Introducing Our New Interim Executive Director

The Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is pleased to announce that Jason Bridges will be the Interim Executive Director at the Maria Mitchell Association effective August 24, 2020. Jason will replace outgoing Executive Director, David Gagnon.

A graduate of Wabash College with a degree in Psychology and Chemistry, Bridges has been a fixture on the island for over twenty-one years. Currently, Bridges owns and operates the Handlebar Cafe and Nantucket Bike Tours and has been a Select Board Member for over three years. He had numerous past experiences with the Maria Mitchell Association. According to Jason, “The Maria Mitchell Association impacts the citizens of Nantucket through their work to preserve, educate, and research the natural world. I have a close and personal relationship with the MMA. Fifteen years ago, I volunteered to join the MMA’s research team and assisted with snake and spider counts. I met my wife, Courtney Bridges, through the Maria Mitchell Association where she was an educator in 2008. My first business, Nantucket Bike Tours, started through a collaboration with Maria Mitchell. Beyond business and person ties, I gained a great appreciation for the complexity of the night sky through Maria Mitchell. You can find me, on a clear night, playing backyard astronomer with my sky guide in hand. Now, I am thrilled I have the privilege to further the mission of the Maria Mitchell Association as its Interim Executive Director.”

“Jason’s business experience, knowledge of the MMA and Nantucket, and commitment to the core mission make him an ideal Interim Director. We are pleased to welcome Jason onto the Maria Mitchell Association team.” – Helene Weld, MMA Board Chair

Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.

Please join us in giving Jason a very warm welcome to the Maria Mitchell Association!

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association WISH UPON A STAR Fundraiser is back for August

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is delighted to again offer a unique opportunity to win a reserved town parking space for the month of August in our WISH UPON A STAR FUNDRAISER. With roads closing for outdoor restaurant dining, downtown parking is becoming even harder to find. Our July WISH UPON A STAR FUNDRAISER was amazingly successful thanks to our generous donors. $10,000 was raised for the MMA and four lucky winners received their very own parking space in Downtown Nantucket.

This month, we are only selling 100 squares for the three available spaces. You can earn chances to win by making an online donation of $125 or higher to the WISH UPON A STAR FUNDRAISER via the MMA’s website now through 9:00 am on July 31st: https://www.mariamitchell.org/get-involved/wish-upon-a-staff-fundraiser

The three spaces are located at 33 Washington Street.

On July 31st at 12PM, MMA Executive Director, Dave Gagnon, will draw three lucky winners, streamed via Instagram Live and Facebook Live, each receiving one private town parking space for the month of August. Please find the complete rules below.

All donations will support the MMA’s mission to create opportunities for all to develop a life-long passion for science through education, research, and first-hand exploration of the sky, land, and sea of Nantucket Island. This online auction is one of a few fundraisers planned in lieu of the MMA’s Stargazer Gala, which has been postponed until 2021.

How to Enter:

You can earn chances to win by making an online donation for the WISH UPON A STAR FUNDRAISER before July 31st at 9:00 am.

$125 donation – One chance

$250 donation – Two chances

$500 donation – Four chances

$1000 donation – Eight chances * plus two bonus chances (10 total)

When you submit your donation, you will be able to select your preferred numbers for the drawing (1-100). Numbers will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Three numbers will be drawn on July 31st.  We will share regular updates regarding available numbers via our website and social media platforms.

Prizes:

(1) parking space located at 33 Washington Street

(1) parking space located at 33 Washington Street

(1) parking space located at 33 Washington Street

The winners will have access to their parking space from 6AM August 1 – 9PM August 31. We will select the prizes in the following order:  Space 1A at 33 Washington Street, followed by space 1B at 33 Washington Street, followed by space 1C at 33 Washington Street. The winners will be contacted on July 31st following the drawing.

For more information, please contact Logan Gomes, Director of Advancement at (508) 228-9198.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.

 

 

Executive Director David Gagnon of the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Announces Resignation

Nantucket, MA – After a tenure of approximately five years, David Gagnon will be resigning from his role as the Executive Director of the Maria Mitchell Association (MMA), effective next month. He will be moving back to Vermont to be closer to his family and is excited to accept an executive leadership position close to his home.  He will work closely with the MMA to ensure a smooth transition.

