Gail Nessell Colglazier is the new exetutive director of the American Independence Museum in Exeter.
...Gail Nessell Colglazier
filled the post left vacant this summer when former director Funi Burdick left for the same position at Canterbury Shaker Village
"I like the museum's theme of connecting America's Revolutionary past with the present.For a lot of people, history is either boring or irrelevant, but it doesn't have to be.It can be exciting and I think there are a lot of opportunities here to make it exciting for people," she
is attracted to history through stories and hopes to attract visitors to the American Independence Museum
through those stories.
"As exciting as it is to look at the Declaration of Independence, it's the whole story of people and what was on their minds when they were drafting this," she
said."That's what makes it really exciting."For the last nine years, Colglazier has led the Manchester Historic Association as its director, during which time she oversaw the creation of the Millyard Museum, now one of Manchester's central attractions.
The Millyard Museum project was daunting as the building in the historic Amoskeag Millyard did not have an adequate heating or cooling system.She
led a $4 million capital campaign that allowed the building to open as a museum.A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Colglazier majored in American studies and earned her master's degree from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture.She has worked extensively with the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance and the Division of Historic Resources and is actively involved with the New England Museum Association and the American Association of State and Local History.
Focusing on the 18th century mill community for nine years while in Manchester, Colglazier
was attracted to the Exeter position because it was somewhat different.
"They have a broadside copy of the Declaration of Independence and two drafts of the U.S. Constitution.That's pretty exciting," she
Since taking the position Jan. 2, Colglazier
has been learning about the museum's buildings and collections, and is getting acquainted with staff and others involved with the museum.
"Everyone has been welcoming and helpful.It's a nice way to start a new job," she
hopes to work toward one of the museum's long-term goals to exhibit its historic documents more often.
"Finding a way to do that would be excellent.Making these more available to people is a great thing to be doing," she
said."One thing about old houses is it's sometimes hard to have modern exhibits."Colglazier
would also like to lead the museum in taking advantage of the recently renovated Folsom Tavern for exhibits and events.
"Figuring out how best to use it is exciting.All the stories you can tell is exciting," she
said.AIM's board of governors will host an event to welcome Colglazier on Thursday, March 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Folsom Tavern.
Donors, members, sponsors and community members will be invited as the date approaches.