May 2016 Newsletter
1. Annual Meeting: Monday 20 June at 7 P.M. at the Society’s museum. Please join us for our annual meeting. We will have a brief review of the Society’s last year and elections for the 2016-17 Board of Directors. Our guest speaker for the evening will be Senior Curator at Historic New England Nancy Carlisle whose talk is titled “Victorian Furniture: Design Run Amok or Inspired Creativity”. This promises to be an interesting illustrated talk about the highs and lows of that era’s furniture.
2. Open House. The Society had its first Open House on 22 May. We had a nice crowd and we were pleased to show off our new continuing exhibit of Portsmouth homes: “Who Lived Here?” The display was put together with considerable research by Curator Marge Webster and Gloria Schmidt along with their Curator’s Committee. Stop in to see it any Sunday afternoon this summer.
3. Museum Opens. The Society’s museum is now open each Sunday from 2-4 PM until Columbus Day. Come see our displays of Portsmouth history and bring your neighbors and friends. Children would be particularly interested in seeing our 1725 schoolhouse, one of the oldest in the US.
4. Melville School Visit. On 1 June Gloria and Richard Schmidt visited the third grade at Melville School to talk about the Glen. The next day approximately 70 of those 3rd graders cam to the Museum as part of a local history day. We enjoyed hosting the students and their teachers. Our society needs to do more of this kind of outreach to spread the word about Portsmouth history to children and adults alike.
5. Coming Events. We have a busy schedule of events coming up. The following have been added to the schedule so far: -Thursday 7 July-we will have a showing of Portsmouth’s first generation copy of the Declaration of Independence and a lecture by scholar John Parillo on William Ellery a signer of the document. -22 July-there will be several activities of help celebrate the 425th birthday of Anne Hutchinson, whose role in establishing the settlement of Portsmouth in 1638 is well known. -9 August there will be a lecture on Barton’s Revolutionary War raid at Prescott Farm by noted author Christian McBurney. -21 August-We’ll have a “History Comes Alive” presentation by the Portsmouth Community Theater group. -5 October-a Harvest Social Fundraiser at Greenvale Vineyards. Other activities are still being scheduled.
6. Membership. Our membership has recently passed the 420 mark and we are still seeking more members. Consult the website for an application.
7. Docents. We are still seeking docents to staff the Museum on Sundays. No experience necessary; we will assist you. It is a great way to learn and to show off Portsmouth’s history.
8. Website: Our website Portsmouthhistorical.org includes a great deal of Portsmouth history, including photographs and memoirs. Enjoy looking through it. And also join us on Facebook.
9. Historical Facts: -Portsmouth was serviced by two trolley lines at the turn of the last century. The Newport and Fall River line along the East Main Road from 1898 to 1925 and the Newport to Providence line, along the West Main Road from 1903 to 1925. -The Island Park amusement park (a trolley park initially) thrived from its beginning in 1898 until the last of it was destroyed by the hurricane of 1938. -Nineteen people died in Island Park in that ’38 hurricane.
A reminder: please join us for our Annual Meeting at the Museum on Monday evening 20 June at 7 PM.
Jim Garman, President Portsmouth Historical Society