The MMA has been fortunate to have Dave’s leadership, said Helene Weld, Board Chair. “Dave has made tremendous strides toward implementing our strategic plan, raising our visibility on island, and driving the MMA toward fiscal stability. He’s helped advance many important projects including the completion of the Science Research Center, the re-instatement of the MMA Science Speaker Series, expansion of our summer Discovery Camps and year-round work in the school systems. During the last five years we’ve instituted a popular pop-up science program downtown, premiered the Maria Mitchell Women of Science Symposium, and began collaborations with Remain Nantucket focusing on ocean plastics and climate change, including the future placement of a Seabin in Nantucket Harbor to collect and study marine plastics. Last year we collaborated with the Land Bank, CPC and Nantucket Cottage Hospital to build a fully accessible Discovery Playground with science interpretation. It has been a productive period for the organization. We will miss Dave on the island and wish him well.” A search for his successor will be conducted later this year.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.

Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Awarded Community Preservation Act Grant for Fiscal Year 2021

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is pleased to announce that the Community Preservation Committee has awarded the MMA $319,000.00 for the conservation and restoration of the exterior of its historic 1908 Maria Mitchell Vestal Street Observatory and its 1922 attached Astronomical Study.  The award is a grant recently approved at Nantucket’s Annual Town Meeting on June 25, 2020.  Coupled, with funding from the M. S. Worthington Foundation, these monies will allow the MMA to attend to much-needed work to the exterior of the building which will alleviate shifting of brickwork, replacement of rusted lintels, and rebuilding and replacement of spalling bricks and mortar.  It will also allow for copper work to be completed on the historic 1908 dome roof which is made of copper and other alloys.

According to Jascin Leonardo Finger, the MMA’s Deputy Director and Curator, “This has been a project long in the making.  We are excited and grateful to our funders and ready to get to work on this historic, continually working observatory so that it can continue to be a vital part of astronomical research into the next 100 years while also standing as a shining example of important historic preservation work and historic architecture on Nantucket.”

The Community Preservation Act, established in Massachusetts and established on Nantucket in 2002, has a Committee consisting of nine members. The members include an appointed designee from each of the following: the Conservation Commission; the Historic District Commission; the Nantucket Islands Land Bank; the Planning Board; the Park and Recreation Commission; the Nantucket Housing Authority; and the Board of Selectmen. There are also two members-at-large from the community.  The CPC studies the needs, possibilities, and resources of the Town regarding community preservation.  The committee makes recommendations to Town Meeting for: the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space; for the acquisition and preservation of historic resources; for the acquisition, creation and preservation of land for recreational use; for the creation, preservation and support of community housing; and for rehabilitation or restoration of such open space, historic resources, land for recreational use and community housing that is acquired or created based on grant applications from entities in the community.

CPA funding has allowed the MMA to complete many important historic preservation projects on the historic Mitchell House (1790), birthplace of America’s first woman astronomer Maria Mitchell, as well as the conservation of the exterior of its Research Center, formerly known as the MMA Science Library (ca. 1830 and 1930).  It also supplied substantial funding for the all-inclusive, accessible playground on Old South Road, a collaboration between the Maria Mitchell Association, Nantucket Islands Land Bank, and several other entities on and off-island.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Virtual Speaker Series Continues with Dr. Jennifer Karberg

Nantucket, MA – On July 8, 2020 at 7:00 pm, Dr. Jennifer Karberg of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation will give a virtual lecture entitled, “Nantucket Coastal Resilience: Importance and Function of Natural Buffers.” The talk will be held via Zoom.

The island of Nantucket is at the forefront of climate change and sea level rise impacts anticipated in the next few decades. But the island is also benefiting from local research and innovation on ways to adapt to these impacts. The natural beauty and resources of the island are one of the unique aspects that draws people to Nantucket and they are also one of the resources that will help buffer and protect the island from climate change impacts. This talk will explore the ecological function and benefits of Nantucket’s natural coastal buffers, particularly salt marshes and coastal dunes, as well as opportunities for innovating and enhancing these buffers to protect key low lying coastal areas. Learn about local research and restoration aimed at improving salt marsh function, exploring living shorelines and the potential for blue carbon to mitigate climate change.

Dr. Jen Karberg is the Research Program Supervisor for the Nantucket Conservation Foundation and oversees the multi-faceted research program of the Foundation. Jen’s personal research interests include fresh and salt water wetland ecology and restoration, climate change and coastal resiliency, rare plant ecology and disturbance ecology. Initially from the mid-west, Jen studied first plant ecology at the University of Michigan for undergrad and then obtained advanced degrees from Michigan Technological University in wetland ecology and rare species conservation genetics. In her 12 years on island, Jen has been the co-chair of the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative Research Conference, served on the Nantucket Conservation Commission, and various boards of the Society of Wetland Scientists. Jen is currently representing NCF on the Nantucket Coastal Resilience Advisory Committee and is Chair of the Women in Wetland’s section of the Society of Wetland Scientists.

