Two NH Humanities Coming to Hillsborough

Withington Barn, currently owned by the Jutzies


Do you have a favorite barn, perhaps where you visited when you were a child? Or are you Irish and curious how your people happened to come to be in NH?

History Alive is offering you two free NH Humanities programs.


The first is a talk about History of Agriculture as told by the Barns of NH presented by John C. Potter, who as a child visited his grandfather who worked in the Rosewald Farm barn in Hillsboro (now Farmsteads of NH).
Barns can tell us a lot about the history of agriculture in our state. In the colonial period, New Hampshire was a rural, agrarian state, with small subsistence farms dotting the landscape. The barn, which housed animals and stored crops, was an important part of these farms. Come learn how the styles of barns changed to accommodate the changes in agriculture, as well as accommodate the growing population, and adapt to railroads and the Industrial Revolution.
John C. Porter, author of Preserving Old Barns: Preventing the Loss of a Valuable Resource, will demonstrate how these majestic barn structures represent Yankee ingenuity, hard work, and skilled craftsmanship, as well as providing a link to our past that adds to the state’s scenic beauty. It will be presented outdoors at the above barn. This will be held at 1PM on Sunday, August 16th . Feel free to bring your own picnic lunch and chair or blanket and join us at Hillsboro Center.

The second is a talk on Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History: Fateful Memory, Indelible Legacy. It will be presented by Mary Kelly Dr. Kelly from Franklin Pierce College. Drawing on material from her book, Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History. Dr. Kelly will discuss the role of the famine in shaping Irish-American ethnic identity. Focusing on the long-term impact of the episode between the 1840s and 1990s, she explores the shadowed landscape of Famine legacy and its status in Irish-American culture today. Referencing contemporary press accounts and the writings of Famine survivors and their descendants, Dr. Kelly shows how interrogating Famine memory enables the Irish on both sides of the Atlantic to deal with the material and emotional inheritance of this tragic experience.

However, due to Covid pandemic, this one will be held at 7PM on Wednesday 26th August via Zoom (Registration required) with the help of Hillsborough Historical Society instead of on History Alive Day. If you can’t come join us on the 16th August, then join us in this special talk later this month.


Finish the summer with these two informative and interesting free programs.

History Alive is Not Dead!

After news of many of the major summer and fall festivals and fairs being cancelled, you might be assuming that History Alive will not happen. Not true!

This year, a FREE special History Alive event is being planned for all local residents to sample what History Alive is all about, and to encourage our visitors to attend the wonderful events being planned next year August 21-22, 2021 when celebrating the 250 year history of the town of Hillsborough.

To eliminate all overhead costs and make it available to everyone, HISTORIC HILLSBOROUGH CENTER will be the ONLY site and the event will be for only ONE day, Sunday, August 16, 2020. Due to scheduling, social distancing, and attendance issues, Jones Road reenactments are not occurring this summer, but are planned to return bigger and better in 2021. However the Center will have a sampling of reenactors demonstrating trades and activities sparsely spread throughout the Center.

In order to enable safe social distancing, the Commons, church sites, Lookout and Cemetery will be used as well as a large part of the field south of the Methodist Church. Masks will be encouraged. All activities will ce held outside. Here is a chance to stretch your legs before summer is over and schools reopen. Some of the activities planned include:

• Church services at both the two churches- (Methodist and Congregational)

•Two NH Humanities speakers-

• John C. Potter on the History of Barns in NH (appropriately located by one of the larger barns in the Center) and

• Mary C. Kelly on the Immigration of Irish to NH.

We will have a picnic basket on the greens (bring your own basket of food and any blanket or chairs you prefer).

• A community picnic- bring your own food and beverages, popups, blankets, and chairs.

-there will be adequate space to spread out with friends and family.

• Music

•Demonstrations of historic craftsmen/artisans, displays of quilts, historic women from the Center, hands-on old fashioned laundry, and other exhibits and vendors of interest.

• Tours of the Cemetery and Lookout site and self guided tours around the historic village. Do you know which place was the Rising Sun Tavern? Or the Country Store? Or the “Nunnery”? Come explore the Center.

• A PARADE of all those in costume walking around the Center led by an old fashioned bicyclist.

Put Sunday, August 16th on your calendar. We hope to see you at Historic Hillsborough Center and to keep this exciting Hillsborough event ALIVE! If you have questions or want to volunteer, give Marian a call at 478-5650. More details to follow soon!