6 Questions for Executive Director Michele Anstine

September 12, 2018

What is your favorite memory of growing up in Delaware?

I grew up in the country, without many people around, so my favorite memories are place-oriented–a local stream, an old church. At the same time, I lived on one corner of a crossroads, and my parents’ grocery store was on the other corner. I was always a people watcher, and I constantly developed stories about the people I would see and encounter in the store. 

What are the challenges you’re most looking forward to taking on for Delaware Humanities?

I think my primary answer to this question is broadening the base of the Delaware Humanities, in the experiences and funding we offer, in the geography of where we are represented, in the audiences we attract, and in our supporter and stakeholder network. 

What is your favorite book? 

This is a difficult question to answer. There are so many! Recently I have been reading—and listening to–more non-fiction than fiction. I started reading the March graphic novel trilogy over the weekend and have had a difficult time putting them down to do my work! My favorite book for many years, however, is a novel, Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver. My first love is literature and writing, and I love the way she weaves a story. The novel is about finding connections, the web of life. I will leave it at that.

Your experience is in museums and historical organizations. What does a historian’s perspective bring to the mission of Delaware Humanities?

Having worked at the Delaware Historical Society, I see many similarities between the goals and the struggles statewide organizations face. As a student of history, I was taught to think critically and create a context for the subjects I researched. What skills could be more essential to leading an organization? They allow me to see the big picture, trouble-shoot, and pay attention to details. And history provides a vital perspective on who we are and where we’ve been. We just need to remember the past does not solely define us and through the humanities we can explore new possibilities.

What have you found to be the most surprising part of your job thus far as Executive Director for DH?

Though I am not surprised by the passion the Delaware Humanities staff has for their work, I have been inspired by it daily. I have talked with a diverse array of Delaware Humanities stakeholders as well in the past two months, and their support and enthusiasm for the organization and its goals has been overwhelming. I feel I am in the place I need to be to positively impact my fellow Delawareans.

What is your favorite thing about Delaware?

Marshy flatlands, the ocean, a variety of perspectives in a very small state. Delaware is a microcosm, which makes it an ideal place to experience a little bit of everything!