Strawbery Banke Museum celebrates expansion in Portsmouth
PORTSMOUTH — Strawbery Banke Museum officials unveiled the newly expanded Tyco Visitor’s Center on Sunday evening.
About 100 guests were the first to experience the new café, expanded lecture hall and dedicated space for visitor orientation.
The museum broke ground on the project in May and unofficially opened on Sept. 6. The White Apron Café at Strawbery Banke features indoor and outdoor seating looking out onto the grounds of the historic musuem and is scheduled to open to the public today.
It is being operated by White Apron Catering of Dover and will feature homemade breakfast pastries, cookies and muffins, salads and paninis and drinks for museum guests and members of the public who are not museum ticketholders The café will also be able to serve beer and wine.
White Apron Catering chef Jeff Bratz said they are excited for the opportunities being at Strawbery Banke brings, including the ability to use fresh produce grown in gardens on the grounds.
The entrance to the museum was moved to send guests through the Goodwin Mansion gardens, which museum marketing director Stephanie Seacord said could sometimes be missed because of the location away from the center of the museum.
The museum store, which was previously located in the visitor’s center, has been moved to the corner of Atkinson and Court streets.
“Our emphasis is on the guest and the guest experience and this just takes us one step up, one big step up,” Yerdon said about the expansion and café addition.
The expansion was made possible through one of the largest gifts the museum has ever received. State senator and museum supporter Martha Fuller-Clark donated about $300,000 to make the expansion possible.
She previously served as chairman of the museum’s board of trustees and her parents are founding members of the museum.
During Sunday’s event, a plaque was unveiled honoring Fuller-Clark for being a longtime friend and benefactor of the museum.
“I think it is a remarkable improvement, which will allow us to really serve as a gathering place for the entire community,” Fuller-Clark said of the new space.
She said it also goes hand in hand with the museum’s Heritage House program that has restored several buildings on the property to serve as museum space on the first floor with office or apartment space on upper levels.
The café will be open during museum hours, which have been extended to 6 p.m. The museum is open through Oct. 31, weekends in November for guided tours through four homes, and for three weekends in December during Candlelight Stroll.