Shopping With a Side of History at the New Hampshire State House Gift Shop
This unique gift shop helps students, candidates and the curious to learn more about the Granite State
Welcome to Re-Tales – an ongoing series of stories from retailers throughout the Granite State. Get to know your local shopkeeper and discover what makes their establishment special.
When it’s actually open to visitors, the Visitors’ Center in the New Hampshire State House is as much a museum as it is a gift shop. Tucked into a space just off the lobby (and in a historically significant space — see below) the Visitors’ Center hosts guests ranging from students on field trips to presidential candidates.
The Visitor Center staff also schedules, conducts, and provides information for guided and self guiding tours of the State House.
We reached out to State House Visitors’ Center Director Virginia Drew to learn more about this unique shopping experience.
What makes your store special or different?
Drew: “We are not just a gift shop, we are visitor center, information office for the State House and a tour center. Our items are geared to state of New Hampshire and we try to carry New Hampshire made items when at all possible.”
What are you best known for?
Drew: “New Hampshire state items. Our unique yearly state holiday ornaments are a favorite, but we carry New Hampshire flags, key chains, pen sets, New Hampshire books, souvenir license plates, magnets, etc.”
What was it about the location that makes it unique?
Drew: “We are located in the historic New Hampshire State House!”
Tell us about a memorable customer experience you’ve had in the shop.
Drew: “There are many memorable experiences here, as we have visitors from all over the world. And, of course, we are a special stop for all presidential candidates and enjoy helping them find something from New Hampshire to take home with them. Student shoppers are always fun as they ponder the serious decision about buying just the right New Hampshire State House gift to bring home to their family — and many love that many of our books are autographed by the New Hampshire authors.”
Tell us a secret or little-known fact about the shop.
Drew: “Our visitors’ center is located in the old New Hampshire state military office and is in the 1819 portion of the State House. Our displays are unique and special.”
What’s new and exciting in the way of products, offerings, experiences or milestones?
Drew: “We have expanded our online gift shop to accommodate the building closure, and are now offering curbside pick up to anyone who purchases the items from our online gift shop. The State House has been closed to the public since mid-March, but we are still happy to take phone call orders and provide opportunities for people to purchase our unique merchandise.”
What can someone experience in your store that they’d never get online?
Drew: “When we do open, the gift shop is actually in the midst of our State House and is like visiting a museum.”
What keeps you passionate about turning on the lights every morning?
Drew: “Knowing that we can.”
New Hampshire State House Visitor Center
107 North Main St., Concord, NH