Yarmouth Historical Society picks executive director

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YARMOUTH — Michael P. Chaney of Sheepscot has been named executive director of the Yarmouth Historical Society.

Chaney will begin work on Nov. 1, replacing former director Marilyn Hinkley.

Ed Ainsworth, chairman of the board of trustees, said the executive committee – Vice Chairwoman Judy Foss, Treasurer Ted Noyse, Secretary Linda Grant and Ainsworth – considered more than 20 applicants.

“We were very impressed with (Chaney’s) experience at the New Hampshire political library,” he said. “And, he has considerable experience overseeing the expansion of staff, programs and facilities.”

Chaney is originally from Sheepscot and has recently moved back to Maine from New Hampshire.

Ainsworth said Chaney will help the organization find a new home. Currently, the Historic Society is housed on the third floor of the library. It has no bathroom facilities, meeting space or room for its collections, he said.

“We’ve outgrown the space considerably,” he said. “We are doing our best to come up with a way to do it and I know Michael has the experience to help us in that way.”

Chaney was a grant administrator for the New Hampshire Humanities Council and the deputy director of the New Hampshire Historical Society. He served as the president and chief executive of the Political Library of New Hampshire for nine years.

He graduated from the University of Maine at Orono with a bachelor’s degree in history and received his master’s degree in history from the University of Connecticut. He also has a certificate in public history and archival management.

“I couldn’t have designed this any better. A coastal town on a river is a historically rich area,” Chaney said. “To learn about how the community developed through the current day is an excellent story.” 

Chaney has also managed historic sites, including renovations at the Concord home of President Franklin Pierce. He also served on the American Association of Museum assessment and accreditation programs.

Chaney said he feels the Historical Society has a sense of determination to ensure the historical stories are told in an educational way.

“I’ve always had an interest in research and writing and historic preservation,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to working with these people in Yarmouth.”

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net