Registration Link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_W06cULhxQBWOcJUsPOquHQ

The Maria Mitchell Association will be hosting a virtual speaker each Wednesday evening from 7:00-8:00 as part of its summer Science Speaker Series. The lectures will be free and viewable on Zoom. The link to each lecture will be shared on the Maria Mitchell Association’s website and social media. The Series is sponsored by ACKlimate, the Osceola Foundation, and Nantucket Island Resorts.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Virtual Speaker Series Continues with Astronomer JJ Hermes

Nantucket, MA – On July 1, 2020 at 7:00 pm, Dr. JJ Hermes will give a virtual lecture entitled, “When the Referee Lets You Name Your Stars.”  The talk will be held via Zoom.

Digital surveys have mapped the positions of most stars in our night sky down to a limit roughly 100 million times fainter than can be seen by the unaided eye. It is therefore rare for astronomers to “discover” new stars. However, unraveling new classes of stars by grouping similar types of objects connected by a physical phenomenon happens often at the cutting edge of astronomy. I will discuss the joys (and pitfalls) of naming new classes of stars by focusing on a recent discovery: stellar remnants that were once in a close pair of binary system but have recently been slung-shot out of the Galaxy after a disruptive supernova explosion.

Dr. Hermes is an assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy at Boston University, focused on high-precision observations of the endpoints of stars, planets, and binary systems. Before moving to Boston in 2019, he was a Hubble Fellow at UNC Chapel Hill, an ERC postdoctoral fellow at the University of Warwick in central England, and he completed a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin. He has also worked as a journalist, served as editor-in-chief of The Daily Texan in 2007, and worked as a reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, D.C.

Registration Link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_oArIJeSpR3-EtXCIp-9Ukw

The Maria Mitchell Association will be hosting a virtual speaker each Wednesday evening from 7:00-8:00 as part of its summer Science Speaker Series. The lectures will be free and viewable on Zoom. The link to each lecture will be shared on the Maria Mitchell Association’s website and social media. The Series is sponsored by ACKlimate and Nantucket Island Resorts.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.

MMA Statement on Recent Events

The Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) would like to express its sadness and outrage at the recent acts of racial violence including the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and many others, and the systemic racial injustices that have long plagued our country. Black lives matter, and the MMA strongly condemns racism, hate and bigotry. Given the MMA’s longstanding goal of expanding inclusion and opportunity, we feel it is imperative that we state our support for our fellow black citizens and our condemnation of racial injustice.

Our organization was founded in 1902 to honor the legacy of America’s first woman astronomer, Maria Mitchell. Mitchell was a Quaker who worked for the equality of all people. She was a staunch supporter of the abolitionist cause, and refused to wear cotton clothing in the belief that doing so perpetuated slavery. She was the librarian at the Nantucket Atheneum when, in 1841, the Atheneum invited Frederick Douglass to deliver his historic speech. Today though, more than 200 years after her birth, our society, and the scientific community in particular, are still not open to all on an equal basis.

Our mission is to “create opportunities for all to develop a life-long passion for science…” and includes promoting diversity and equality in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. Our work in this area has included our Maria Mitchell Women of Science Symposium, Discovery Playground, camp scholarship program and our efforts to recruit student interns from underrepresented groups. In the spirit of our founder, we will look internally to see what additional actions we must take as an organization to combat racism, better serve communities of color, support black scientists, create a more just STEM community, and ensure that we live up to the values Maria Mitchell demonstrated throughout her lifetime.

While the night sky is unlimited, parking in downtown Nantucket is not!

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is delighted to offer a unique opportunity to win a reserved town parking space for the month of July in our WISH UPON A STAR FUNDRAISER. Between 9AM Monday, June 15 and 9AM Tuesday, June 30, you can earn chances to win by making an online donation of $125 or higher to the WISH UPON A STAR FUNDRAISER via the MMA’s website.

One parking space is located at 28 Washington Street and three spaces are located at 33 Washington Street.

On June 30 at 12PM, MMA Executive Director, Dave Gagnon, will draw four lucky winners, streamed via Instagram and Facebook Live, each receiving one private town parking space for the month of July. Please find the complete rules below.

