The head of a national landmark Shaker village in New Hampshire has been named the next executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust.

Funi Burdick has been executive director of the Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury, N.H., for the past nine years. She will succeed Christopher Scott, who will retire at the end of the year after 25 years at the helm of the nonprofit that owns and maintains historic buildings around the Island. Mr. Scott announced his retirement in June.

“We had more than 60 candidates, many of whom were highly qualified, and Funi very quickly rose to the top,” Mr. Scott told the Gazette this week. “Everyone was very impressed with her.”

Funi Burdick.

Among other things, Ms. Burdick oversaw the designation of the Shaker village as a National Historic Landmark, which included the restoration of more than 25 historic buildings and collections set on 700 acres. She has degrees in art history and architecture from Hampshire College and the Rhode Island School of Design, and previously worked at the Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth, N.H. and American Independence Museum in Exeter, N.H.

The executive search was handled internally by the trust board and Mr. Scott.

Robin Graham Jr., president of the board of trustees for the preservation trust who also chaired the search committee, said Ms. Burdick was a surprise late-comer in the search.

“We had narrowed it down to three people who were totally qualified, and then Funi came in. Her resume impressed everyone so much,” he said. “We thought, she not only checked all the boxes but she checked boxes we didn’t even know we had. She was so enthusiastic, so smart, so engaging. It wasn’t a hard choice. She just ran away with the show.”

He also had strong words of praise for Mr. Scott’s leadership and 25-year legacy at the preservation trust. “You don’t replace people like Chris,” Mr. Graham said. “We decided we wanted to find someone not to replace him, but succeed him and build on what he has done.”
Speaking to the Gazette by telephone, Ms. Burdick drew parallels between her work at the Shaker village and the work of the preservation trust.

“The Shakers left this amazing culture, this huge legacy of being mindful of sustainable living . . . . and the challenge we had here was to take that history and make it relevant to our contemporary lives, to bring it forward,” she said. “Because preserving the past is really about preserving the future. And one of the most intriguing things to me about the preservation trust is that they take a leadership role in  acquiring these landmarks . . . . and then restoring them to a modern use by allowing the community to use them.” She added:

“Most organizations want to put up a velvet rope; they want to preserve it but they don’t want you to use it. The preservation trust has a great mission that’s community minded.”

Ms. Burdick is married to a coastal scientist who previously worked in Woods Hole; they have long family ties in Welfleet. Their son is an architect who recently completed his graduate degree in design.

She said she tentatively plans to begin work in early January.

“Both my husband and I are excited about doing this,” she said. “Our favorite thing is to be near the ocean.”