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Heritage Tours and Events

Discover history: <> Free downloadable tours, brochures, maps and free mobile apps. An American Association of State and Local History Merit Award Winner in 2014.

Events are all free unless otherwise indicated.

Saturday, July 29 – Saturday, August, 5 *“If This House Could Talk” neighborhood stroll.  City residents will be displaying posters with stories about their homes. Stroll Newburyport neighborhoods and look for house stories prominently displayed. An online map is at or see for details.

Saturday, July 29 – Saturday, August, 5, 10:00 – 5:00 PM. *Merrimack ValleyMerrimack Ship Model Club Ship Model Club Exhibition. Unitarian Universalist Church, Lower Level, 28 Pleasant Street. The Merrimack Valley Ship Model Club will exhibit a wide range and variety of ship models displaying tiny miniatures, and modest rowing craft in contrast with ocean going vessels. MVSMC members will be at the exhibit demonstrating modeling techniques and sharing background stories about the models on display.

Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30, Noon – 4 pm; Aug. 2, Wed. – Aug. 4, Fri.; 10 am – 4 pm; Sat. Aug., 5, 12 pm – 4 pm. *Museum of Old Newbury. 98 High St. Free tours. For the past 140 years, the Museum of Old Newbury has been collecting, preserving, and presenting the history of Newburyport, Newbury, West Newbury, Byfield, and Plum Island. With objects and documents, we tell the stories of local people from the past four centuries.; phone: 978-462-2681.

Saturday, July 29, 11:00 – 12:30. *Irish in Newburyport. People’s Methodist Church, Purchase Street. Join us for local historian Jean Doyle’s documentary about Newburyport’s Irish community. The film tells the story of Irish families in Newburyport from the mid-1800s through Bossy Gillis’s six terms as mayor from the 1920s through ’40s. Jean explores their contributions to the community and the divide between the Irish immigrants – known then as the “shanty Irish” and “lace curtain Irish.”

Saturday, July 29, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm *Chowder, Chowder, Chowder. People’s Methodist Church, Purchase Street. See Jean Doyle’s film “Irish in Newburyport” and then enjoy a delicious bowl of fish chowder and assorted sandwiches in Joppa’s 1840s church once home to the Angel Gabriel weathervane and now located in the Smithsonian. Proceeds assist the restoration of the steeple.

Saturday, July 29, 1:00 – 3:00 pm *Newburyport Powder House Park and Learning Center, 57 Low Street (across from Nock/Molin Schools). Come and visit the newly restored Powder House built in 1822 on Godfrey’s Hill. View the exterior and interior restoration and original cobblestone wagon path. The Powder House is an American Association of State and Local History merit award winner.

Saturday, July 29, 2:00 to 3:00 pm *Our Boy: Newburyport’s First WWI Casualty Finds His Way Home, Public Library Program Room. Bethany Groff Dorau first encountered Marine Corps Private Eben Bradbury in 2014, when a strange coincidence brought them together. They were neighbors, he had a wonderful shy smile, and they had a similar sense of humor. She learned his nickname, met his family, read his mail, and discovered that they were distant cousins. The catch to this love story? Eben has been dead for a century, killed on June 12, 1918, in the blood-soaked wheat fields of Belleau Wood in France. Follow the journey of Eben “Bunny” Bradbury from his doorstep on Bromfield Street to the battlefields of France, and how the love and support of his hometown, a century later, helped to bring the story of “our boy” to life.

Saturday, July 29, 3:00 to 4:30 pm. *Plum Island – Camp Sea Haven, Grape Island, Stage Island and The Ipswich Bluffs. Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, Plum Island Turnpike. Join Ghlee Woodworth, Stephanie Cobb, Ellie Bailey and Kate Murray for a visual journey about Camp Sea Haven founded in 1947 for children afflicted with polio; Grape Island once a small community of fishermen, farmers, and clam diggers; and beautiful Stage Island, also known as The Ipswich Bluffs, whose inhabitants engaged in farming, salt works, fishing and resort activities. Please come prepared to share your own memories and pictures.

Sunday, July 30, 10:00 am – Noon *Superior Courthouse Open House, Bartlet Mall. Visit the 1805 courthouse, designed by Charles Bullfinch, and learn about its history and beautiful interior and exterior architecture including the courtroom where President John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster tried cases. Presented by Essex County Clerk of Courts Tom Driscoll and the Greater Newburyport Bar Association.

