Nantucket Events

Geschke Series Inspires Discussion & Thought

The Nantucket Atheneum has a long history of bringing distinguished people to Nantucket Island to speak. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Horace Greeley, Lucretia Mott, and Frederick Douglass are among those who lectured in the Great Hall of the Atheneum during years long past.

Around the turn of this century (the early 2000s), several Atheneum Board Members began to brainstorm and to plan how they could revive that tradition. To address issues of budget, they applied to the National Endowment for the Humanities for a grant and were awarded one. “We were one of only two public libraries in the U.S. to receive a grant that year,” Nan Geschke explained in a previous interview. “It was a matching grant, so we had to go out and find funding to bring up the total to about $1.2 million” to start an endowment for the series. The Geschke Foundation, founded by Charles and Nan Geschke, was the largest donor to the matching grant, hence the name of the lecture series.

For nearly 20 years, starting in the summer of 2005, the Geschke Lecture Series has brought speakers to Nantucket to inform and challenge island audiences with current critical ideas and issues. Stimulating thought and bringing substantive issues before the community has long been part of the purpose and tradition of the Nantucket Atheneum.

The 2024 Geschke Lecture Series will include six speakers with a variety of perspectives who will share their expertise in the environment, education, journalism, writing, politics, AI, and more. Tickets for each lecture cost $52 and are available now at All lectures begin at 6 pm and will be held in a variety of island venues.

The series begins on Saturday, June 29 with war correspondent and writer Mitzi Perdue. She was a syndicated columnist for 22 years and currently writes for the Association of Foreign Press Correspondents and for Psychology Today. Her work has appeared in publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, the Epoch Times, and USA Today. As a war correspondent, Perdue has visited Ukraine three times; many of her interviews were conducted in bomb shelters while the cities she was visiting were under active attack. This lecture will be held in the Great Hall of the Atheneum, 1 India Street.

On Thursday, July 25, Max Holmes, president and CEO of Woodwell Climate Research Center, takes on environmental issues with journalist Kitty Pilgrim as moderator. Holmes is a sought-after speaker and is quoted by top news outlets including The Washington Post, New York Times, and The Boston Globe. He previously served as director of the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Arctic Systems Science Program. This lecture will be held in the Great Harbor Yacht Club.

Geschke Lecture Series speakers during August 2024 are Dr. Jonathan Koppell, who will speak about equal access to education on August 1; best-selling author Bianca Bosker, who will discuss her latest book Get the Picture on August 8; and journalist and author Clara Bingham on her new book The Movement on August 16. On August 22, Piera Riccio will live stream from Spain to explore the cultural, social, and artistic possibilities of AI.

Ticket purchases are limited to four per lecture, and these popular lectures can often sell out. At press time, tickets to each lecture were available.

Articles by Date from 2012