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Obed Macy Research Chair

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Posted: 03/22/2017

Nantucket Historical Association
Museum Resources

The NHA is a nonprofit organization that collects and preserves the objects, documents, and structures that tell the stories of Nantucket Island. The NHA is steward of an artifact collection of more than 30,000 objects, including complete skeletons of a 40-foot finback and a 46-foot sperm whale. The NHA’s Research Library is a special-collections repository of primary resources focusing on Nantucket history, and houses more than 5,000 volumes and 60,000 photographs, as well as manuscript documents such as ships’ logs, account books, family papers, and scrapbooks. The Whaling Museum, which received national accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2007, is the NHA’s newly renovated state-of-the-art flagship venue, and serves as the center of a campus that includes twenty-two historic properties and sites. The association has more than 3,000 members and serves growing audiences of year-round and seasonal residents and visitors to the island from throughout the country and the world. With a burgeoning year-round population estimated at nearly 11,000, Nantucket, an island 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is among the state’s fastest growing counties, having grown 12.6 percent since the 2000 US Census. With an influx of seasonal residents and destination travelers, the population swells to as many as 70,000 during the summer months. As of 1996, the entire island of Nantucket is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as a National Historic Landmark. The Nantucket Historical Association has been voted one of the fifty best nonprofits to work for in the United States by the NonProfit Times. Its Whaling Museum is, according to travel writer Andrew Harper, “one of the top ten places to see before you die."

Obed Macy Research Chair
Professional Opportunity
Nantucket, MA


The Obed Macy Research Chair (NHA Historian) oversees key research, publication, writing and historical documentation efforts for the NHA.  He/she collaborates with other staff in the development, coordination, and evaluation of programs, publications, and exhibitions that serve and strengthen the historical accuracy and integrity of the NHAs offerings. 


The incumbent will engage staff and volunteers in the furtherance of research-related objectives of the NHA.  The NHA Historian will oversee the NHA Oral History Program; coordinate with the Annual Verney Fellow; coordinate meetings and activities of the NHA Research Fellows; lead the completion of the NHA Interpretation Master Plan; and participate in the development of historic structures reports, cultural landscape reports, and furnishing plans for NHAs historic sites.  He/she will participate as a key team member of the Exhibition Planning Team, and also as a member of the Program Planning and Review Committee (PPRC).


The NHA Historian is a flexible practitioner of history with an appreciation that all successful history teaching is more or less the practice of exact imagining. He/she will have a firm focus on end products and the transformative difference research in a museum environment makes to the visitor experience.  He/she will also be interested in promoting the Association and its aims, and in the engagement, cultivation, and coordination of an ever-widening array of scholar educators.  The NHA Historian will be at home in archives, objects, and stories, appreciating that all such resources help weave an historical narrative of Nantucket as a microcosm of America.


The NHA Historian reports to the Director of Museum Resources. The position is full-time and exempt from overtime.


Exhibition, Interpretation and Publications


  • Leads the development of the NHA Interpretation Master Plan

  • Participates in the development of historic structures reports, cultural landscape reports, and furnishing plans for NHAs historic sites.

  • Works closely with colleagues to ensure that the NHAs strategic goals are met through contributions to exhibitions, interpretive planning, publications, and public speaking engagements

  • Identifies and ensures historical accuracy in all printed materials developed by the NHA

  • Is the Associations key liaison with the Sconset Historical Research Group

  • Participates in exhibition development with Museum Resources Department and supports related interpretive training, as needed

  • Identifies and works with local, state, and national agencies in ways that enhance the programs and practices of the NHAs Library and Research efforts


  • Oversees and edits the Associations member publication Historic Nantucket and, upon request, contributes to other publications

  • Oversees NHAs publications program for new or reprinted books and manuscripts


  • Organizes, coordinates, and evaluates occasional seminars/symposia serving the NHAs mission

  • Leads the NHA Oral History Program, including training, oversight of volunteers, development of priorities for oral history recording, and identified how oral histories can be integrated into programs and exhibitions. Maintains the NHAs permanent archive of oral histories in partnership with the Chief Archivist.

  • Assists in grant writing and other efforts to raise money to support programs of the NHA.




  • Identifies research objectives of the NHA, and conducts ongoing research according to an adopted plan

OPen until

How to apply
Submit a cover letter, resume, and 3 professional references to Catherine Taylor, Director of Museum Resources, NHA, PO Box 1016, Nantucket, MA 02554, or via email to: ctaylor@nha.org . Deadline for application is close of business on Friday, May 5. Salary is commensurate with experience.
Catherine Taylor
Phone: 508-228-1894
Fax: 508-228-5618
PO Box 1016
Nantucket, MA 02554

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