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.

The Research Library and Randall Gallery are now open Tuesday through Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. by appointment only.

No walk-ins. Please contact us in advance to schedule your visit by calling 603-431-2538 or emailing info@portsmouthathenaeum.org.


July 17, 2020
  • "The Wentworth Takeover" OPENING RECEPTION

    July 17, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Portsmouth Athenaeum, 9 Market Square, Portsmouth, NH 03801, USA
    See more details

July 19, 2020
  • 2020 PACM: Central 4

    July 19, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    St. John's Episcopal Church, 101 Chapel St, Portsmouth, NH 03801, USA
    See more details


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.

Tales from the Stacks: A Swift Deaccession

Tales from the Stacks: A Swift Deaccession

In the midst of re-numbering the entire library catalog, Librarian Robin Silva has uncovered some interesting history. In October 1907, a book had been discovered in the Athenaeum's stock room, left there anonymously. Published in 1905, the book was The Clansman: An...

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Researching Black History in the North Church

Researching Black History in the North Church

By Archivist Susan Kindstedt   No collection at the Athenaeum provides the names of more individuals of African descent living in Portsmouth than the MS036 North Church Papers, 1640-1970 collection. Although the papers include the names of individuals, the...

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The Portsmouth Bath House

The Portsmouth Bath House

By Photographic Collections Manager James Smith   Pictured here is the relic of the former Portsmouth Bath House in the North End, as identified in this c. 1898 photo album. [Small photograph collection, PS855] In the summer of 1804, the Portsmouth Bath House...

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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.