Just a little note to say thank you for connecting my family and I to my father and for giving me this final opportunity to be there.

Cassandra Hawkins, July 12, 2011


Melinda Hunt

Melinda Hunt, president 2022-2024, is an interdisciplinary artist and founding director of the Hart Island Project. She holds an M.F.A from the Yale School of Art (1985) and M.S. in Digital Imaging and Design, NYU (2007). She began working on Hart Island with photographer Joel Sternfeld in 1991. They published a book, Hart Island, Scalo (1998). 

Melinda directed a film Hart Island: An American Cemetery (2008). She received awards from NYSCA in public art (1995), film (2000) and electronic art (2011). She received Canada Council Interarts Awards (2008, 2009, 2017, 2018, 2022) and a NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship in 2017. She directed development of Traveling Cloud Museum produced in collaboration with Studio AIRPORT and Webmine.nl in the Netherlands. In 2019, she received an NYC Womens Fund Award for directing the webseries: AIDS Burials on Hart Island.

Paul Tackowiak

Paul Tackowiak, vice president 2022-2024, graduated from Lehigh University with a B.A. in Architecture in 1982, and from the Yale School of Architecture with a M.Arch. in 1985. He is a registered architect in New Jersey and Connecticut. He has spent 25 years working for Bristol-Myers-Squibb in corporate architectural planning and interior design. Paul is a founding director of The Hart Island Project. He was born in White Plains, NY and currently lives in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Alexandra Barker

Alexandra Barker, trustee 2023-2025, is the founder and principal of Barker Associates Architecture Office in New York City.She is also the assistant chair and founding member of the Graduate Architecture and Urban Design Program and Associate Professor with CCE (Certificate of Continuing Education) at Pratt Institute. Alexandra Barker received her MARCH from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 1998. Her undergraduate work in Visual and Environmental Studies was completed at Harvard College in 1993. Recent professional awards include AIA New York and AIA Brooklyn Queens Design Award Certificates of Merit as well as national SARA (Society of American Registered Architects).

Thomas Berner

Tom Berner, vice president 2023-2025, is an attorney and consultant on litigation regarding mortgage backed securities. He has worked on legal issues pertaining to financial services and real estate for banks and law firms. In 2004-2005 he served as senior legal advisor for the Department of State in Afganistan. He served on the Board of Trustees of High Ridge House, a non-profit nursing home in Riverdale, NY 1991-2001. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Columbia University Law School. In 1999, he published a book on the History of the Brooklyn Navy Yard (Arcadia Publishing). 

Travis Miscia

Travis Miscia, secretary 2023-2025, is a regulatory enforcement attorney with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. He was formerly a public corruption prosecutor in New Jersey. In New York City he worked as a securities lawyer with an international law firm. He holds a B.A. in history from New York University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He regularly publishes his work in genealogical journals and is an occasional recording artist. 

Advisory Board

Alan Hartman

Alan Hartman, is Assistant Professor of Italian and Spanish at Mercy College, where he is also the Program Director of Modern Foreign Languages. He holds a B.S. in Psychology and Spanish from Manhattan College (2003), a M. A. in Hispanic Studies from Boston College (2005), a M. A. in Italian Studies from Middlebury College (2006), and a Doctor of Modern Languages from Middlebury College (2014). He also serves as a Board of Trustees Member for the White Plains Historical Society and is a founding member of Caminando Por La Paz, Guatemala. His academic areas of expertise include Italian Fascist Period Literature, Italian American Literature, Latin American Contemporary Literature, and Cultural Studies. Alan resides in Riverdale in the Bronx.

John Yeagley

John Yeagley, trustee 2016-2019, is an instructional-design project manager, and vice-president of Twisted Preservation, a NYC-based cultural & museum consultancy. He holds an M.S. in Instructional Design from Philadelphia University (2001), a certificate in Project Management from NYU (2011), and a Russian Studies B.A. with a concentration in International Politics (1995) from Franklin & Marshall College.

John's areas of interest and experience include foreign languages, film, architecture & design, cycling, sustainability, LGBT history & culture, and a variety of social justice issues. He resides in Old Salem, North Carolina with his partner Franklin and their dog Yogi.

Ferry dock at Hart Island
Ferry dock at Hart Island ©2010 Melinda Hunt
Prison Compound on Hart Island
Prison Compound on Hart Island ©2010 Melinda Hunt
Plot 66 - Infant burials
Plot 66 - Infant burials ©2010 Melinda Hunt
Riker's Island burial detail
Riker's Island burial detail ©2010 Melinda Hunt
The Hart Island Project © 2024
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