Sunday, July 30, 10:00 to 11:30 am. *Coins, Coins, Coins. Ellen T. Brown Chapel, Oak Hill Cemetery. Brown and State Streets. Visitors are encouraged to bring old coins for evaluation. Speak with one of the area’s most knowledgeable rare coin specialists, Rick Bagg who will answer your questions about coin collecting, buying and selling coins and assembling and appraising collections.

Sunday July 30, Noon to 1:00 pm. *Researching Your Historic Home. Ellen T. Brown Chapel, Oak Hill Cemetery. Brown and State Streets. Facilitators: Linda Tulley, researcher of the city’s historic homes and librarian archivist Sharon Spieldenner. What do you know about the historic home you live in? It has a tale to tell. Learn how to research the history of your home–learn its past. Researching your house’s history is like solving a mystery – collecting clues, retracing steps, and possibly unearthing a trove of fascinating stories.

Sunday, July 30, Noon – 1:00 pm *Old South Church Tour, 29 Federal Street, 978 465 9666;; Meet at the front doors. Step right in to living history and experience Old South Church the way church used to be in the 1700’s! From the crypt of Rev. George Whitefield to the Whispering Galleries and the slave pews, your tour of Old South Church on Federal Street will be steeped in history.

Sunday, July 30, 2:30 – 4:00 pm and Tuesday, Aug. 1, 11:00 – 12:30 pm, *Clipper Heritage Trail’s “Along the Water’s Edge” Waterfront Harbor Tour. Boardwalk near Black Cow restaurant. Tickets go fast! Reservations can be made online at Join local historian Ghlee Woodworth and marine ecologist Captain Paul Aziz aboard the Yankee Clipper and enjoy a 90 minute cruise along the beautiful Merrimack River. Step back in time and hear about shipyards, Caldwell’s Rum, and a castle as we cruise upriver to Amesbury. On the return leg, the Yankee Clipper takes us along the shores of Joppa, home of clammers, fishermen, and hunters, as we discover the timeless significance of our local estuary.

Monday, July 31, 7:00 to 8:00 pm *Urban Renewal: Demolition or Restoration. Newburyport’s Story. Public Library Program Room. Like many communities in the early 1960s, Newburyport was at an economic crossroads. Factories closed, storefronts were boarded up, and the new wave of shopping malls swept through the country. Only one official signature away, urban renewal threatened to demolish our historic downtown and replace it with a modern shopping center. Ghlee Woodworth will take you through a visual journey to learn how the community and its citizens came together to save the charm and character of the historic downtown.

Tuesday, August 1 – Saturday, August 5, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. *Piel Craftsmen: 3 1/2 Center Street. Established over 68 years ago. Piel Craftsmen have produced over 35,000 hand crafted wooden ship models and restored thousands of ship model wrecks to their original condition. Come in and see models being made and restored and nautical gifts of the time honored sailors art of Ships in Bottles, Scrimshaw, Nautical prints, books, and many other nautical gifts.

Wednesday, August 2, 7:00 to 8:00 pm, *The U.S. Coast Guard and Yankee Homecoming – A Winning Team. Public Library Program Room. Join Ghlee E. Woodworth and learn about the beginnings of the U. S. Coast Guard in the late 1700s, see photographs of the early Life Saving Stations and lighthouses, and hear of the role of Yankee Homecoming in bringing national attention to Newburyport as the birthplace of the Coast Guard. In 2011 and 2016, Newburyport was designated by the U. S. Congress as a Coast Guard City, one of twenty one in the United States.

Thursday, August 3, 10:00 to 11:30 am *Tiptoe Through the Tombstones, Oak Hill Cemetery, State and Brown Streets, Brown Chapel. Join Ghlee Woodworth and take a walk through beautiful Oak Hill Cemetery and visit some of the gravesites featured in Ghlee’s award winning book, Tiptoe Through the Tombstones, Oak Hill Cemetery. Also hear about the successful gravestone restoration project and visit Brown Chapel, now open for events.

Friday, August 4, 4:00 to 5:30 pm, *Clipper Heritage Trail, Down Along and the Ridge. Meet at March’s Hill, top of Bromfield St. Walk along beautiful High Street and hear about the history of March’s Hill and homes of sea captains, an architect, an American Revolutionary soldier, ship riggers, and benefactors. The tour begins and ends at March’s Hill.

Saturday, August 5, 10:00 to 11:30 am. *A Maritime Walk along Water Street. The Industrialized Waterfront – Its Rise and Decline. Join Skip Motes in front of the Firehouse Center for the Arts for an illustrated walk ending at Federal Street.





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