Members of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Anniversary Committee spent months researching details on the sites that played important roles in the events of August and September 1905. Committee co-chairmen, Peter Bowman and Charles Doleac, detailed a timeline of the events that brought the peace conference to Portsmouth and a day-by-day account of the formal/informal diplomacy and private events so people can learn how “an uncommon commitment to peace became a common virtue” in Portsmouth in 1905.
They and historians Richard Candee (Trustee of the Portsmouth Historical Society) and Peter Randall (author of There Are No Victors Here: A Local Perspective on the Treaty of Portsmouth) have added details from the key sites in 1905, using original newspaper reports, diaries and letters from event participants, to bring them to life for modern visitors. Those sites formed the backdrop in 1905 and were the foundation of Centennial events:
· The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail -- visits many of the important sites of those 30 days in August 1905 and follows in the footsteps of Witte, Komura, their attaches and hosts to demonstrate how the people of Portsmouth helped create the atmosphere for peace and reconciliation through what today is called multi-track diplomacy..
· Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail Map -- provides the background for a self-guided map tour that allows visitors to walk, drive (and even kayak) the paths of multi-track diplomacy
The map's creators, Eliza and Herb McClennen of MAPSatWORK, Inc. and Bob Byrnes at Lightship Design, included many historical photographs and postcard images of the sites, thanks to the extensive photograph collection of the Treaty archives at the Portsmouth Athenaeum, Strawbery Banke, Portsmouth Historical Society and private collections.
Bob Byrnes and curator Hayato Sakura worked to maximize the visual impact of the map in the exhibit by incorporating the actual images from 1905, along with artifacts such as the chair used by Baron Komura in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard conference chambers, a pen he used to sign the Treaty in the exhibit, and other rare items made available from private collections.
All of the work on the map, exhibit and developing the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail was funded by the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire with a grant from the Center for Global Partnership of the Japan Foundation. Additional support came from the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism, the Otto Fund of the Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation and a host of other programs and foundations providing resources to the community organizations participating in the Centennial celebration.
Many of the sites on the Peace Treaty Trail hosted special 100th Anniversary events in 2005, including:
· Downtown “Portsmouth Welcoming Parade,” created by the New Hampshire National Guard on August 6th, re-creating the Governor's Welcome Parade in August 1905;
· Portsmouth Naval Shipyard receptions for visiting dignitaries on August 6th and September 5th, in commemoration of its role as the site of formal negotiations in 1905.
· Elizabeth Perkins House (Old York Historical Society) exhibits reconstructing the garden party held for the Russian and Japanese delegations in 1905 in photos and artifacts;
· Green Acre Baha'i School Peace Flag-raising and re-enactment of the August 31, 1905 garden party attended by the Japanese
· Wentworth By the Sea Hotel Centennial Brunch with the Nevers' 2nd Regiment Band on September 4th. The hotel also hosted the Governor's Dinner on August 6th, and the Mayor's Centennial Tea and the State Dinner for visiting dignitaries on September 5th. Both delegations stayed at the hotel throughout the negotiations in 1905, as the guests of the Frank Jones estate.