Strawbery Banke Museum

Strawbery Banke Museum

Strawbery Banke, Inc., an organization taking its name from the earliest settlement, was formed by local citizens in 1958. One of its first actions was to get a New Hampshire law changed to permit restoration as a part of renewal. Until that time the law required that every building in a renewal area be demolished. Following that the Portsmouth Housing Authority as the local renewal agency acquired the land and buildings, arranged for the relocation of the residents, and handled the demolition or removal of several late nineteenth and twentieth century structures. The remaining buildings were then deeded to Strawbery Banke. When Strawbery Banke opened to the public in 1965, Portsmouth began to rediscover the past it seemed to have left behind. That past has become a vital part of the modern city. The museum has become an important asset to the local economy and the major attraction for visitors to Portsmouth. Strawbery Banke has also helped reawaken the community to the importance of its local heritage. The evident care which many individuals are taking in the rehabilitation of older buildings, the refurbishing of Portsmouth's historic center Market Square, even the general sense of renewed vitality in the city all reflect the historical consciousness that has been raised in Portsmouth since people began to talk about Strawbery Banke in the late 1950s. The days when merchants watched down river for the sails of their ships are gone forever, but Portsmouth has regained its sense of individual identity.