On September 19, 2022, the City Council voted unanimously to establish a Blue Ribbon Task Force to Study the Establishment of a Private/Public partnership to Properly Archive Historical Documents relating to the City of Portsmouth. 

The proposal presented by Councilor Vince Lombardi noted:


The history of Portsmouth is: 

  1. Nationally recognized as important to the history of the state and the country 
  2. Integral to the cultural identity of the City 
  3. A major tourism draw 
  4. Important to the economic viability of the City 
  5. Studied and documented by historians from all over the world 
  6. A repository of information about the people and cultures have lived here 
  7. Important for how citizens shape Portsmouth in the future 

The Issue 

The City and many organizations (and individuals) currently own and store documents and other materials relevant to the history of Portsmouth. 

The City and these organizations do not have adequate facilities to properly store and preserve these materials. 


Mayor McEachern created this Blue Ribbon Committee to study the feasibility of a public/private document archive that would provide the City and private organizations with a proper climate controlled and fire protected facility to preserve these records. 


This Task Force is charged with exploring options to create a public/private archive to protect documents related to the city’s past, present and future.

The task force will look in particular at:

  1. How the City and Portsmouth private historical organizations can join together to create a facility that meets the needs of archiving important records.
  2. How the pertinent materials are identified and judged as vital; what should not or cannot be included? What qualifies as Portsmouth history?
  3. What archiving methods should be used for each type of material to assure each type is protected effectively?
  4. What space will be required for such an effort? How will the space be identified, procured and maintained?
  5. How will the ongoing efforts be funded? What are the opportunities for establishing trust funds, local and state monies and private contributions?
  6. How will the archives ongoing leadership and management be structured and Implemented?

This Task Force will not be responsible for a plan to determine the maintenance and preservation of City records required to be archived under State and Federal laws and regulations.


The Task Force will be made up representatives from major city and non-profit groups whose missions relate directly to protecting Portsmouth history. This includes:

  • City of Portsmouth designee (such as a representative from the Library) The Portsmouth Athenaeum
  • Strawbery Banke Museum
  • The Portsmouth Historical Society, and
  • Such other entities as may be proposed by the City Council.


The Taskforce will provide written recommendations to the City Council by December 31, 2023, at which point it will sunset and if appropriate, a permanent oversight committee could be created by the City Council.