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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. Events are all free unless otherwise indicated.

Saturday, July 28 – Saturday; 10 am – noon; rain date July 29. *Through the Lens. Explore Newburyport’s historic architecture from behind the camera in this combination walking tour and photography lesson led by Dan Fionte, photographer and history buff.  You will meander down some of the most historic and picturesque streets in Newburyport. Designed for beginning to intermediate level photographers. Cost: $25 for museum members; $35 for non-members. More info at or call: 978 462-2681.

Saturday, July 28 – Saturday, August 4, 10:00 – 5:00 PM. *Merrimack Valley 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 28 and Sunday, July 29, Noon – 4 pm; Aug. 1, Wed. – Aug. 3, Fri.; 10 am – 4 pm; Sat. Aug., 4, 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 28 – Sunday, 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.  Online map: or see for details.

Saturday, July 28, 10:00 – 11:00; Joppa History. People’s Methodist Church, Purchase Street. Join Tom Horth on a visual journey and talk about Joppa history, Newburyport’s Southend in the first half of the 20th Century, with a focus on some of the events and institutions that made it a very special place to grow up. Afterwards enjoy a delicious bowl of chowder!

Saturday, July 28, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm *Chowder, Chowder, Chowder. People’s Methodist Church, Purchase Street. Enjoy a scrumptious 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.

Saturday, July 28, 1:00 – 2:30. *Girls of Joppa”. People’s Methodist Church, Purchase Street. Stop in for a cup of chowder then join us for local historian Jean Doyle’s documentary about Newburyport’s Joppa residents: Jean Doyle, Pat Sayward and Ginny Lowell sharing memories of growing up in Joppa.

Saturday, July 28, 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.

Sunday, July 29, 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 29, 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 29, 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 29, Noon – 1:00 pm *Old South Church Tour, 29 Federal Street,; 978 465 9666. Meet at the Federal Street front doors. Step right in and experience the way the church used to be in the 1700’s! Your tour will be steeped in history as you learn of Paul Revere’s bell, see spittoons in the sanctuary, descend into the crypt and discover a forgotten Founding Father buried directly under the pulpit!

Sunday, July 29, 2:30 – 4:00 pm and Tuesday, July 31, 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! Make reservations 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 time less significance of our local estuary.

Monday, July 30, 7:00 to 8:00 pm *Urban Renewal: Demolition or Restoration. Newburyport’s Story. Public Library Program Room. Back by popular demand! 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. 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 our historic downtown. Seats fill up quickly!

Tuesday, July 31 – Saturday, August 4, 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 1, 10:00 to 11:00 am. *Clipper Heritage Trail, Historic Downtown. Meet at Brown Square, Pleasant St. Join Ghlee Woodworth and hear about John Quincy Adams first love, William Lloyd Garrison and African American residents, and why the Port of Newbury became Newburyport.

Wednesday, August 1, 7:00 to 8:00 pm. *The Tower Clocks of Newburyport. Public Library Program Room. Join Jack Santos to hear the stories behind Newburyport’s own tower clocks. In the era of the Internet, smart phones, and digital watches, we take “time” for granted. Yet, historically, our tower clocks were key to shipping and industry – critical for ship captains to calibrate their navigation, and the reference for factory schedules, because “time is money”.

Thursday, August 2, 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 3, 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.

Friday, August 3, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. *A Tale of Two Beaches – Plum Island & Salisbury Beach. Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, 6 Plum Island Turnpike. Join John Macone to learn how these beaches evolved from remote and inhospitable barrier beaches into popular destinations with distinct personalities, and about the dramatic events that have altered the coastline and effected the communities: erosion from severe storms, devastating fires, and shipwrecks.

Saturday, August 4, 10:00 to 11:00 am. *Walking Tour of the Industrialized Waterfront. Join Skip Motes in front of the Firehouse Center for the Arts for an illustrated hour-long walking tour of the densely industrialized waterfront of the past down to the Coast Guard Station. Imagine trains carrying thousands of tons of coal loaded from 60 foot high coal storage pockets rolling down the tracks where you are now walking on the new Clipper City Rail Trail.



BONS 2014Best_of_Newburyport