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New Superintendent Named to West Hawaii National Parks

April 23, 2013, 12:35 PM HST
* Updated April 23, 3:37 PM
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Tammy Duchesne has been selected as the new superintendent of Pu`uhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park in West Hawaii.

She replaces Kathy Billings, who was recently selected as superintendent of Death Valley National Park, which straddles the border of California and Nevada.

“Tammy has a great deal of experience working with park staffs, neighboring communities, and other agencies to create shared visions and solve problems in the Pacific,” said Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz.

“Her enthusiasm and deep professional and personal commitment to the Pacific Islands makes her a great fit for this opportunity.”

Duchesne is currently the superintendent at Women’s Rights National Historical Park in New York.

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Prior to that, she was the management assistant to the National Park Service northeast regional director where she served as a liaison between 76 parks and the regional office, helping to provide park management guidance and assistance to the field.

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While Duchesne has spent years on the East Coast, she has extensive experience working in Pacific Island parks and working to help tell a more comprehensive story of the Pacific islander experience.

Duchesne served for more than six years as curator and chief of cultural resources for War in the Pacific National Historic Park in Guam and American Memorial Park in the Northern Mariana Islands.

During that time she was instrumental in creating an “online virtual museum,” helping to open the American Memorial Park Visitor Center in Saipan and assisting in the creation of new and more inclusive exhibits at the park.

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During her tenure in Micronesia, Duchesne established a digital image exchange partnership with the Micronesian Seminar in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, which enabled both institutions to better tell the story of how World War II affected Pacific islanders.

She also collaborated with the anthropology faculty at the University of Hawai’i to shed light on how World War II songs and chants captured the essence of the war experience for Micronesians.

“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to lead the parks, share and learn about the richness and diversity of the resources at Pu’uhonua O Honaunau and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Parks and engage with the native Hawaiian community, the park staff, and our partners to protect, manage and interpret traditional sites, landscapes, and culture,” said Duchesne in a released statement.

Duchesne holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and anthropology from Tulane University, New Orleans, a master’s degree in teaching from Elms College, Chicopee, Massachusetts, and a master’s degree in Micronesian Studies from the University of Guam.

She also holds a graduate certificate in museum studies from George Washington University.

 Duchesne will begin her new assignment in June.

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