Strawbery Banke Museum | Building Community

  • Published January 20, 2021
  • / By Marts&Lundy

It takes a village. It takes a movement. It takes neighbors talking over fences to build community.

In the early 1950s, federal officials slated the Puddle Dock neighborhood in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for urban renewal. The blighted area was scheduled for demolition until local activists stepped in to salvage history. They established Strawbery Banke Museum and saved 30 historic buildings from the bulldozers of progress.

Today, this living history museum highlights a single neighborhood—from 1695 to the present—through architecture, archaeology, scholarship and storytelling, which focuses primarily on the many immigrant groups that settled in Puddle Dock over the centuries.

Strawbery Banke turned to Marts & Lundy to develop a compelling case for support as part of its $13 million campaign to restore three historic buildings, create a state-of-the-art preservation facility, and increase the endowment for education programs.

To bring these funding priorities to life, the case profiles a self-taught preservation carpenter, a costumed role player in a restored WWII Victory Garden, and New Hampshire’s own Teacher of the Year who works summers for the Museum’s history camp, among other folks close to the mission.

Our case draws readers into an extraordinarily compelling plot: How does a neighborhood evolve over time in response to economic, social, political, cultural and climatic changes? Our charge was clear from the start: to remind people that days-gone-by can speak compellingly to the here and now.

We are so proud that our case – written by Mart&Lundy’s Anne Reusché and designed by Bill Brassil of our affiliate firm, Creative Commune–made a little history of its own. The case received first place honors in The New England Museum Association’s 2019 Publication Awards Competition.

Building Community: The Campaign for Strawbery Banke