Niles Parker, executive director of the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor, will step down in May after more than a decade in the position. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

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

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

“This is a bittersweet decision for me,” Parker said. “It has been an utter 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 diverse range of programming that has been created here over the years.”

Parker joined the museum in December 2010, after serving as executive director of the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, replacing previous director Andrea Stark. Over the course of 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 Maine elementary-school teachers that will launch this fall.

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

“Niles has been such an incredible leader for the museum,” said Anne-Marie Storey, chair of the museum’s board of directors. “His work has put the museum in a very solid position moving 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.

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.