Arts & Culture

• Check out our list of New Hampshire museums, galleries, performance venues & independent bookstores, sorted by region.

• You can also find art exhibits, book readings, live music and more on our Public Events Calendar.

8.03.15: Drones, Autopsies, & Let's Be Less Stupid

Aug 3, 2015
Ars Electronica via Flickr CC /

Drone war proponents say that unmanned aircraft save American lives -- but what's life like for drone operators? On today's show, a look at drone fatigue. Then, brain fitness. Does taking fish oil, and playing brain fitness video games actually help with memory loss? And finally, a forensic turn! Autopsies are pretty cool, but Hollywood may have them all wrong.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Bookshelf is NHPR's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State. All Things Considered features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. 

steve lodefink via Flickr CC /

We are of course smack in the middle of summer, a great time to get out and play lawn games like croquet, cornhole, or bocce – games that have survived in some cases for thousands of years. Today we dig in to those games, along with some alternatives that are on the rise. Then, technology has altered the way we experience the present and past – so we ask, are iPhones really ruining summer camp? And, according to a recent analysis, pop music is getting stupider. But, does music have to be smart to be good? 

7.19.15: The Museum Show

Jul 17, 2015
Chris Ford via Flickr CC / //

Most high stakes crimes require skill, bravado and planning…but few stir the public imagination or require the meticulous efforts of fine art frauds. Word of Mouth goes behind the scenes of the museum world, starting with a story about the extreme lengths art forgers will travel to dupe their marks. Then we take a look at the many dangers art can face….inside the museum. And, museums use digital and forensic technology to solve complicated art mysteries. Sometimes, it’s just old fashioned detective work…we’ll talk to a costume historian and dress detective about her work here in New Hampshire. Join us for a day at the museum.

Where Were You: The Mekons

Jul 16, 2015
Press Photo /

We're better off crafting our own things in isolation. The best times when the band has really been? When we thought nobody was that interested in us, so I think that's when the really creative moments have come about, when we didn't think there was anything at stake, when we could just do what we wanted. - Jon Langford

Rumor has it, they once asked a bass player to leave because he was too good.  

Alex Proimos via Flickr Creative Commons /

Is authenticity really essential to educational and scientific value? Now, advanced 3D printing gives museum curators the option of keeping rare artifacts safely kept away -- while providing no less science or history to visitors. On today's show, we talk about 3D printing at the Smithsonian. Then, a job you probably didn't know existed:  a costume historian, a woman who makes mannequins for museums to show historic textiles on. But she's also somewhat of a dress detective. And finally, a British rock band that has been together for nearly 40 years -- no breakup, no scandal, no drug addiction. It's the Mekons, the coolest band you may have never heard of. 

American author Erskine Caldwell was born in Georgia in 1903. His most famous novel, 1932’s Tobacco Road, boldly addressed the South’s inequalities during the Great Depression.

“He was writing about racial relations when one did not write about racial relations," said Phillip Cronenwett of Dartmouth College in 1989. "He was writing about the difference between the rural wealthy and the rural poor when one did not talk about that sort of thing.”

This week, we’re taking a fresh look at Caldwell, whose writing depicted what he saw as the realities of society – however unpleasant those realities might be.

Marius Watz via Flickr CC / //

Fifty-five years ago, Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird gave the nation a glimpse of the deep south. Soon afterwards the author and the town that inspired the classic book disappeared from public imaginations. Today, we take a look at the conflicted history of a town that produced two great American authors. Then, the skill, planning, and access required to successfully dupe the art world easily captivates the public imagination. We’ll explore the meticulous effort behind some of the greatest art frauds. And, few people realize the danger works of art can face while safely housed inside a museum – from docents.

Courtesy of the Glessner House Museum in Chicago.

About seventy years ago, a North Country woman was one of the earliest proponents of forensics and an  analytical approach to crime investigation best known to many from the television program CSI. 

6.30.15: Pop Songs, The Steel Wheels & Mountain Men

Jun 30, 2015
RubySky Photography /

According to a recent analysis, pop music is getting stupider.  Today, we ask a critic whether music has to be smart to be good. Plus, Merril Garbus of tUnE-yArDs offers a firsthand look at what goes into a catchy hook. And, a member of the mountain string band Steel Wheels explains how flatpicking master Doc Watson moved him give up punk music and pick up the banjo. 

From the archives this week, former NHPR arts producer Phillip Bragdon caught up​ with Karl Drerup after he won the Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award in 1989.

When Karl Drerup and his wife Gertrude first came to their little house in Thornton in 1946, it was the end of a very long journey – one that started in 1930 when Drerup left his native Germany to study in Italy. After Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, a return to Germany was impossible. Gertrude was Jewish, and Karl had designed anti-government posters. The Drerups took refuge first for several years in the Canary Islands, and finally settled in New York City in 1937.

