July 30, 2015

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association
E-Comet Newsletter


New Director of Astronomy at the Maria Mitchell Association 


"AAS photo © 2014 Joson Images"

It is our distinct pleasure to announce that Dr. Regina Jorgenson will be joining the staff of the Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) as our next Director of Astronomy. 

Dr. Jorgenson will replace Dr. Michael West who has taken a position as the Deputy Director of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.   Dr. Jorgenson was selected from an extraordinary group of candidates and will be joining us on January 4, 2016 after finishing her obligations at Willamette University where she is a Visiting Professor. Dr. Jorgenson comments, "I am enthusiastic about working closely with undergraduate research collaborators, and am excited about utilizing the extraordinary Maria Mitchell Observatory facilities for our research.  As the new Director of Astronomy, I will consciously work to raise the national and international profile of the MMA via my collaborations in research, education, and outreach.  I will also bring my commitment to public outreach and advocacy for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) fields."

Read more here.

All presentations will take place at 33 Washington Street.  The cost is free to Members and $10 for Non-Members, unless advertised differently.  No reservation required.
Please email lberlin@mariamitchell.org or call 508-228-9198 with any questions.

Scavenger Study Underway!

In cooperation with the Nantucket Conservation Foundation and with partial funding from the Norcross Wildlife Foundation, MMA interns have started a research project to document the primary scavengers on Nantucket. You may be asking yourself why anyone would spend time learning about what eats dead animals, but without scavengers, our ecosystem would not function. Additionally, Nantucket lacks typical scavengers like raccoons, foxes, and possum. Stay tuned for our findings. 

A Special Thank You

Thank you to Just Do It Too, Monomoy Charters, and "The Critter Cruise " for helping us to display great animals at our Aquarium! Marc Genthner of the charter boat, Just Do It Too, has provided the MMA with dogfish, skate, striped bass, black sea bass and jellyfish. Josh Eldridge, at Monomoy Charters and the ever popular "Critter Cruise," keeps the MMA stocked with whelk, spider crabs, and sea robins. Come visit these fascinating animals at the Aquarium and learn about all the creatures that call Nantucket's waters home.


The Untold Story of Beauty

and the Beast    


   Back in 2002 "Beauty," the red Jeep, joined forces with MMA staff to support a host of our educational and research programs.  What you may not know is that the "Beast," an old red Jeep Wagoneer, served us for many years prior to Beauty, thus continuing the long tradition of vehicle donation from our generous members. The sad part of this story is that after many years of exceptional service and devotion Beauty is on her last cylinder.  It will not be long before she will need to be retired.  You can help make this a "happy ending story" with a donation of your vehicle.  Any good working vehicle will do . . . of course a 4-wheel drive would be best but we are open for all donations!  If you would like to play a part in the next chapter of this story, please give us a call at 508-228-9198 or email lberlin@mariamitchell.org .    


Become a Member
Members Receive Exclusive Benefits:
Discounts on Discovery Classes, Nature Walks,  
Lectures, and Other Programs .  
Unlimited free admission to all MMA museums.

Visit Us:

Aquarium: 10am-4pm Mon-Sat.

Natural Science Museum: 10am-4pm Mon-Sat.

Mitchell House: Guided Tours 10am-4pm Mon-Sat.

Vestal Street Observatory: 2pm Mon-Fri.

Loines Observatory: 9pm - 10:30pm MWF



Mitchell House's

Junior Historians For Ages 7-10

Have a young historian or history buff in your midst? Mitchell House is again offering its popular Junior Historians on Tuesdays and Thursdays in July and August from 10AM to Noon. Costs are $35 for Members and $45 for Non-Members per class. The offerings this year include:




Nantucket Girls - Offered Tuesday, August 4

Nantucket was a unique place for girls and women in Maria's day. With so many husbands and fathers at sea, island women worked outside the home running shops and Nantucket girls stayed in school longer than their brothers. Come learn what life was like for Nantucket women as we visit some of the sites where they worked, learn about some of their famous exploits, and create some art and crafts projects based on what we learn.


Games of Long Ago - Offered Thursday, August 6

When school was out, homework was complete, and their list of chores accomplished, what kinds of games did children of the 18th and 19th centuries play? Come learn exciting parlour tricks, and create and play some of the games of children long ago, including Snail and Blind Man's Buff.


