Discovering New Hampshire

Long-term exhibition on view in the Society's main gallery.

The Discovering New Hampshire exhibition showcases objects, photographs, and documents essential to understanding New Hampshire’s story. Organized around five key themes, the exhibition uses objects—from the ordinary to the extraordinary—to illustrate how material items link us with our past. What do objects that have been saved by people over 200 years tell us about a state and its changing values?

Exploring identity “A Place Called New Hampshire” displays some of the symbols that have become emblematic of New Hampshire. 

Focusing on the connections of community, family, work, religion, and ethnicity that link us to one another, “Ties That Bind” displays everyday items from hundreds of years of New Hampshire history to show how our society has changed over time and yet continues to connect us to our ancestors. 

In “All Politics Is Local,” New Hampshire’s rich political tradition is explored through artifacts associated with national events like the presidential primary and the longstanding practices of local governance such as the New Hampshire town meeting. Of particular note are items associated with one of New Hampshire’s most influential presidential primaries to date—the 1952 election upset pulled off by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Items grouped under the theme “Citizen Soldiers” illustrate the thread of conflict that has affected New Hampshire families. Individual experiences in conflicts, from the Revolutionary War period through the Civil War and World War II, prompt the viewer to think about balancing  individual needs and community responsibilities.

“Second Nature” acknowledges the impact of New Hampshire’s natural beauty, which for so many is central to our state’s character. Our physical surroundings sustained the Abenaki, drew new settlers to the land, triggered disputes over ownership, spawned tourist and recreation industries, and inspired in many a commitment to forest and land conservation.

True to its name, Discovering New Hampshire encourages visitors to uncover more about the state and think about our collective history in new ways. From an Abenaki dugout canoe to a snowmobile, this exhibition shares the history of New Hampshire's people, places, and events through images and artifacts you can't see anywhere else.

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