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.

Check our calendar for tours of the first-floor Sawtelle Reading Room.


February 27, 2024
  • Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum with Fiona Hill Current World Dis-orders: Is There Anything for Us Here?

    February 27, 2024 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Wentworth by the Sea, 588 Wentworth Rd, New Castle, NH 03854, USA

    Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum with Fiona Hill: Current World Dis-orders: Is There Anything for Us Here?

    Fiona Hill, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow – Foreign Policy, Center on the United States and Europe is the author of There’s Nothing For You Here: Finding Opportunity in the 21st Century (2023) and of Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (2015).

    Tickets are free, but you must register ahead of the event. 

    For more information and to register, click here: https://www.japanamericanh.org/event-details/portsmouth-peace-treaty-forum-with-fiona-hill 

March 2, 2024
  • Tour of Sawtelle Reading Room

    March 2, 2024 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

    The first-floor Sawtelle Reading Room in the 1805 building is open for tours. Donations accepted.



Shaw Research Library &

Randall Gallery


Tuesday through Saturday


1 to 4 p.m.



Reading Room Tours

Volunteer Dependent
Saturdays &
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.

New Books in the Library

New Books in the Library

The new book list is here! New year, new books for you to check out in the library. Proprietors and Subscribers, click on the button below to discover the new books now available in the library. Not a Proprietor or a Subscriber? Find out how you can become a member...

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Update on the Portsmouth Plaque Program

Update on the Portsmouth Plaque Program

The Portsmouth Historic Plaque Committee, a legacy project originating from the PNH400 2023 celebrations is continuing into 2024! The owners of any building, no matter the age or location in Portsmouth, can research the origins of their home and complete the...

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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.