Relive 300 Years of Thanksgiving History at Strawberry Banke!
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because I cherish the time I get to spend with my family. It’s also filled with endless cooking, far more eating than should ever be allowed, and lots of belly laughing at our annual game of charades.
But in getting caught up with preparing and celebrating the holiday, I often forget to stop and think about the true story of Thanksgiving and the history behind it.
Strawberry Banke offers a 90-minute guided tour, every weekend in November, that explains how the holiday of Thanksgiving began and has changed over 300 years. What better way to learn about the holiday than to “live” it!
November visitors to Portsmouth can trace the evolution of Thanksgiving from the Puritans’ holy day of thanks to today’s family feast and homecoming at Strawbery Banke Museum, the 10-acre outdoor living history museum. This 90-minute, fast-paced, multi-sensory program, explains how Thanksgiving transcended time, place and culture to become the uniquely American holiday celebrated today.
Participants in the tour meet costumed roleplayers, create a harvest craft, and explore homes from three centuries. In small groups guided by a museum educator, find the common themes of this holiday over three hundred years: charity, survival, gratitude, national identity, and the celebration of family and community. The tour is recommended for those age 5 and up.
Places to Visit Along the Tour
- Pitt Tavern (1777): Smells of baking pies, clinking of glasses and the busy Stavers family await you at the Pitt Tavern. See what Thanksgiving was like in 1777 and make your very own harvest craft to take home.
- Goodwin Mansion (1870): Experience the height of the Victorian period and a Thanksgiving celebration that shares many traditions with celebrations today. Learn about the Goodwin family, and Governor Ichabod Goodwin’s special November proclamation
- Shapiro House (1919): Share in the experience of a Jewish immigrant family who came from the Ukraine to Portsmouth in the early 20th century. Mrs. Shapiro is learning about American Thanksgiving with its strange foods like pumpkin pie, while also keeping her traditional customs.
- Abbott House (1943): Portsmouth is in the midst of World War II. The war has changed jobs, industry, food, and education—few parts of life were untouched. Thanksgiving was no exception.
Tickets, available online and at the door in the museum’s TYCO Visitors Center at 14 Hancock Street are $15 for adults and $10 for children 5 to 17. The tour is free for children under 5 and to museum members, active duty military and their families. Tours run from 10am-2pm (the last tour starts at 2pm). Tour dates include the weekends in November: 3 & 4, 10 & 11, 17 & 18, 24 & 25. Plus Friday the 23rd.
Be sure to WOW your Thanksgiving guests by teaching them some fun facts you learned throughout the tour!
300 Years of Thanksgiving Traditions
14 Hancock St. Portsmouth, NH 03801
Saturday and Sunday, November 3 & 4, 10 & 11, 17 & 18, 24 & 25; 2018
Friday, November 23, 2018