News & Blog

February 2014 Newsletter

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The Frances Perkins Center is pleased to introduce you to Michael P. Chaney, our new Executive Director. Michael will begin his duties on April 1, 2014, and is looking forward to meeting all of you.

A native of nearby Alna, Maine, Michael earned a B.A. in History from the University of Maine in 1979 and an M.A. in History, with a Certificate in Public History and Archival Management, from the University of Connecticut in 1985. He brings to the Frances Perkins Center many years of experience in non-profit management and public history in Vermont and New Hampshire. Early in his career, Chaney served as an archivist at the University of Vermont Library where his responsibilities included organizing the papers of the late Senator George Aiken. He has also served as Associate Director of the New Hampshire Humanities Council, Chief Operating Officer of the New Hampshire Historical Society, and, from 2001 to 2009, President and CEO of the New Hampshire Political Library, a non-profit educational organization founded to preserve New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary. In 2004, he helped merge the Political Library with the Pierce Brigade in operating and interpreting the Concord, New Hampshire, home and career of President Franklin Pierce. He is the author of several publications, including White Pine on the Saco River: An Oral History of River Driving in Southern Maine, and did fieldwork photography in a publication dealing with Herb Ellis and Rangeley Boat Building, The Rangeley and Its Region: The Famous Boat and Lakes of Western Maine. Since returning to Maine in 2010, Michel has been the Executive Director of the Yarmouth Historical Society in Yarmouth. He lives in Alna with his wife, Laura Cooper Chaney.

Christopher Breiseth, Board chair, expressed the board’s pleasure in making this appointment. “Michael’s interest and scholarship in American political history, and his direct management of special historic collections and properties, perfectly match the mission of the Frances Perkins Center,” Breiseth explained.

In accepting the position, Michael stated, “I am honored to begin work with this nationally significant organization based at the homestead of Frances Perkins. From Newcastle, this Center calls attention to the economic security programs established in the New Deal by Secretary Perkins and the Roosevelt Administration, demonstrating their enduring relevance in the 21st century.”


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