July 18, 2019
Amanda McMullen to Lead New Bedford Whaling Museum

Amanda McMullen
March 22, 2018 — The New Bedford Whaling Museum, a New Bedford nonprofit that educates the public about the historic interaction of humans with whales, recently announced that Amanda D. McMullen has been appointed as the next president and chief executive officer of the 115-year-old organization.

McMullen succeeds James Russell who stepped down last summer, after nine years, to accept a position at the Nantucket Historical Society.

McMullen, who has more than 20 years of experience working with nonprofits in senior management and fundraising positions, was selected following an international search. She will assume her responsibilities on May 7.

Carol M. Taylor, board chair of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, said, “We are delighted to welcome Amanda to the Whaling Museum and New Bedford. With a strong record of leadership and accomplishments, she is poised to contribute to the current momentum and growth within the region’s arts and culture community. The board is confident that Ms. McMullen will enhance the museum’s impact and advance its mission and strategic priorities.”

The museum noted that McMullen "will work to ensure the continued position of the museum as the landmark cultural organization in the region and the preeminent whaling era resource in the country."

McMullen currently serves chief operating officer for the Meeting Street, a nonprofit in Providence, Rhode Island regarded as a leader in education and child development, which also operates the Schwartz Center in Dartmouth. In that capacity, she directs programmatic, operational, marketing, and philanthropic activities.

Previously, she served as chief strategy officer and senior director, external relations for Meeting Street. She directed corporate sponsorship activities for the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibitions and was director of leadership giving for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay. McMullen also served as the capital campaign coordinator for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

"I am excited to join the team at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and I look forward to working in partnership with the board, staff, and volunteers as we continue to play a critical role in understanding and celebrating the many vibrant stories of the greater New Bedford community,” said McMullen.

McMullen holds a Bachelor of Art degree from Syracuse University and is a graduate of Leadership Rhode Island (Theta II Class). She is a recipient of the 40 under 40 Award and the 2016 Chief Operating Officer of the Year/C-Suite Award from Providence Business News.

Under Russell’s direction, the museum has developed more than 100 partnerships with regional, national, and international entities, ranging from local school systems to the government of the Azores, and the U.S. Navy. The museum’s efforts have led to a satellite museum in Cabo Verde.

During his tenure, the nationally recognized Apprenticeship Program was founded, targeting underserved New Bedford high school students with a paid mentorship program at the museum, leading to 100% high school graduation rates and successful continuation into further education.

Founded in 1903, the museum, also known as the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, is regarded today as a global center for scholarly research on 19th and 20th century whaling technology. It is home to the world’s largest ship model, Lagoda, a half-scale whale ship built in 1916 by the aging shipwrights of New Bedford’s famed fleet. In 2016, he welcomed 96,000 visitors, six percent more than the year before.

For the year ending Dec. 31, 2016, the museum reported $3.99 million in operational revenue, of which $941,000 came from grants and restricted support, and $4.44 million in operational expenses, according to its most recently available audited financial statements.

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