The Martha’s Vineyard Museum board announced Monday that Phil Wallis, a native of southeastern Pennsylvania, and longtime Island visitor with family on the Vineyard, will be the museum’s new executive director, effective Feb. 16.
He replaces David Nathans, who resigned from the post in September after six years on the job. Mr. Wallis’s brother David Wallis is an Island artist with a home in Oak Bluffs.
Phil Wallis received his master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton Business School, and his undergraduate degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy, according to a press release issued Monday. He has held leadership positions with several nonprofits over the past 20 years, most recently as executive director of Audubon Pennsylvania. At Audubon, Mr. Wallis led a team that grew the organization’s membership to 30,000 and completed two national education and conservation leadership centers serving more than 100,000 visitors and school-aged youth. Those projects included capital campaigns that raised $30 million.
That experience will come in handy as the museum moves forward with ambitious plans to move locations following its 2011 purchase of the old Marine Hospital/St. Pierre Summer School property, which overlooks Lagoon Pond in Vineyard Haven.
“We are delighted to have Phil leading our museum during this very important stage in our history,” Elizabeth Beim, museum board chairman, said in a press statement. “This is an exciting transformational time as we grow our museum and move into the Marine Hospital building in Vineyard Haven. We have begun our final architectural design process, and plan to open the new facility in 2018. This will require support from all communities on the Island, and Mr. Wallis is a proven collaborative leader and builder of non-profit organizations.”
“To lead in the transformation of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, to expand the narrative of the Vineyard’s history, and to reconnect residents’ and visitors’ present experiences to the past through exciting interpretation in a truly extraordinary setting — I am thrilled to be part of this organization.” Mr. Wallis said. “The Vineyard is rich in its history, both human and natural, and in its multifaceted and seasonal communities. I believe that the museum can become the Island’s cultural center for everyone, that destination which residents and visitors alike ‘must see’ and experience, the institution that protects the Island’s sense of place … the memories that define us all.”
For more information on the museum, visit mvmuseum.org.