All donations will support the MMA’s mission to create opportunities for all to develop a life-long passion for science through education, research, and first-hand exploration of the sky, land, and sea of Nantucket Island. This online auction is one of a few fundraisers planned in lieu of the MMA’s Stargazer Gala, which has been postponed until 2021.

How to Enter:

You can earn chances to win by making an online donation for the WISH UPON A STAR FUNDRAISER between 9AM Monday, June 15 and 9AM Tuesday, June 30.

$125 donation – One chance
$250 donation – Two chances
$500 donation – Four chances
$1000 donation – Eight chances * plus two bonus chances (10 total)

One space, located at 28 Washington Street, is available as a BUY IT NOW item with a  $5,000 donation. This is being offered on a first come, first serve basis.

When you submit your donation, you will be able to select your preferred numbers for the drawing (1-200). Numbers will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Four numbers will be drawn on June 30.  We will share regular updates regarding available numbers via our website and social media platforms.

Prizes:

(1) parking space located at 28 Washington Street
(1) parking space located at 33 Washington Street
(1) parking space located at 33 Washington Street
(1) parking space located at 33 Washington Street

The winners will have access to their parking space from 6AM Wednesday, July 1 – 9PM Friday, July 31. We will select the prizes in the following order:  Space 1A at 33 Washington Street, followed by space 1B at 33 Washington Street, followed by space 1C at 33 Washington Street, followed by space 1 at 28 Washington Street (unless it is purchased in advance via BUY IT NOW. The winners will be contacted on June 30 following the drawing.

For more information, please contact Logan Gomes, Director of Advancement at (508) 228-9198.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.

Join William McKeever for a Virtual Author Talk on ‘Emperors of The Deep’

Nantucket, MA – On June 19, 2020 at 7:00 pm, William McKeever, author of Emperors of the Deep, will share new research about sharks, including the impact human activity and climate change are having on their migration patterns and their ability to survive. This talk is part of the Nantucket Atheneum’s Virtual Author Talk Series and is held in partnership with the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association.

McKeever is an author, filmmaker, and ocean and shark enthusiast, who has travelled the world documenting his journeys. Through his books, film, and non-profit, he has worked tirelessly to bring the issues of ocean and shark conservation to the forefront through education and activism.

His book ‘Emperors of the Deep’ is now available in paperback at Mitchell’s and Nantucket Bookworks.

Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87023849868

The Nantucket Atheneum, a private non-profit organization, provides public library service to the island’s year-round and seasonal residents, housed in a historic 1847 building and the Weezie Library for Children. The Atheneum collects, organizes and disseminates books, literature and other materials in a variety of formats to help users of all ages meet their recreational, personal, professional and intellectual needs. In keeping with its heritage, the Atheneum also serves as a cultural center for the Nantucket community by sponsoring educational programming and maintaining special collections related to the history and culture of the island.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Virtual Speaker Series Continues with Astronomer Meredith MacGregor

Nantucket, MA – On June 17, 2020 at 7:00 pm, Dr. Meredith MacGregor will give a virtual lecture entitled, “How to Form a Habitable Planet.”  The talk will be held via Zoom.

Most young stars are surrounded by ‘circumstellar’ disks of gas and dust, the initial material for the formation of planets.  Dr. MacGregor will discuss how planetary systems form from these disks and evolve over millions to billions of years, with a focus on what conditions might create a ‘habitable’ planet. For the first time, we can see baby planets forming in circumstellar disks, and watch as they sculpt their surroundings through gravitational interactions. Dr. MacGregor will also discuss what other factors impact the habitability of planets, including the effect of space weather produced by the host star.  In the future, the development of new telescopes presents an exciting path towards understanding our Solar System, its formation and evolution, and its place in the universe of exoplanet systems.

Meredith MacGregor is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences. She also serves as the Co-Chair of the NASA Infrared Science Interest Group. Previously, she was a NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science after finishing her PhD at Harvard University. Back in 2009. Dr. MacGregor was an intern as part of the Maria Mitchell Astronomy REU program! Dr. MacGregor’s research program leverages multi-wavelength observations to explore the formation and potential habitability of planetary systems.

Registration Link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CaD_ZxkaSdG5etVBw2trjA

The Maria Mitchell Association will be hosting a virtual speaker each Wednesday evening from 7:00-8:00 as part of its summer Science Speaker Series. The lectures will be free and viewable on Zoom. The link to each lecture will be shared on the Maria Mitchell Association’s website and social media.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.