First Time? Here’s Three Easy Steps

“If This House Could Talk” is going on 7 years, and every year sees new homes with new signs, signs we’ve seen before, and repeat homes with different signs. And every year we get asked “What’s this all about? How can I participate? How can I come up with a story?”

So let’s answer those three important questions. Each with 3 easy to remember points or steps.

What’s This All About?

  1. The What and Why: We in Newburyport celebrate our old homes for a week during Yankee homecoming by putting homemade signs in front with stories about the house, or the people that lived in it. Can be old, new, borrowed, blue…oh wait that’s another piece of advice for another type of event…..but it works!
  2. The How: RULES: There are none! It’s grass roots. No formal tour. No organization. Create a sign, put it up on your home. Creativity rules – and it’s a great project for kids! Explore this website for pictures of prior year’s signs for ideas.
  3. The When: Post the signs anytime during Yankee Homecoming; July 30-August 7. We’ll have a list of homes (and online map) available for downloading; watch this website and facebook page as we get closer to see the excitement build.

How can I participate?

  1. Add you address to the list so people know you are part of it — at (we don’t collect addresses – email or other – and you’ll never hear from us again, so it’s not a marketing scam or hacker trick)
  2. If you need poster board we’ll have some at the library for pick up (Please – ITHCT signs only!)
  3. Finally, decide to make a sign! and DO IT! (tips for newbies in the next three points)

How can I come up with a story?

  1. Easy Peasy for many now – check out Mary Baker’s map and website. Your house may already be listed, and many house and people stories are there for your use.
  2. Make an appointment with the Newburyport Public Library archival center. Archivist Sharon Spieldenner and her volunteer staff is there, ready to help research your home and occupants!

The Preservation Trust is a sponsor of “Of This House Could Talk”. The Newburyport Public Library Archival center is an integral part of it, too. Proceeds from the sales of picture books (published every other year) go towards the Trust’s work to help preserve our heritage.

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