Nina Gormley passes the mantle to Sean Charette, the new director of the Wendell Gilley Museum. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WENDELL GILLEY MUSEUM

Gilley hires new director

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Sean Charette has been hired as the new director of The Wendell Gilley Museum after a nationwide search led by museum Trustee Eleanor T.M. Hoagland. Charette takes over the position from founding Director Nina Gormley, who will retire this spring after 36 years of service to the museum.

“Nina has worked tirelessly to establish the museum and preserve Wendell Gilley’s legacy. We are incredibly fortunate to have had her steady hand growing the Gilley into the outstanding museum it is today,” said Tad Templeton, president of the museum’s board of trustees.

Charette has returned to his home state following an international career path that has included museum posts in Southeast Asia, Egypt, Europe and Alaska. Recently, he worked for the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles and headed up a three-museum education partnership in Western Massachusetts. Now he has settled on Mount Desert Island with his wife and daughter, who are thrilled to be part of such a beautiful place.

“I am honored to serve as the next director of the Wendell Gilley Museum,” said Charette. “This is a museum with a vibrant personality reflecting the values Wendell Gilley was known for – a generous spirit and a love for creativity and the natural world. I’m excited to help continue the museum’s long history of outstanding exhibitions and programs that share these values with our visitors and our community.”

About working with Charette, Gormley said, “I’m gratified by his profound respect for the established traditions and values of the Gilley and excited by the new energy and ideas he brings to the job.”

Gormley said the museum always will remain close to her heart but that she is ready to be “free as a bird” to travel with her husband, Jonathan, who retired from Acadia National Park in 2015. The couple has no plans to move from Mount Desert Island.

The public is invited to welcome Charette to the museum and the community at the next annual Open House and Carving Show on Sunday, May 28, from 12-4 p.m. Gormley’s tenure will be celebrated in mid-July.

The Wendell Gilley Museum celebrates the life and work of Wendell Gilley, a pioneer in the field of decorative bird carving, by teaching the art of bird carving and presenting exhibitions and educational programs with a focus on people, nature and art. The museum endeavors to inspire appreciation of the visual arts, artistic creativity and respect and care for the natural world. Visit or, or call 244-7555.


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