NHA Hires James P. Russell as New Gosnell Executive Director

James RussellNANTUCKET, MA – The story-telling tradition continues…

After a nationwide search, the Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that James P. Russell has been unanimously selected as the organization’s Executive Director. Mr. Russell will begin work on September 5, 2017.

Mr. Russell comes to the NHA from the New Bedford Whaling Museum (NBWM), where he has been President and CEO since 2008. During his tenure, the museum has leveraged its world-class collection to frame the whaling history in a global, historical, ecological, and societal context with relevance for diverse audiences today.

“We are extremely fortunate to have James leading the NHA,” said Janet Sherlund, NHA Board of Trustees President. “He brings over twenty years of experience with nonprofit educational institutions, fifteen years of which are with maritime museums. Coming from New Bedford, he has a deep appreciation for Nantucket’s important place in American history.”

During his tenure, Mr. Russell has guided the museum in engaging its audience with comprehensive, content-rich, and experiential exhibitions and programming that draw comparisons and lessons for today. As one visitor wrote, “Great museum covering a romantic era of American history, but be prepared for the reality, too.”

“I fully expect that the job will be both exhilarating and challenging and am eager to work with the Board, and indeed the entire membership as we shape a suite of programs that speak to the many constituencies within the association,” said Mr. Russell.

During James’s tenure at NBWM, he initiated a High School Apprenticeship program providing low income academically motivated students with access to experiences that cultivate college and career success, increased museum attendance each year, oversaw funding and building of a new Education Facility, installed climate control throughout the campus, and restored two historic buildings while maintaining a high level of volunteerism, a healthy endowment, and a balanced budget.

James and his wife, Delia, have two grown children, Aine (age 22) and Owen (age 20). They are looking forward to immersing themselves in all the island has to offer, getting to know the community, and working in partnership with peer organizations.

The NHA Board looks forward to working with James as he carries forward the NHA’s mission to tell the inspiring stories of Nantucket in a vibrant, inclusive, and above all, welcoming manner.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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