Discovery museum

Maine Discovery Museum executive director to step down in May

Niles Parker, who served as executive director of the Maine Discovery Museum in downtown Bangor for nearly 12 years, will step down from his post in May.

Parker will start a new job as executive director of the Nantucket Historical Association in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on May 19. He worked for the organization in the early 2000s, and it was in a community where two of his children were born.

“It’s a bittersweet decision for me,” Parker said. “It has been a total joy to be part of the Maine Discovery Museum and to work in Bangor. I am incredibly excited about the direction of the Maine Discovery Museum, the Maine Science Festival, and the variety of programs that have been created here over the years.

Parker joined the museum in December 2010, having served as executive director of the Penobscot Marine Museum at Searsport, replacing former director Andrea Stark. During his tenure, he oversaw additions to the museum, including the development of the Maine Science Festival and the Maine Science Podcast, the addition of many new exhibits, and most recently a $500,000 federal grant to create the Science Teacher Academy, a program for elementary school teachers in Maine that will launch this fall.

During the pandemic, the museum was closed for nearly two years. Meanwhile, Parker and his team offered remote learning opportunities including the Discovery Kit program, take-out boxes filled with fun and educational science experiments, and learning materials. The museum reopened on February 11.

“Niles has been an incredible leader for the museum,” said Anne-Marie Storey, chair of the museum’s board of trustees. “His work has placed the museum in a very strong position to move forward with science-related initiatives, among other projects, and the impact of his work will be permanent.”

The museum will begin the search for a new director in the coming weeks.