A man who was born and raised in the Passamaquoddy community of Indian Township in Washington County has been chosen as the new executive director of the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, which preserves art, culture and history of the Wabanaki tribes in Maine.
Christopher Newell has served since 2015 as education supervisor for the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center in Ledyard, Connecticut. Newell was among the officials at Connecticut museum who founded the Akomawt Educational Initiative to provide Native history lessons to public schools, and was a senior adviser on the Emmy-winning documentary film Dawnland, about the historic Maine-Wabanaki State Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Newell replaces Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, who left the Bar Harbor museum last year to take a similar post at the Illinois State Museum.
As a Passamaquoddy and experienced museum educator, Newell is well qualified for his new post, according to Abbe officials. The Wabanaki tribes include the Passamaquoddys, Penobscots, Micmacs and Maliseets, and Abenakis of New England and eastern Canada.
Newell “is uniquely qualified to advance the Abbe’s vision to reflect and realize the values of decolonization in all of our practices,” said Margo Lukens, co-chair of the museum’s board of trustees. “Chris’s experience in museum education prepares him to convey the vitality and importance of Wabanaki peoples and cultures to widely diverse audiences.”