2022 – Residents! Start Your Signs!

Yankee Homecoming is fast approaching, and so is “If This House Could Talk”.

This is our 7th Year – and we’re hoping everyone knows the drill. But in case you are new to “If This House Could Talk”, here’s a recap. Let’s focus on:

  • What “If This House Could Talk” is all about.
  • How to participate (and free help!)
  • What’s New for ’22

What’s “If This House Could Talk”?
It’s a community event we do during Yankee Homecoming (this year July 30-August 7). Residents of Newburyport are invited to put a poster on their home that talks about anything related to the house or people living there. Many choose to focus on the history of the house (since we have many old homes), while others choose to focus on interesting things that have happened, or family stories, from current day. Whether your house started talking in 1716 or 2016, it has an interesting story that can be told!

The intent is to generate interest in our community, provide a way for visitors to just walk around and learn things about Newburyport and the people living here, and encourage neighbors to interact as they discover and discuss their stories!

It’s a great family project, too! Kids love doing the research and creating the posters as a fun hands on alternative to screen time!

Once you are certain you are participating, get on the map! Enter your address at http://mapme.walknewburyport.com. That way people will have a guide for which houses actually have a poster. We’ll have printed maps at the library during Yankee Homecoming, and the online map is available now – watch it grow!

“If This House Could Talk” is sponsored by The Newburyport Preservation Trust, and supported by the Newburyport Archival Center as well as the Museum of Old Newbury.

How to participate!
Grab some poster board at the Library’s archival center, write a short paragraph of 2-3 sentences, and post it on your home. It’s that simple!

You can browse through the posts in this website to see what has been done in the past (for ideas). If you want to research the history of your home, head over to the Newburyport Public Library Archival Center where they would be happy to help (it’s worth calling first to arrange an appointment and insure staff is on duty). Or check out Mary Baker’s Interactive Newburyport History map that has an associated website, just chock full of interesting information on Newburyport historic homes- your home may already be on there, and your house’s story may be waiting for you.

What kind of poster board? Anything from Staples, CVS, Tom’s discount, or wherever. To waterproof it from those summer torrential rains, you can use clear shelf liner (also at Tom’s), or wrap it tightly with discarded cleaner bags (go to Panda Cleaners on State street and raid their discards box).

What’s New for ’22?

Vinyl poster from 2021!

Over the last few years, some of our more enterprising residents have gone one step further, and put their story on a vinyl banner. It’s awesome fun to design your own and show off your creativity. This is especially useful now that we are doing this year after year and many of us are reusing our sign (or in some cases annually rotating 2-3 stories from a stable of stories we find).

Resources we have found online for banner printing are:
Don’t discount the lead time needed, so get started soon!

Finally, Every other year we produce the “If This House Could Talk” photo book of the houses that put out signs. It’s a fundraiser for the Newburyport Preservation Trust, and makes for a great holiday gift for you favorite Newburyporter. See 2020’s version here. Bob Watts, one of the better known local photographers, is our lead photographer and does a fantastic job documenting the sign and the context of the sign.

From North End to South End to West End, let’s make “If This House Could Talk” the biggest and best this year!

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