Relive centuries of Thanksgiving history at Strawberry Banke on Saturdays & Sundays through November!
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 the centuries. What better way to learn about the holiday than to “live” it!
November visitors to Portsmouth can trace the evolution of Thanksgiving from traditional celebrations of the Abenaki people to today’s family feast and homecoming at Strawbery Banke 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 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.
Places to Visit Along the Tour
- JONES HOUSE (1790): Explore the new People of the Dawnland exhibit and learn about the traditional celebrations of the Abenaki people who have lived in New Hampshire for over 12,000 years.
- 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 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.
- WHEELWRIGHT (1780): Discover the sights and smells of an 18th-century Thanksgiving and learn how different harvest and religious traditions evolved into the celebration we know today.
Tickets, available online and at the door in the museum’s TYCO Visitors Center at 14 Hancock Street.
- $15 for adults
- $10 for children 5 to 17
- Free for children under 5
- Museum members, active duty military and their families: FREE
Dates & Hours
- Tours run from 10am-2pm (the last tour starts at 2pm).
- Tour dates include Saturdays & Sundays, November 2 – December 1, 2019 — plus Friday, November 29!
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