About the Piscataqua Decorative Arts Society

The Piscataqua Decorative Arts Society is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote original historical research resulting in publication. Its primary focus is the greater Piscataqua region of New Hampshire and Maine, with connecting links to Massachusetts. The Society is based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The Society evolved from an idea discussed by Joyce Geary Volk and Janet McCracken, who were working on research related to the historic Warner House in Portsmouth. Volk knew that art historian, Mary Childs Black (1922-1992), had given a lecture in 1988 on her research of the large murals painted in Warner House, but there was no available text or record. Because Black's papers had been given to Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, DE, and were not yet catalogued, their immediate needs were made more difficult. They determined that it was important to create a recognized entity in the Piscataqua region for the deposit of research and information which would benefit students in the future.

Lecture Series & Publication
Established in 2001, the Society presents a series of lectures each year which are open to the public. The lectures present topics of interest and explore current research in the Fine and Decorative Arts of the region. The texts of the lectures are compiled every three years into a publication that is made broadly available. For a list of upcoming lectures, check our Calendar; for a sampling of past lectures, see Volume I, Volume II and Volume III of the Society's publication.

Research Stipend Award
The Society also awards a Research Stipend of $1000, given to a meritorious proposal for research furthering the study of the arts in the region. The first recipient was Abby Burch, whose work on Joseph Murphy (1796-1872), a cabinetmaker of South Berwick, Maine, is published in Volume III. The second recipient was Josh Probert, a doctoral student at Winterthur, whose research on Tiffany Stained Glass Windows in the region's summer coastal churches was presented in 2012. To apply for the PDAS Research Award, see Invitation for Proposal.

Annual membership in the Society is open to all and includes admission to the year's lectures and the triennial publication. You may also attend lectures on an individual basis. Most talks are held in Portsmouth on Tuesday evenings at 5:30pm, with wine and cheese served before each lecture.


Volume III Now Available

Volume II Now Available

For further information contact info@pdasociety.org