Explore Maritime Trades in Early Colonial Times

A special event, "Down at the Landing: Maritime Trades in Early Colonial Times," will be held at Counting House Park, on Liberty Street in South Berwick, on June 2nd from 10 am-4 pm. The Old Berwick Historical Society presents this event in conjunction with the public opening of the Counting House Museum for its summer season. The museum currently features the exhibit Forgotten Frontier: Untold Stories of the Piscataqua. The program and the museum are free to the public.

Barrel makingReenactors will demonstrate the trades of barrel making, basket weaving, rope making, ship rigging and doctoring at sea at the head of tide in South Berwick, along the Salmon Falls River. Visitors will be able to talk with presenters, and participate in some of the trades.

The all-day program invites history enthusiasts, craftspeople, maker space enthusiasts, educators, families and children to the riverside park to see the trades of a working port that sustained communities throughout the Piscataqua region for over 200 years. 

“For our second year of the Forgotten Frontier exhibit, we want to give glimpses of what life was like as the frontier become more populated,” said Nicole St. Pierre, the society’s vice-president. “One of the trades that made the biggest impact on our town, and the region, was shipping. It was on this riverbank, from the 1700s through the early 1900s, that gundalows and other craft moored against the granite bulwarks that still can be seen today.” A model of a gundalow, as well as a small display about them, can be found on the second floor of the museum.

Guests are encouraged to discover more about maritime heritage at the museum. Forgotten Frontier hosts an eclectic cast of characters including ambitious merchants, tenacious farmers, disenfranchised Quakers, freed African slaves, Scottish prisoners of war, and fierce loyalists to the King of England who struggled to coexist in the Piscataqua region of Maine and New Hampshire, set against a backdrop of raids and skirmishes with the native Wabanaki people and their French allies. The exhibit brings to light long-buried clues about a regional identity rooted in diversity, adversity and resilience.

The Counting House Museum, located at 2 Liberty Street, is open to the public from June through October on Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm-4pm. Admission is free, donations are gratefully accepted. 

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