NHA Hires Niles D. Parker as New Gosnell Executive Director

NANTUCKET, MA – After a nationwide search, the Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Niles D. Parker has been unanimously selected as the organization’s Executive Director. Parker will begin work on May 19, 2022.

The NHA is excited to welcome back Parker, as he previously held the position as the Robyn and John Davis Chief Curator at the NHA from 1999 to 2006, as well as acting Executive Director from 2005 to 2006. He played a significant role in the Whaling Museum’s major expansion and renovation project in 2005.

Parker’s more recent position was at the Maine Discovery Museum, where he has been Executive Director since 2010. During his tenure, Parker led the organization through two strategic planning processes, resulting in a dynamic shift toward expanded programming and increased revenues.  He also was one of the founders of the Maine Science Festival and developed strong partnerships with surrounding universities and non-profits.  Parker held the position of Executive Director of the Penobscot Marine Museum from 2006 to 2010, where he managed a regional museum and fourteen properties, five of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The NHA is at an exciting point in its history.  The Board has high expectations of what the NHA can become over the next several years, and I am confident that Niles is the person that can make those expectations a reality,” says Chip Carver, NHA Board of Trustees President.

During his recent tenure at the Maine Discovery Museum, Parker guided the museum in engaging its audience with comprehensive, content-rich, and experiential exhibitions and programming. As one visitor wrote, “There is not a better museum in the entire state; this was a great learning experience for myself and my children.”

“Nantucket is a community, and the NHA is an organization that I hold close to my heart. There are few places I have encountered where a historical society is so entwined with the daily life of a community and its sense of place. I am exceptionally grateful for this opportunity to return to the island and connect with the people there. I am eager to help steward the NHA toward achieving its mission and celebrating the diversity of stories which make the ‘elbow of sand’ so unique,” says Parker.

Niles and his wife, Sonja, have three grown children, Noah (25), Nicholas (22), and Eliza (19), two of which were born on the island when they previously called it home.  They are looking forward to returning to the island and immersing themselves in all it has to offer, getting reacquainted with the community, and working in partnership with peer organizations.

The NHA Board looks forward to working with Niles as he carries forward the NHA’s mission and executes our strategic plan.


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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