National Park Service Appoints New Head of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

NEW BEDFORD – National Park Service (NPS) Northeast Regional Director Dennis Reidenbach has selected Jen Nersesian as the superintendent of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Nersesian will manage a park that encompasses 34 acres spread over 13 city blocks, and a budget of nearly $900,000. She begins her assignment in March. Nersesian follows Celeste Bernardo, who left last year to become Deputy Superintendent at two Boston-area parks, Boston National Historical Park and Boston African American National Historic Site.
“Jen Nersesian brings strong skills in planning and collaboration” Reidenbach. said “She knows what a National Park Service site can do for a region and will build on the strong foundation of partnerships that are in place at New Bedford Whaling.”
New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, one of 391 units in the National Park Service, tells the stories of the whaling industry and its influence on the economy, society, and the environment. The park includes New Bedford’s 13-block waterfront historic district, visitor center, Corson Maritime Learning Center, Schooner Ernestina, the Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum and sites along the waterfront. The park works with the Iñupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska, to commemorate the more than 2,000 whaling voyages from New Bedford to the Western Arctic. More than 3 million people have visited New Bedford Whaling since it was designated as a park in 1996.
Since 2005 Nersesian served as Management Assistant in Yosemite National Park in California where she built the park’s community involvement program. She came into the National Park Service in 2002 as a Presidential Management Fellow, a program to recruit talented advanced-degree graduates into public service management. Before that, she worked in private, nonprofit, academic, and government sectors in communications; in film, video, and animation production; in software development, watershed evaluation, and state planning.
“Since the park was designated in 1996, New Bedford has been a model throughout the NPS of what can be accomplished through partnerships; I intend to continue in this spirit of collaboration, and look forward to sharing the park’s stories with the public in ways that also benefit the greater region,” Nersesian said. “I was attracted to New Bedford’s rich and diverse history and culture, from the maritime history to the Underground Railroad to the vibrant mix of people who call it home today,”
Nersesian holds a Master of Public Policy with a concentration in Environmental Policy from Rutgers. A native of New Jersey, with family ties in and around Massachusetts, Nersesian and her husband Luis are expecting their first child this summer.
For more information about New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, visit
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