A Message from the Board President and Gosnell Executive Director
The past year was one of growth for the Nantucket Historical Association. Continuing to emerge from the pandemic, we have focused on growing our core staff, continuing our important investments in our historic properties, dramatically increasing our education programs, and partnering with others on the island to bring diverse programming to many groups in the community on a year-round basis. New programs like “Mindful History” have generated significant interest.
Our popular “NHA on the Road” program, bringing artifacts and conversation, continues to delight our senior population throughout the winter. We continued to expand our presentation of lightship baskets with a new installation at the Hadwen House, we welcomed a reproduction of George Washington’s tent to the Old Mill along with related lectures and programming, and thanks to the generosity and vision of David Billings and Beverly Hall Billings, we enjoyed a beautiful exhibition in the McCausland Gallery at the Whaling Museum.
Events exploring Wampanoag culture and traditions, the launching of our hand-carved mishoon with Darius Coombs, our Harvest Fair, a new Fiesta program at the museum, a fun “haunted house” during the town’s Halloween celebration, and free admission to historic sites like the Old Mill, Jail, and Oldest House have brought increased attendance and interest in exploring the island’s fascinating past and its present traditions. We ended 2022 with a groundbreaking symposium hosted at the Whaling Museum in partnership with the National Park Service. This brought scientists and practitioners from around the world to Nantucket to explore the impact climate change is increasingly having on historic structures and building materials. This has resulted in an exciting initiative that will expand at the NHA properties beginning in 2023. Of course, our popular special events like Flower Power, Baskets and Bubbly, Nantucket By Design, and Festival of Wreaths & Trees continue to weave the NHA into the fabric of the community and help provide much-needed support for our organization.
Speaking of supporting the organization, the Friends of the Nantucket Historical Association were responsible for a remarkable year of important acquisitions. Their efforts in identifying works of art and artifacts, and their generosity in securing them, allowed the NHA to expand our collection and increase the ways in which we can both preserve the island’s past and share its stories with future generations. We remain grateful for their continued efforts.
As we explore the past and these many stories, we also look ahead to the future. The Board and staff are engaged in a strategic planning process, the creation of a new interpretive plan, and a governance audit which will guide the organization as we move forward. This vital work is central to a healthy organization. We cannot be complacent — so we seek to adopt best practices in our operations and continue to evolve as a vibrant organization. To do so, we rely on the generosity of our donors and the support of our members. We reflect with gratitude on the past year and look forward with excitement to the year ahead. Thank you.
Gosnell Executive Director