The Questions -July 2017

photography by: Nicole Harnishfeger

Evan Schwanfelder has been on the island just over a year. After serving as a museum educator and site interpreter for the summer at the Nantucket Historical Association, the avid fisherman and musician was hired full-time to be the NHA’s manager of education.


How did you end up in Nantucket? What brought you here?

One of my best friends from college, Jack Killen, is from Nantucket. I had always visited him out here in the summer during school and after we graduated. Over those years the island became a really special place for me. Last spring Jack had his wedding out here, and it had been a few years since I had returned for a visit. I was single at the time, living and teaching in Connecticut, when out of the blue I met an amazing woman at Jack’s wedding, a dear friend of his that he grew up with. The stars aligned. I came out to visit her pretty much every weekend between when we met and the end of my school year. I decided to move out full-time to be with my girlfriend and see where the summer would take us. It’s been one of the best years yet and I can’t wait for many more to come. To answer the question more simply, I fell in love with a girl from Nantucket, the beautiful and talented photographer, Katie Kaizer.

What made you first become involved with the Nantucket Historical Association?

When I decided to move out here I knew I wanted to have a job for the summer and work in some capacity with Nantucket’s history. I love “Moby-Dick” and tore through Nathanial Philbrick’s “In the Heart of the Sea,” and the few times I visited as a kid I always remembered the whaling museum. I really just asked Katie, “Hey, do you know anyone at the whaling museum who might be able to help me find a summer gig?” The rest fell into place pretty quickly. Katie knew Marjan Shirzad at the NHA, put us in touch over the phone, and after a whirlwind conversation I was basically hired as a museum educator and site interpreter. The little twist to the story is that not too far along into the interview Marjan mentioned that there was a full-time manager of education position open, and half-jokingly, if I didn’t want to leave Nantucket it might be a really good fit for me. Well ... it was. I applied for the position last September after a great summer with the NHA, and couldn’t be happier with the job, the organization and the great people I get to work with every day.

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