Custom House Maritime Museum A View of the Museum from Water St.

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Custom House Maritime Museum Names New Curator

March 28, 2011

NEWBURYPORT, MA (March 28, 2011) – The Custom House Maritime Museum board of directors has named Kevin MacDonald as the museum’s new volunteer curator.

Mr. MacDonald, a resident of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, is currently pursuing an advanced degree at the graduate program in museum studies at the Harvard University Extension School.  He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Framingham State University and a master’s degree in writing from Northeastern University.  For the past 11 years, he has been serving as a technical writer at IBM.

Kevin MacDonald

Since June of 2010, Mr. MacDonald has been interning at the museum as part of his program at Harvard.

“We’re truly excited to have someone of Kevin’s depth and caliber here at the Custom House Maritime Museum, and you can expect to see his impact on our programs immediately,” said Cynthia Muir, chairman of the museum’s Collection Committee.

As an example of his work, Mr. MacDonald last year hosted a program on the 1806 voyage of the merchant ship Nancy.  Based upon the museum’s collection of original primary source documents, Mr. MacDonald painted a intimate and revealing picture of the 10-month voyage of the Newburyport-built sailing ship owned by William Wyer, Jr.  After leaving Newburyport in the winter, the ship sailed to France, took on a cargo for transport to Charleston, S.C., where it then picked up a load of rice and cotton for delivery to Antwerp before returning home.

“The museum has a very nicely targeted collection and I’m honored to be responsible for its stewardship,” said Mr. MacDonald.  “This is a great opportunity to work hands-on in a museum that has such a wonderful future. 

“The museum has great leadership and the people in the community have a love and respect and understanding for what this museum and its collection have to say about Newburyport and why it is unique,” he said.  “I believe that this will be a breakout year, and I appreciate the opportunity to create exhibits, do research on the trove of artifacts and to make sure that this collection is well cared for and preserved.” 

Mr. MacDonald will host an upcoming presentation on the early 19th century beginnings of the Merrimack Humane Society at the museum’s next First Friday social on April 1st.

The Custom House Maritime Museum is managed by the Newburyport Maritime Society, Inc., established in 1968 to protect, preserve and communicate the maritime heritage of the Merrimack Valley and its role in American History.  We are connecting the past to the living history of today through interaction and engagement with our unique collection of maritime art, model clipper ships, displays of famous shipwrecks, the history of the United States Coast Guard, and much more.  The building itself on Water Street in Newburyport was designed by Robert Mills, architect of the Washington Monument and the U.S. Treasury Building and was built in 1835 to serve the growing overseas trade and to collect taxes on the imported goods in the waterfront.  The museum is open year round for events and activities and daily beginning May 15th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday and holiday Mondays.  Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and students.  Active military members and children under 6 are free.

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