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.


Starting 1/15/22, the Shaw Research Library is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.

To schedule your visit, please contact us at info@portsmouthathenaeum.org or 603-431-2538.

Masks are required during your visit.


January 27, 2022
  • Reading Room Tour--CANCELLED

    January 27, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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



Shaw Research Library &

Randall Gallery


Tuesday through Saturday


1 to 4 p.m.


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.

John Forti, the Heirloom Gardener

John Forti, the Heirloom Gardener

Join us for a virtual talk by John Forti from his new book The Heirloom Gardener: Traditional Plants and Skills for the Modern World. Mr. Forti is a garden historian, horticulturist, and ethnobotanist. He has directed gardens for Plimoth Plantation Museum, Strawberry Banke Museum, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and Bedrock Gardens.

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.