Athenaeum’s 200th year marked with exhibitions, gallery talks

March 08. 2017 12:45PM

This is a detail image of a South Seas object donated to the Portsmouth Athenaeum in the 1820s by Lt. John C. Long. The Athenĉum, a non-profit membership library and museum, was incorporated in 1817 in Portsmouth. 

PORTSMOUTH — Two gallery talks will be offered at the Portsmouth Athenaeum in March.

It’s all part of a free exhibit, “The Portsmouth Athenaeum: 1817-1839, Laying the Foundation of a Large and Permanent Establishment,” which runs through Saturday, April 8, at the 9 Market Square museum and library.

On Saturday at 11 a.m., Athenaeum curator Elizabeth Aykroyd will present “Reflections on the South Seas Curiosities.”

Most objects were acquired in the 1820s by Navy Lt. John C. Long, who was based at the Pacific station in Peru.

“As artificial curiosities they provided Portsmouth residents an opportunity to see weapons and tools from the far-away South Seas,” said exhibit co-curator Sandra Rux.

Aykroyd has studied the artifacts and cataloged their places of origin, purpose and materials.

On Saturday, March 18, at 11 a.m., Rux will discuss the lives and motivations of three of the Athenaeum’s founders, Nathaniel Adams, Nathaniel Appleton Haven Jr. and Charles Burroughs.

“Their work had lasting impact on the Portsmouth Athenaeum,” Rux said.

To make reservations for these free talks, call 431-2538.

The exhibit is part of a year-long celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Athenaeum. It is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Randall Gallery.

The next exhibit, “High Hopes and Ambitious Plans, 1840 to 1899,” opens Friday, April 21, and runs through Saturday, July 8, in the Randall Gallery.

A related exhibit featuring some of the treasures of the Athenaeum will open in April at the Discover Portsmouth Center, 10 Middle St. For more information, go to
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