Scrapbooks and Dreams - Offered Tuesday, August 11

Scrapbooking is not something new. Women and children often created scrapbooks in the 19th century, including Maria Mitchell and her family. It was considered a great rainy day activity! People also created "dream" houses and "dream" rooms by cutting pictures from catalogs and creating scenes. Come create your own "dream" room and scrapbook to take home.  


Mystery History Ghost Tour - Offered Thursday, August 13

Take a walk through the streets of Town as we hunt for different and unusual architectural features. We will create sketches of our finds and hear some spooky stories of the ghosts who haunt these homes and others.


Krazy and Kolorful Kaleidoscopes and Bubble Blowers - Offered Tuesday, August 18

William Mitchell studied the polarization of light and was known to have a prism of his own making hanging in the family's front sitting room. He loved bright colors! Two colorful and fun activities for children and adults in Maria's day were kaleidoscopes and blowing bubbles. We will learn about these items and make our own kaleidoscopes and bubble blowers to take home.


Keep the Lights Burning - Offered Thursday, August 20

Join us as we learn about life before electricity. We will learn about different lamps and candles used and about the craft of tinsmithing - practiced by Maria Mitchell's uncle and her brother - and then make our own candle and lantern to take home.



Register Here


Family Astronomy Programs 

ARTstronomy: Using pictures and stories,

children are introduced to the wonders of the

universe and their place in it.  Children must

be accompanied by an adult.


Blast Off!: Children discover the wonders of

space exploration by building and launching

their own model rockets. Children must be

accompanied by an adult.



Robot Explorers: After an introduction to 

robots and robotic spacecraft that have explored our solar system, teams assemble robot 'cublets' and use a robotic arm to learn how robots work.  Children must be accompanied by an adult. 



Stars and Senses Night Hike: Enjoy an evening hike under the stars where you will test your night vision, listen for nocturnal animals and learn about their adaptations. Appropriate for ages 8 and up.



AstroKids Night:  Drop your children

at MMA's Natural Science Museum while you blast off for dinner during AstroKids Nights. Your child will play indoor and outdoor games, create works of art, complete scavenger hunts, or go on a night hike.  This program is for ages 6-12.


For more information or to register for any of these programs, please click HERE

  Family Snorkeling Programs


Join us for an underwater adventure as we snorkel off of Jetties Beach! Our staff will provide participants with the proper training and equipment. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Ages 10 and up.



August 11:

$50 Members, $75 Non-Members


August 4 and 18 with underwater photography:

$75 Members, $95 Non-Members

 Sign up here.




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         Maria Mitchell's Attic
       A blog about Maria Mitchell, the Mitchells, and the
                             Mitchell House

 4 Vestal Street
Nantucket, MA 02554
(508) 228-9198



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Board and Staff


John L. Daniels, President
Deb Manus, First Vice President
Helene M. Weld, Second Vice President
Michael Nelson, Treasurer
Patricia L.R. Brennan, Ph.D., Clerk
Howard Blitman
Patty Gibian
Joan Gulley 
John Hartner
Judy MacLeod
Malcolm MacNab, M.D., Ph.D. 
Toni McKerrow

Mary Archibald (Bebe) Poor, D.V.M  

Katherine Rhode, Ph.D.
Eileen Rudden

Anne P. Strain
Edward Symes, III



Administration (508)228-9198

David Gagnon, Executive Director

dgagnon @mariamitchell.org

Joan Alison Stockman, Director of Finance & Administration

George Donnelly, Director of Development & Communications

Sarah Erichsen, Development Coordinator

Lauren Berlin, Administrative & Marketing Assistant
Astronomy (508)228-9723
Gary Walker, Astronomer and Telescope Engineer
Vladimir Strelnitski, Ph.D.,
Maria Mitchell Observatory's Director Emeritus 
Mitchell House & Archives and Special Collections (508)228-2896
Jascin Leonardo Finger, Deputy Director & Curator of the Mitchell House, Archives, and Special Collections
Natural Science (508)228-9198
Andrew Mckenna-Foster, Director of Natural Science
Education (508)228-9198
Kim Botelho, Director of Education 

Research Associates 
 Robert Kennedy, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow
Edith F. Andrews, Ornithologist Emeritus
Peter Boyce,  Ph.D., Research Associate
Valerie A. Hall, Ph.D., Research Associate

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Maria Mitchell Association
4 Vestal Street, Nantucket, MA 02554
phone: (508) 228-9198
fax: (508) 228-1031
Maria Mitchell Association