Noah Quater raises the signal flags in the new hands-on children's display
In 2016 the Counting House Museum offered an exhibit that combines three different displays produced in the past few years by the historical society, including one funded by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council.
The Counting House is on the corner of Main and Liberty Streets. Visiting hours are Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm from June through October, and year round by appointment. Admission is by donation.
As a new feature, the museum offers children the chance to hoist signal flags using a block and tackle actually used aboard a Seacoast vessel, and search the museum on a scavenger hunt. Visitors are also invited to peruse local history reference books and archives.
The story of South Berwick begins in 1630s with the arrival of English settlers and their initial successful trade with the local natives, the Wabanaki. Part one of the exhibit features pottery pieces, maps, and narratives from this time period.
Part two of the exhibit focuses on Berwick’s role in the Revolutionary War, and its role in shipbuilding, including maritime items on display. Berwick joined the Continental Congress in 1776 in declaring war on Britain, and sent a militia to fight in the war.
As Berwick expanded geographically up the Salmon Falls River, South Berwick was established as a separate town in 1814. Even as Main Street grew, so did the ship-building and milling operations along the river. Part three of the exhibit focuses on the story of the Portsmouth Manufacturing Company, and on the history of the Counting House. The workers, often young women from farm families, produced cotton sheeting.