Manchester Historical Museum: What's Old is New: The Trask House Portico


This year is the 200th anniversary of Manchester’s Hooper-Trask house, built in the summer of 1823 for Nabby Hooper, a then-unmarried self-made banker and retail operator, and now the home of the Manchester Historical Museum at 10 Union Street.

Among the museum’s bicentennial undertakings is the restoration of a very important missing piece to downtown Manchester: the beautiful front entry portico at the center-point of the house.  The original, removed about a hundred years ago, was added to the house when it was enlarged in 1830 for Abigail Hooper and husband Capt. Richard Trask.

The restored portico will be the portal which welcomes museum-goers to an entirely new experience at the Museum, complete with interactive exhibits (some designed for young children) and a new room-by-room transformations (already under way) to relate a vivid narrative of Manchester’s people and enterprises in the 19th Century. 

One focus is Nabby Hooper (1788-1885), entrepreneur and builder of the house—the first woman in Massachusetts known to have built both her own business and her own residence.  Her story will be told through renovated and furnished rooms: a restored 1823 kitchen, a corner of her department store, and her parlor, restored to its original color scheme.

Other new exhibits will feature little-known Manchester stories about the pre-colonial indigenous people, the salt-cod fishery that sustained the town for nearly 200 years, its ascendancy as a furniture-manufacturer (1830-1880), and the advent of its fame as a summer colony and center of the arts and theatre.  In addition, spaces will accommodate art shows, lectures and community gatherings.

To mark this significant 200th anniversary, the Museum board has set a goal to raise $200,000 for the endowment in support of the new programming and to attract 200 new members at the outset of the third century of the Hooper-Trask house and its central place in the town.

The first celebratory event, a party with orchestral music and catered food and beverages, will be held at Sharksmouth Estate at Kettle Cove on Wednesday, June 7 and will include a presentation on “Winslow Homer In Manchester And Beyond” by Manchester author Bill Cross.  Tickets are available on the MHM website.

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