Booth Named Interim Director at Manchester Historical Museum


Robert Booth, of Manchester, has been named interim director of the Manchester Historical Museum, according to MHM board president Rus Brown.

Robert is already on the job, succeeding Beth Welin, who served in the part-time position for eight years.  

“The community is deeply grateful for Beth’s many contributions to the museum and wishes her the very best in her new position managing the collections at the Hammond Castle Museum in Gloucester,” the Board wrote in a letter.

Booth, a historian who has conducted the MHM house-history and-marker program for the past two years, is the former long-time CEO of a national not-for-profit professional organization.  

A graduate of Harvard, he started his career as a newspaper reporter in Salem, and went on to write several books of history, including the prize-winning “Death of an Empire” (2011), about the demise of Salem as a trading center 1815-1830, “Mad For Glory” (2015), about the Pacific in the War of 1812, and “The Women of Marblehead” (2016), a history of that town in the 19th century. In 2020 his commissioned monograph, “The History of the Meeting Houses of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.” was published in connection with the 375th anniversary of the incorporation of the town.

In the past six years, under presidents Susan Parker and Christine Virden, MHM more-than tripled its programs.  Its website, http://manchesterhistoricalmuseum, offers many links to historical topics, including 33 videos of lectures.  In addition to a three-person part-time staff, including board member Martha Chapman, administrative assistant, and graduate student Matthew Swindell, archival assistant, the museum benefits from the involvement of more than 300 members and a dedicated group of volunteers, including a 15-person board of directors.

On April 30, the museum will sponsor a “short program” by Mary Ellen Lepionka of Gloucester, who, with colleagues, encourages you to bring in any Indian relics for examination and identification at the museum during the hours of 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Please register to bring artifacts by calling 978-526-7230.

On May 18, Robert Booth will be presenting an illustrated talk, “The Wandering Houses of Manchester,” about houses that were moved from their original sites.  The talk will be given at Visitation Parish (formerly Sacred Heart Parish Hall), 62 School Street.  Refreshments will be served from 6:30 p.m. until the start of the lecture at 7.  All are invited, free to members, $10 to non-members.

The Manchester Historical Museum, 10 Union Street, houses the collection of art, artifacts, and documents from Manchester’s past, and interprets the town’s remarkable history to all comers. It is open to the public every week, Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  When summer hours resume in July, the museum anticipates being open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you would like to become a volunteer at the museum, please call 978-526-7230.

mary ellen lepionka, susan parker, mhm board president, manchester historical museum, historian, massachusetts, martha chapman, interim director, robert booth, rus brown