Counting House Museum Exhibits

Current Exhibits

Permanent Exhibits

Main Floor: Berwick Begins

Your neighbors from the distant past–Humphrey Chadbourne, Sagamore Rowls, Patience Spencer and Thomas Holmes–return to the Counting House with the opening of Berwick Begins, a new permanent exhibition about the founding of the Berwicks almost 400 years ago. The culmination of a quarter-century of local archaeology and historical research, this exhibition tells the story of lives uprooted and rebuilt on Berwick soil in its turbulent first century. Curated by Dr. Emerson (Tad) Baker and Nina Maurer, in collaboration with Dr. Neill DePaoli.

Funded in part by the Chadbourne Fund and the Bequest of Pamela Ritter.

Second Floor: Village Voices: Tales of Enterprise and Endurance

The permanent exhibit, Village Voices: Tales of Enterprise and Endurance, occupies the historic second-floor hall of the Counting House Museum. The exhibit chronicles 400 years of enterprise in the South Berwick region through the lives of residents who have shaped key trades. The role of ingenuity and adaptation in sustaining work life is a primary focus of the exhibit.  

For four centuries, generations of South Berwick residents have sought a connection with the greater world for their livelihood, from shipping lumber to the West Indies in the 1700s to supplying fuel oil from Venezuela today.  

Enterprise entails risk--to homeland, habit, property and identity. Those risks have yielded wealth, but also misfortune. Success came through daring, but also endurance.

Stories of six individuals are presented using an array of historic objects, photographs and maps that illustrate South Berwick's economic transformation from 1630 to 2010: sawmilling, agriculture, shipbuilding and maritime trade, shoemaking and leatherworking, textile manufacturing, and small business.  

The ambitious exhibition and related support for the collection were made possible by grants from the Maine Humanities Council, the Davis Family Foundation, the Maine State Museum's New Century Community Program, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, P. Gagnon and Son, South Berwick Strawberry Festival Committee and individual donors.