Portsmouth Museum Weighs Historic Preservation And Climate Change Risk

Brian Goetz is deputy director of Portsmouth’s Department of Public Works. In a way, his role is a government descendent of one of Portsmouth’s original colonists. (Annie Ropeik/NHPR)

The historic Strawbery Banke district is the epicenter of climate change in Portsmouth. One of the city’s most popular tourist destinations, it’s flooding more often due to seas and heavier rains.

And the Strawbery Banke Museum is facing choices that might once have been unthinkable: filling the basements of historic homes with concrete.

It’s an unconventional move that’s one part of an effort to adapt to climate change in the part of the city that’s most vulnerable to rising seas and heavier rains.

“We had to say, wait a second. One of the biggest threats that we’ve had to this site isn’t related to tourism, isn’t related to the decline in the stock market… it’s related to water,” said museum sustainability director Rodney Rowland. “And it seems like it’s everywhere.”

Rowland’s museum is at located the epicenter of climate change in Portsmouth. One of the city’s most popular tourist destinations, it’s flooding more often due to seas and heavier rains. Centuries of preserved culture are in jeopardy.

Click here for the full story from New Hampshire Public Radio.