Local History: 2423 – Portsmouth in 400 Years

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Program Description


As Portsmouth honors the 400 years since its settlement in 1623, memories and stories of the city’s past have sprung to the surface. The history of this area is all around us and there is no shortage of resources for anyone wishing to learn about Portsmouth. But what have we learned from the past? And how will that inform our future? We now turn our eyes to the next 400 years and what lies in store. Join us at the library as a panel of community leaders share their visions of a future Portsmouth, considering everything from the climate crisis and sea level rise to education, demographics, and everyday life.

Registration is recommended. This event is free and open to all.

Learn About the Panelists

Steve Butzel, moderator, served as director of the Portsmouth Public Library (NH) from 2014-2022 and is currently the interim library director at the Fiske Public Library in Wrentham, MA. Through his business, Uncomfortable Fun, Steve is also a leadership coach and organizational consultant who works 1-on-1 with organizational leaders, hosts leadership retreats, and speaks at conferences around the country. He earned his MLIS from Simmons University and his BA from Yale University.

Lucia Hillman is a senior at Portsmouth High School where she is a member of the Sustainability Club. She has lived in downtown Portsmouth for 15 years and cares deeply about its vitality and natural life. Lucia loves to surf (or pretend to surf), listening to podcasts, and moving her body in various ways. Her passion for the environment has led her to decrease her carbon footprint, whether it's walking to work or supporting local businesses over others. She also loves learning about different ecosystems, the gut microbiome, neuroscience, and the human mind-body connection. Lucia’s plans for the future include taking a four-week trip to Indonesia this summer, focusing on sustainable development and marine conservation, and taking a gap year before attending university. She is excited to participate in this panel and contribute to a creative discussion!

Brian Murphy is a father, husband, educator, and architect. He lives in Portsmouth where he and his wife founded Placework, an architecture and planning firm. His work focuses on the effects of buildings on the environment and mitigating their role in climate change. Brian also teaches architectural design at UNH as well as topics related to architecture and the environment for middle school and high school programs. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects and a Living Future Accredited profession through the International Living Future Institute. 

Anna Nuttall has enjoyed working in art education as a teacher and administrator on the Seacoast of New Hampshire and Massachusetts for the last 26 years. She enjoys working with all ages, mediums, and themes in her roles at Portsmouth Middle School as well as through various institutions and community partnership projects. Anna received her B.S. in Art Education and M.Ed. in Integrated Arts from Plymouth State University. In addition to teaching, she has served on the boards of the City of Portsmouth Cultural Commission and Seacoast African American Cultural Center; as Director of Visual Arts Education for Portsmouth Music and Arts Center; and Chair of the Department of Visual Arts for the Portsmouth Public Schools. Anna is a recipient of NH Governor’s Award for Art Education.

Rodney Rowland is the Director of Facilities and Environmental Sustainability at Strawbery Banke Museum where he is responsible for 37 buildings spread over 9 acres and oversees the Facilities, Restoration and Landscape Departments. He co-curator a 2021 exhibit at the museum titled, “Water Has a Memory: Protecting Strawbery Banke Museum and Portsmouth from Sea Level Rise” and he represents the museum on the Local Advisory Committee for the Historic Resource Study for the City of Portsmouth.