June 15, 2015

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association
E-Comet Newsletter

What to Wear
Do you know what you are going to wear to the upcoming Nantucket Red-Tie SoirĂ©e?  We've partnered up with Murray's Toggery Shop, Yellow Productions and Nantucket BlACKbook to give you some fashion suggestions and to get you excited about our fundraiser.


A Beloved Father: William Mitchell


William and Lydia Mitchell were the parents to ten children-nine of whom survived through adulthood. Even for such a large family, they were all very close.   Lydia tended to be the

enforcer-making up for the perhaps too gentle ways of William. He and his third child, Maria, became close through their love of astronomy and mathematics and it was William who encouraged Maria at many steps. She once said it was a sympathy for her father that led her to astronomy-a sympathy hinged on the fact that even if it was 0F and clear at night, William still needed to observe. And, Maria joined him.


In the 1890s, Phebe Mitchell Kendall published Maria's journals in Maria Mitchell: Life, Letters, and Journals. (Phebe was something of the family historian-she had asked William to write a short autobiography which he did.) Phebe made her own comments throughout Maria Mitchell and here is a small sampling of what she said about their father.


Mr. Mitchell was a man of great suavity and gentleness; if left to himself he would never have denied a single request made to him by one of his children. His first impulse was to gratify every desire of their hearts . . . . he was the sympathetic friend and counselor of many in trouble who came to him for help or advice . . . little children would run up to him to be patted on the head. He treated animals in the same way . . . . There was everything in the home which could amuse and instruct children.


Other generations of children and young adults came to know and love him as well as he became a grandfather-figure for many of Maria's students at Vassar College where he lived with her. An astronomer, teacher, natural scientist, surveyor, the bank cashier at Pacific National-William touched the lives of many-not just his family.



Director of Astronomy Leaving MMA

After over 2 and a half years at the Maria Mitchell Association, Dr. Michael West, Director of Astronomy, will be leaving MMA at the end of July to begin a new and exciting position as Deputy Director for Science at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. Lowell Observatory is where Pluto was discovered in 1930, and it's also home to the new "Discovery Channel Telescope". Additionally, the first observations of the expanding universe took place at Lowell.  It is interesting to note that Lowell Observatory shares a very similar mission as MMA with both institutions focusing their efforts and resources on astronomical research, as well as public outreach. Located just an hour from the Grand Canyon, the observatory receives more than 80,000 visitors per year. Dr. West noted that the combination of hands-on-learning and public outreach at MMA prepared him well for this opportunity. Michael's presence at MMA will certainly be missed and we all wish him well.

We are pleased to report that a search to fill the astronomy position is already underway and we have received an excellent pool of candidates with exceptional experience.  The search committee will be working diligently to fill this critical position as soon as possible.   


Discovery Camp Scholarships 

Thanks to the generosity of EGCF, a

non-profit foundation, MMA is offering twelve Discovery Camp scholarships.  These scholarships provide an 80% discount plus a reduced price membership of $25.  To learn more and to apply, please visit the scholarship page on our website or click: Scholarship Application


All Facilities are Open!

 Here is a list of our days and hours:


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



Members Receive Exclusive Benefits
Discounts on Discovery Classes, Nature Walks,  
Lectures, and other programs .  

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

Also follow our Astronomy news and tweets from @ACKstronomy.

 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
Michael West, Ph.D. Director of Astronomy

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