A Message from the Board President and the Gosnell Executive Director
Associations like ours require active participation from their membership to remain meaningful, relevant, and engaged.
One of the greatest impacts thus far has been to open the Whaling Museum free of charge to the community four days a week during the winter season. We were thrilled to have students and seniors alike take advantage of the opportunity to congregate, socialize, and enjoy this community resource. In so many ways the essence of our mission is to provide access to our collections and to Nantucket stories for the entire community, and how appropriately this harkens back to the Quaker tenet of nurturing our own warm, well-lit interiors!
NEW EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES
With respect to our educational initiatives, we look forward to our reinvigorated early American decorative arts program at the 1800 House, and class enrollment is well under way. On internships, practicums, and semester-long learning, active engagement with seven colleges and universities is producing great results. We are thrilled to have students coming to the island beginning this winter and spring. Great excitement mounts around our new High School Mentorship Program, with a goal to provide life skills and learning in a professional milieu to Nantucket High School students during two semester-long, after-school, paid mentorships.
With Novation Media, NHA staff launched this new website—we hope you like it. A multi-year project to substantially increase our digital footprint is under way with the goal of leveraging digital and web-based technologies to provide an exemplary experience. This will include increased access to the collections and ensure that they are protected, accessible, searchable, and showcased.
Look for two important publications to be released this July. Collecting Nantucket: Artifacts from an Island Community, by Michael R. Harrison, Robyn & John Davis Chief Curator, will be a beautifully illustrated book that will explore one hundred fascinating artifacts and documents from the collection. “Sometimes Think of Me”: Notable Nantucket Women through the Centuries, by Betsy Tyler, NHA Research Fellow, with embroidered narratives by Susan Boardman, will be expanded and reissued in hardcover.
NANTUCKET BY DESIGN
Looking ahead, please mark your calendars for August 1–4, when our much heralded Nantucket by Design week unfolds, chaired again by Phoebe Tudor. NBD celebrates the important role that Nantucket has played in the design aesthetic of America, and we are thrilled that our media partners, Veranda and House Beautiful, will lead the design panel and luncheon. The week will culminate on Saturday night with a party at the Whaling Museum, providing a wonderful opportunity for our supporters to enjoy the museum after hours.
With respect to recent strategic decisions, the most significant by far has been the purchase of the property at 4 Whalers Lane abutting the Whaling Museum. The structure of the acquisition allows time for the NHA to analyze our property portfolio, architect a holistic campus-wide plan, and conduct a feasibility study with our membership. We look forward to your input in this process as we collectively determine this next phase of growth for the Association.
Our staff are working to maximize our valuable gallery spaces, and we look forward to mounting new exhibitions in the Whaling Museum, at Greater Light, and at Hadwen House. We are particularly excited about our major summer exhibition in the McCausland Gallery, titled Nantucketers and Their Boats. We are delighted to partner with the Nantucket Community Sailing on a summer “Sailors Scuttlebutt” lecture series. An exhibit commemorating the achievements of Maria Mitchell on the bicentennial of her birth opened in April in collaboration with the Maria Mitchell Association. New exhibits researched by Matthew Stackpole on both levels of the Hadwen & Barney Oil and Candle Factory showcase Nantucket’s important land-based industries.
Collaborations with Marine Mammal Alliance Nantucket and the Center for Coastal Studies, plus a stunning exhibit of underwater photography by Eric Savetsky, provide the basis of our presentation on whale ecology in and around Nantucket Sound. We are excited that the first floor of Hadwen House reopens in May and the triple parlor and the formal parlor will receive a facelift with new HVAC equipment installed. Simultaneously, the Thomas Macy House at 99 Main Street is open for walking tours. Greater Light will showcase treasures from the NHA’s important collection of Nantucket Art Colony-era paintings, including a choice selection from the Artists Association of Nantucket
We hope you are as excited as we are about the strength of this venerable 123-year-old institution and the amazing opportunities that lie ahead. The association’s Board of Trustees is grateful for your participation and buoyed by the strength and conviction of its membership.
Kelly Williams and James Russell