August 28, 2014

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association
E-Comet Newsletter

Fall Hours Start Tuesday, September 2nd
**Properties Closed Labor Day**

Tuesday, September 2nd - Friday, September 5th, 9 AM-12 PM
Saturday, September 6th, Release Day, 10 AM-1 PM

Check out this video of the marine life at our Aquarium!

Maria Mitchell Aquarium 2014

Closes Saturday, August 30th

Call for hours after August 30th: 508.228.2896

Last Tour Saturday, August 30th, 1 PM

Loines Observatory
September & October: Every Friday 8:30-10 PM
(Weather Permitting)

Release Day at the Aquarium

Saturday, September 6th, 10 AM - 1 PM

Time for the Aquarium animals to go back home!  This is the last day that the Aquarium is open and it is time for all of the animals to return to their winter homes. Drop into the Aquarium between 10 AM and
1 PM to help us release animals and begin the winterizing process for the tanks. This is a great way to see a whole new side of the Aquarium.

 Thank You Summer Staff and Volunteers!

As the summer winds down, we would like to thank all of our interns, high school interns, and our volunteers who dedicated their time to science education and research this summer.  They are the embodiment of Maria's legacy: mentoring the future generations of scientists through hands-on learning.  Thank you all!



Work Has Begun at the Mitchell Lot at
Prospect Hill Cemetery

It will take quite a bit of time but happily, on August 26th, the stone work was begun at the Prospect Hill Cemetery to restore the wrought iron fence at the Mitchell family lot where William and Lydia Mitchell, along with Maria, her oldest brother Andrew, her oldest sister Sally, and her aunt and namesake Maria Coleman are all buried. Neil Patterson and his crew will be re-setting the granite stones so that DeAngelis Ironwork of Boston can restore the wrought iron fence that once ringed the lot. It likely fell into disrepair in the early twentieth century and went for scrap metal, perhaps for the war effort. Many of the lots, if not all of them, were surrounded by fences at Prospect Hill.  


Using a historic photo that was found in a Maria Mitchell scrapbook, we are restoring the fence to the best of our ability - the image is a little grainy and blurry so some details have been lost. This work is all funded by a Community Preservation Act grant that Jascin Leonardo Finger, Curator of the Mitchell House, Archives and Special Collections wrote for Fiscal Year 2013. The grant included restoration of the fence at the Hadwen lot at Prospect Hill, as well as the conservation of the wrought iron fence at the Coffin School on Winter Street. Since the same ironwork and stone masons would be used, a collaborative ask was created. For approximately a decade, the Mitchell House curator has been collaborating with Prospect Hill and its historian, Paula Lundy Levy, offering stone cleaning workshops for the public that illustrate hands-on how to properly clean historic gravestones. The restoration of the fences and the collaborative grant were a natural progression of their work together and long overdue - the family's deserve to have their resting place restored to what it once was. Stay tuned as we bring you more information and images as the work progresses! And thank you, to the Community Preservation Committee, Neil Patterson and Crew, and DeAngelis Ironwork!

Spider Myths of Nantucket


Do you know someone who was bitten by a brown recluse on Nantucket?  Have you ever wondered if you should exercise an extra 15 minutes to burn off the calories from eating eight spiders every year while you sleep?  Throughout the year we get a plethora of spider questions and unfortunately, many are based on misinformation!  Read more here... 


Nantucket High School Students
Present Summer Research

This past Wednesday, three local high school students presented research they completed this summer on marine life and water quality in Nantucket Harbor.  Morgan Ravenscroft counted phytoplankton levels, Sophie Proch measured oyster growth at different depths and locations, and James Hinson analyzed dissolved oxygen levels in harbor water.  As part of their summer work, they also helped gather information on bay scallop spawning success, learned how to use microscopes, and honed their scientific skills.


Their work is part of the MMA's Summer Research Mentoring Program overseen by Dr. Peter Boyce with assistance from Dr. Valerie Hall and Oliver Bender.  Dr. Boyce and Dr. Hall also gave an update on bay scallop spat collection and success.


Congratulations Morgan, Sophie, and James!


Stargazing Night at Loines Observatory

Where: 59 Milk Street Extension
When: Friday, August 29th
(Weather Permitting)
Time: 9-10:30 PM

Members: Free
Non-members: $10/person

Birthday Parties at MMA!

Come celebrate your child's birthday with us.  We are now offering private birthday parties June through October!

For more details on booking a party, visit our website.

Connect with us:


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
Get Involved


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Board and Staff


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

Mary Archibald (Bebe) Poor, D.V.M  

Eileen Rudden
Anne P. Strain
Edward Symes, III
Helene M. Weld



Administration (508)228-9198
John L. Daniels, Interim Executive Director
George Donnelly, Director of Development & Communications
Joan Alison Stockman, Financial Administrator

Kyra Taylor, Administrative Assistant
Astronomy (508)228-9723
Michael West, Director of Astronomy, Ph.D.
Vladimir Strelnitski, Maria Mitchell Observatory's Director Emeritus, Ph.D.
Gary Walker, Astronomer and Telescope Engineer

Mitchell House & Archives and Special Collections (508)228-2896
Jascin Leonardo Finger, Curator of the Mitchell House

Natural Science (508)228-9198
Andrew Mckenna-Foster, Director of Natural Science
Education (508)228-9198
Kim Botelho, Director of Education 
         Robert Kennedy, Senior Research Fellow, Ph.D.         
Edith F. Andrews,Ornithologist Emeritus
                                            Peter Boyce,  Research Associate, Ph.D.                                        
       Valerie A. Hall, Research Associate, Ph.D. 

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Maria Mitchell Association
4 Vestal Street, Nantucket, MA 02554

phone: (508)228-9198
fax: (508)228-1031
Maria Mitchell Association