The mission of the New Hampshire Historical Society is to educate a diverse public about the significance of New Hampshire’s past and its relationship to our lives today. In support of this mission, the Society collects, preserves, and interprets materials pertaining to New Hampshire history.
The Society's collections form the basis for research by all who are interested in New Hampshire history. They are used by scholars, local historians, educators, museum curators, librarians, genealogists, collectors, the media, tourists, and the general public. The collections provide the substance for the Society's exhibitions, publications, and school and public programs, designed to create engaging and enjoyable learning experiences for a wide range of audiences.
The New Hampshire Historical Society is an independent, nonprofit membership organization, founded in 1823 as the fifth such statewide historical society in the United States. Following the New England model for a statewide historical organization, the Society is a private corporation, not a government agency. The Society began to collect written materials immediately upon its founding; began to collect artifacts in 1825; began to exhibit its artifact collections in 1831; purchased its first building in 1869; hired its first staff member in the late 1870s; inducted its first female member in 1880; opened its present purpose-built headquarters building in 1911; began to publish its journal, Historical New Hampshire, in 1944; elected its first woman trustee in 1955; began its school programs in 1964; provided an online catalog of its library holdings in 1999; acquired digital reproduction capabilities in 2000; began to make its museum collections digitally available online in 2013; and launched the New Hampshire History Network (NHHN), a digital gateway that provides centralized access to New Hampshire's history and historical collections through partnerships with local historical societies and other collecting institutions in 2015.
Governance and Management
The Society is governed by a 22-member board of trustees and managed by a professional staff of 15 full-time and 15 part-time employees, assisted by 80 volunteers.
The Society has saved and preserved the most extensive collection of archives, objects, books, and research resources related to New Hampshire history that can be found anywhere, and hundreds of additional items are acquired each year. The collections include 33,000 museum objects, 50,000 printed volumes, 2 million pages of manuscripts, 800,000 pages of newspapers, 250,000 photographic images, 5,000 broadsides, 3,000 maps, and thousands of ephemera items. Ranging in date from pre-contact to the present day, the Society's holdings reflect broadly the state's economic, political, social, and cultural history.
The Society's headquarters building at 30 Park Street in Concord is home to the research library, exhibitions, and school and public programs. This 1911 landmark building, funded by Edward and Julia Tuck, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A mid-19th-century building at 6 Eagle Square, named the Hamel Center after major benefactors to the Society, housed the Society's museum exhibition galleries from 1995 to 2014 and is now used for collections and administrative management and office rental space.
The New Hampshire Historical Society provides a variety of learning experiences for children and adults. Offerings include school programs and guided tours of exhibitions at the Society in Concord, artifact-based traveling programs, history courses, lectures, and workshops. In 2017, the Society launched a major new initiative, called "The Democracy Project: Revitalizing History and Civics Education in New Hampshire Schools," to help address the growing knowledge gap in the areas of history and civics.
The Society's award-winning publications include the semi-annual Historical New Hampshire, the only statewide journal devoted to New Hampshire history, occasional books, exhibition catalogs, and printed and electronic newsletters with information on the Society's collections, programs, and activities.
The Society offers on-site, traveling, and online exhibitions on a variety of topics. Iconic objects of New Hampshire history, including the original eagle from the New Hampshire State House, a rare Revolutionary War flag, portraits of Daniel Webster and Franklin Pierce, and White Mountain art are on permanent display.
The Society's website and online collections catalog provide broad access to information on library, archival, and museum collections.
New Hampshire History Network
In 2015 the New Hampshire Historical Society launched the New Hampshire History Network (NHHN), a digital gateway that provides centralized access to New Hampshire's history and historical collections through partnerships with local historical societies and other collecting institutions.
The New Hampshire Historical Society is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
The New Hampshire Historical Society is an independent, nonprofit membership organization. The Society is a registered 501c3 nonprofit; Taxpayer Identification Number 02-0233250.
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