The Monadnock Institute

Cultivating and celebrating a sense of place.

The Monadnock Institute of Nature, Place and Culture is a leader in "place studies," an emerging academic discipline that recognizes the importance of natural, built, social and cultural environments in the formation of individual, group and community identity. When we understand the place we call home, it connects us to others and the world beyond ourselves. The Monadnock Institute seeks to help individuals and communities develop a sense of place.

The goal of the Institute is to help individuals and communities learn about their place and renew a commitment to preserving its physical environment and culture.

News & Upcoming Events

"From Hurricane to Climate Change" Documentary Trailer

"From Hurricane to Climate Change" is a documentary film produced by the Monadnock Institute at Franklin Pierce University. The film has been funded thus far by grants from the Putnam Foundation and the New Hampshire Humanities Council. It explores the impact on lives and communities of the great New England Hurricane of 1938 and more recent extreme weather events in the Monadnock region of southwest New Hampshire that scientists claim are the result of global climate change. The film highlights the contemporary efforts of local communities to both adapt the infrastructure of the region to climate change and to mitigate its future impact through building new local institutions of economic and ecological sustainability.


Beyond the Notches: Stories of Place in New Hampshire’s North Country

Beyond the Notches bookBeyond the Notches features 400 pages of non-fiction writing by authors who have intimate knowledge of this distinctive region, as well as breath-taking photographs, original artwork and historic maps. Organized into five sections—First Stories, Transformation and Change, Working the Land, Conservation and Recreation, and Competing Visions—the volume includes new work by John Harrigan, Barbara Tetreault, Peter Crane, Rebecca Brown, Steve Smith, Edie Clark, Fran Lavoie, Ernest Hebert, Tom Eastman, and Jack McEnany, among others. In addition, Beyond the Notches includes essays by five North Country high school students.

Shop Now

Click to view a complete Table of Contents for Beyond the Notches.

Beyond the Notches is available for purchase. For more information, contact Kay Morgan, Project Coordinator at or 603-868-2485

Activities of the Monadnock Institute

Anthology "Where the Mountain Stands Alone: Stories of Place in the Monadnock Region"Anthology Projects

 In 2006, the Institute released Where the Mountain Stands Alone: Stories of Place in the Monadnock Region.  We are currently collecting stories in Northern New Hampshire for a second anthology volume titled Beyond the Notches: Stories of Place in New Hampshire's North Country.


Cheshire Train DVDPublic Scholarship

We have facilitated dozens of story circles to provide informal opportunities for individuals who serve as repositories of community memory to come together and share their recollections. Story circles have focused on such topics as factory work, rail travel, life during the Great Depression, and the Hurricane of 1938. .Along with historic photographs, oral histories gathered from story circles provided rich materials for our Reflections Series.

Reflections: An Oral History is a five-part documentary film project produced in partnership with Keene Public Library, Cheshire TV, the Keene Sentinel, Historical Society of Cheshire County and Keene State College. We have premiered five sixty-minute documentary films (each now available for purchase on DVD).

Monadnock Institute OutreachEducation Outreach

Environmental Science faculty and Monadnock Institute staff worked with FPU student Neel Patel to develop an on-line campus mapping  project—an e-Tour of Rindge Campus Lands.  Dr. John Harris, the Director of the Institute, regularly teaches an Environmental Studies course and an American Studies course on place, community and American culture in which students research, study and report on sites in the Monadnock region.

The Institute also partners with the Archaeological Field School, under the guidance of Professor Robert Goodby. The school is designed to collect existing information on Native American archaeological site locations in the Monadnock region, conduct surveys to locate new sites, define the boundaries of previously identified sites, and conduct intensive excavation of those sites threatened by modern development. 

Paid internships and graduate assistantships for college students from Franklin Pierce or other institutions are offered to those who want to assist in our research projects. (College credit may also be available.)

The Institute annually names a Peter Sauer Place Scholar. The awarding of this scholarship allows a Franklin Pierce student to pursue a project with a place-related topic and deepen his/her engagement with place and community in the region.  Download a Place scholarship application.