floor of the Athenaeum. Reservations are required for this free event. Please call (603) 431-2538 to RSVP.



Shaw Research Library &

Randall Gallery


Tuesday through Saturday


1 to 4 p.m.




Reading Room Tours

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.

From the Mouth of Babes

From the Mouth of Babes

By Tom Hardiman, Keeper and Executive Director Over the past couple of weeks, Proprietor Ellen Fineberg and I gave tours of the 1805 building to twenty groups of Portsmouth 3rd graders. Telling the kids about our history is always fun, rewarding, and exhausting! I...

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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.