15th Annual American Celebration

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“An American Celebration” is Strawbery Banke Museum’s annual salute to American Independence Day and the joys of summer. Multiple generations make this weekend full of events a Fourth of July tradition, given the opportunity to enjoy the living history museum at a time that American history takes a special spotlight.

At Strawbery Banke, the 15th Annual An American Celebration extends the festivities all weekend long.  Offering something for everyone, from maritime art to a 1940s-style swing dance, each day’s events add something new to Independence Day traditions. Sponsors include: BAE Systems, CPManagement, R.M. Davis, Marshall Rental and Cambridge Trust Company of New Hampshire.

SATURDAY, July 1st

American Lives:  Timeline of Living History

Nowhere else but Strawbery Banke offers such a tremendous range of historic interpretation, gathered on the campus for interactions all day long:

  • Strange and Farre, portraying early North American settlers in the year 1602
  • Salem Trayned Band, showing off 17th Century pike and shot weaponry in the year 1637
  • Bloody Historical, portraying sailor merchants and privateers in the year 1723
  • 42nd Highlanders, portraying French and Indian War soldiers in the year 1754
  • Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People, teaching Native American culture and arts in the year 1750
  • His Majesty's Tenth Regiment of Foot, portraying British occupied tavern life in the year 1775
  • The Old Patriot & The Colonial Lady, portraying Revolutionary War Daily Life in the year 1776
  • Piscataqua Rangers Fife and Drum Corp, is our local Fife and Drum Corp performing songs from 1778
  • Dr. Jackson, Portsmouth’s famous physician teaching 18th Century Medicine in the year 1776
  • New England Vintage Arts Society, demonstrating Victorian dance from the years 1830 - 1860
  • Oney Judge Staines, describing colonial slavery from the year 1845
  • What Remains, civilian unit of Civil War reenactors portraying daily life in the year 1861
  • 2nd Rhode Island Signal Corps, portraying Civil war telegraphy in the year 1861
  • Maeve 1850, portraying Irish immigration in the year 1863
  • Essex Base ball Association, demonstrating Vintage Baseball in the year 1864
  • The Kearsarge Steam Engine No. 3, is an antique fire engine built in 1870
  • Yesterday's Gentlemen, portraying late 19th Century lighthouse keeping in the year 1885
  • Matthew Henson, Black American Arctic Explorer describing Arctic Exploration from the year 1910
  • Phelps Mansion interpreters, displaying World War I home front skills in the year 1917
  • NE Woman Suffrage Association: Puddle Dock Chapter, portraying Women's Suffrage in the year 1916
  • Pine Tree Chapter Model A Club, bringing Model A Ford Automobiles from the 1930s
  • World War II rally, portraying a homefront scrap drive and recruitment rally in the year 1945
  • Pecunies Victory Garden, shows home front food practices in the year 1945

Event included with regular daily admission.

MONDAY, July 3rd, 6-9 pm

1940’s Style Swing Dance

Jump, jive and swing to the music of the Beantown Swing Orchestra at a 1940s-style swing dance. Dance Lessons (free instruction with ticket to the dance) starts at 6 pm, and the band boogies from 7 pm to 9 pm.  Then watch the Portsmouth fireworks display from the vantage point of Strawbery Banke. Tickets are $20. Click here to purchase in advance online . Picnic lunch (fried chicken, potato salad and strawberry shrtcake) also available in advance from Figtree Kitchen Cafe separate charge of $20 per person). Co-sponsored by Cambridge Trust Company of New Hampshire and Marshall Rental.

TUESDAY, July 4th. All admission FREE thanks to BAE Systems.

Naturalization Ceremony, 11 am

Celebrate America by welcoming new citizens at the US Naturalization Ceremony. A Museum favorite, come feel reinvigorated by the joy and patriotism shared by those who make their own special day on their new nation’s birthday.

Old-Fashioned Field Day, 10 am - 2 pm

Learn games played throughout the centuries as part of Strawbery Banke’s Old Fashioned Field Day. Visitors are invited to play a round of croquet, test their skill at marbles, have fun with hula hoops, and collect ribbons at 10 different games all over the museum grounds.

Patriotic parade around the museum grounds at 2 pm. Kids are invited to decorate their bikes, wagons, or hats from 10 am until the parade starts.

Shapiro House 20th Anniversary Celebration, 3 pm

The Shapiro House and its interpretation of life in a Ukrainian Jewish immigrant family’s home in 1919 debuted at Strawbery Banke on July 4, 1997. The 20thanniversary party includes music by the Raymond Street Klezmer Band, traditional Jewish refreshments from Bubby's Delicatessen in Portsmouth and special tours of the house by members of the descendant families.


The Museum is open daily, 10 am to 5 pm. During a visit families enjoy:

  • Furnished houses representing 300 years of history
  • Costumed role-players
  • Victorian Fairy Houses
  • Guided garden tours
  • Demonstrations of weaving, colonial hearth-cooking, basket weaving, and more.
  • Enjoy refreshments at Figtree Café at Strawbery Banke, and a delightful shopping experience for adults and kids at Pickwick’s at the Banke.