If you were a kid of the '80s or '90s who grew up in New Hampshire, there is a really good chance that you took at least one trip through New Hampshire’s past at a certain Federalist-style building on Route 16 in Glen.

The same is true for families who ended up at Story Land on a rainy day.

In the days before we could Google any question, we had the family behind Story Land created an immersive historical experience centered around the history of New Hampshire.

What was Heritage New Hampshire?

Set inside a large building adjacent to Story Land, Heritage New Hampshire gave guests the chance to walk through 400 years of New Hampshire history.

Guests would start their journey in Portsmouth, England.  They would learn about what life was like aboard the ships used to take the colonists to New England.  Then, they’d hop aboard one of those ships for a multi-media presentation about the journey.  My favorite part was that the storm sequence even featured 'rain' being blown on you.


After the sea voyage, guests would arrive in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (known as Strawbery Banke at the time).  They’d meet a woodsman who explained that the first settlers met Native Americans who taught them about hunting and fishing in the region.


From there, guests would make their way through various scenes depicting the American Revolution, Industrial Revolution, and American Civil War.  Guests would also have a chance to see what New Hampshire homes looked like during various historical periods.

One of the last stops on the tour was a visit to a real barn from the early 1800s.  The barn, which had been moved from its original location to Heritage New Hampshire, housed historical artifacts, information about famous Granite Staters, and items invented here.

When I was an employee at the attraction, one of my jobs was to demonstrate the Segway scooter that was housed in the barn.


Where did the idea for Heritage New Hampshire come from?

Bob and Ruth Morrell, the founders of Story Land, had spent much of the first years of the 1970s working on a major expansion to the children’s amusement park.  Once that was completed, they set their eyes on new projects.

As the unpopular Vietnam War was winding down, it became clear to Bob that patriotism across the country was very low.  Bob Morrell wanted to create a new attraction that would boost patriotism.  He decided the best way to do that was to create an attraction that would teach families about the history of New Hampshire.

Opening just in time for the United States bicentennial in 1976, in a time before the internet and streaming services, tens of thousands of guests flocked to the attraction each week.  A longtime employee once told me that during the first few summers of operation, it was not unheard of to see over 5,000 people come through the attraction each day.

As time went on and trends changed, the attraction saw fewer guests.  By the early 2000s, the attraction rarely saw more than a trickle of guests come through each day.

What happened to Heritage New Hampshire?

The attraction closed for good in the fall of 2006.  Ironically, the closing coincided with the passing of Stoney Morrell, the son of Bob & Ruth Morrell, and the longtime president of Story Land and Heritage New Hampshire.

For about a decade after the closure, the building sat empty.

In 2017, it was announced that a new attraction would be occupying the space.  The Living Shores Aquarium would be a year-round aquarium that showcases sea life from New England and around the world.

After several years of development, the aquarium opened in 2019.  You can learn more about it from the attraction’s website.

While many were sad to see Heritage New Hampshire go, it is great to see that it has been replaced by an equally awesome new attraction.

Check out these videos showing what the attraction was like:

Do you have memories of Heritage New Hampshire?  Share them with us by messaging us in our app.

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