President and CEO Carl R. Nold is retiring

Sep 20, 2019

Carl R. Nold, president and chief executive officer of Historic New England, announced that he will retire in spring 2020 after seventeen years of service. Nold is only the sixth leader in the organization’s 109-year history.

Photograph of Historic New England CEO Carl R. Nold

“Carl’s tenure has been one of growth and transformation,” said David Martland, chair of the Historic New England board of trustees. “With great skill and energy, he has led Historic New England into the twenty-first century and prepared the organization for continued success. It is with deep gratitude that the board of trustees thanks Carl for his leadership and contributions to Historic New England and the history museum field.”


Under Nold’s leadership, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities rebranded to Historic New England in 2004, laying the groundwork for expanded access to its world-class buildings, landscapes, objects, and stories through fresh, creative programming and services. Since 2003, historic site attendance was grown from 132,605 to 211,028, membership was increased by fifty percent, and the number of school children served nearly tripled annually.

Nold has overseen the acquisition of four historic sites: Phillips House in Salem, Massachusetts; the Eustis Estate in Milton, Massachusetts; Coolidge Point in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts; and the Sarah Orne Jewett Visitor Center in South Berwick, Maine. In addition, Historic New England established a regional office in Burlington, Vermont.

Historic New England expanded its preservation impact throughout the region during Nold’s tenure by increasing the number of privately owned historic properties protected through the Historic New England Preservation Easement Program from 64 to 113, including twentieth-century homes designed by noted architects Marcel Breuer, Henry B. Hoover, Earl Flansburgh, and Royal Barry Wills.

In 2006 Historic New England acquired its Collections Center and Regional Office, in Haverhill, Massachusetts, a milestone in advancing the care of the organization’s object and archival collections. These collections have continued to grow to include a John Singleton Copley and seven Gilbert Stuart portraits, a Henry Moore sculpture once owned by the Gropius family, the Royal Barry Wills Archive, the AH Davenport/Irving and Casson furniture archive, photography collections from Verner Reed and Steve Rosenthal, and the entire architectural record of Boston City Hall development from architects Kalmann, McKinnel, and Wood.

The online collections access portal, launched in 2010 as part of Historic New England’s centennial, makes the collections accessible globally. Nold directed the centennial celebration to focus outwardly on the public. This included introducing Historic New England’s 100 Years, 100 Communities initiative to partner with communities throughout the region on projects that save and share twentieth-century stories. This initiative continues today as Everyone’s History.

“None of these achievements would be possible without Carl’s solid administrative and financial leadership,” said Martland. “He has successfully led us through the two largest financial downturns since the depression, with minimal disruption to public service and programming. During his time, Historic New England’s endowment was grown from $64 million to $129 million. We raised $90 million for endowment and operations, plus more than $25 million in real estate donations.”

Nold says, “The successes of Historic New England buck the trend of declining interest in history and historic houses, thanks to extraordinary efforts by our teams of staff, board, and volunteers. We continue our vision of saving and sharing New England heritage with large and diverse audiences. I look forward to continuing to lead the organization through a smooth transition into new leadership and its next period of accomplishment.”

Martland appointed a search committee, chaired by Historic New England overseer and former trustee Deborah Allinson, to find a successor to build on Nold’s legacy of broad public access and financial sustainability.