  When he was young, George H.W. Bush, got some advice from his mother, first about life, and then about tennis: Don’t brag and bend your knees when you volley.

Bush’s White House Chief of Staff, former New Hampshire Governor John H. Sununu, says Bush’s reluctance to talk about himself has meant his presidency has been overlooked. Sununu’s new book is an effort to change that – it’s called The Quiet Man, and he joined Weekend Edition to talk about it. 

Courtesy of New Hampshire Audubon

This week on Something Wild we further demonstrate that nature is everywhere…by going inside. We’re at the Currier Museum of Art looking at an exhibit of prints by John James Audubon from about 175 years ago. 

Sarah Neufeld grew up playing the violin, but she never really approached the instrument in the classical sense. To her, the violin was just a different kind of guitar. When Colin Stetson picks up the saxophone, the once familiar brass woodwind sounds unfamiliar. Together, the duo push the sonic boundaries of their traditional instruments.

Jason Moon / NHPR

We're checking in booksellers and a librarian for their picks of what to read this summer.

Via The Thing in the Spring Website

An arts fair in Peterborough this weekend is aimed at the more budget-conscious arts consumer. Broke, the Affordable Arts Fair, features locally crafted work all priced under fifty dollars. The fair is being held this Saturday as part of the annual Thing in the Spring music festival.

Mary Goldthwaite-Gagne is co-founder of the fair, and she joined Morning Edition to talk about the event.

What's the idea behind the fair?

Courtesy of New Hampshire Audubon, Concord, New Hampshire.

In his groundbreaking work The Birds of North America, John James Audubon brought together the art world and the outdoors in a new way. It served as both a scientific record of North American bird species and a landmark in how to represent wildlife in art.

What’s less well known is the massive project Audubon took on after The Birds of North America.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

Judson Hale is best known for his a half century at Yankee Magazine and a long tenure as editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

But Judson Hale's story is much more than magazines. 

Jenny Cestnik via flickr Creative Commons /

Despite the fact that New Hampshire has one of the nation’s lowest poverty rates and is often rated as a top spot to raise children, indicators show that the gap between poor and wealthy families is growing.  On today’s show we join NHPR’s series, The First Decade, with a broader view of the impact of housing and neighborhoods on a child’s well-being. Then, an inside look at what really goes into designing effective affordable housing and how even the most seemingly trivial details can make or break a project.

Opera North brings classical music theatre to school groups and local theaters. Its summer festival has a wide following, and its outreach program brings free live opera to school groups. Lindsey Anderson sang the role of the Julia Child in Bon Appetit! which the company brought to Upper Valley schools. 

mclcbooks via flickr Creative Commons| /

For some people, the day to day grind of the work week can be soul sucking, but for some, a job is more than just a paycheck, it's a passion. On today's show we'll talk to a rare book dealer who found his calling in the pages of antique books. Also today, in the early days of medicine, doctors weren't always revered by their patients. We'll hear about the so-called "Doctors Riot" that happened in 1788 New York City.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The year is 1842, and Christopher Robinson, a poor young man living with his family on an island just north of Scotland, has just been accused of stealing his father’s small savings. The real culprit is his brother, who has just fled their small town. As Christopher chases his brother, we encounter a world in which there is a vast difference between the haves and the have-nots, and a cast of characters seeking opportunities for better lives.

Matt Ward via Flickr (

Is there a song that has stuck with you for years?  Maybe a tune your parents sang to you as a child, the notes imprinted on your mind and became a part of your being.  As the Something Wild team shared the melodies imparted to us, the conversation turned (as it often does) to birds.  Is our musical learning similar to that of our avian neighbors?

NHPR, Sheryl Rich-Kern

The Players’ Ring Theatre maintains a black box theatre space, owned by the city of Portsmouth. Free of charge, it allows local production companies to use the space to produce their works. When Todd Hunter was a senior at UNH, one of his scripts landed in the hands of Players Ring founder Gary Newton.

For most pet-owners, dogs are a symbol of love and loyalty.  Throughout history though, man's bestie has also held darker associations.  Today, we talk about death and the dog, from Greek mythologies three-headed hell-hound named Cerberus, to the modern use of cadaver-detection dogs. Plus, we go on the trail with a blind hiker and his guide dog as they summit 48 of New Hampshire's 4,000-footers in a single winter!

The Juan MacLean will be playing live at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth at 9:00 pm tonight (April 29th). Tickets and more information on the show can be found at this link.

When you think of electronic musicians, DJ's that spin thumping dance tracks to swarms of sweaty dancers at A-list parties, do you think of Dover, NH?