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Q & A with Courtney Hurst

Earlier this year, the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum (PMPM) announced that its executive director K. David Weidner was stepping down and Board of Trustees former president Courtney Hurst would be taking over the position in an interim role while the venerable Provincetown institution conducts a nationwide search for a new executive director. Hurst’s involvement with PMPM has been long. A native of Provincetown, she also served on the PMPM Board for 12 years, was president for five years, and spearheaded fundraising and development campaigns there. As the 2024 season began a few weeks ago, Hurst took a few moments to chat with us about her hometown, her new role, and indeed, the role of PMPM itself in Provincetown.

Provincetown Magazine: What was it like growing up in Provincetown?

Courtney Hurst: Growing up in Provincetown is magical. That being said, since I’m fifth-generation on my dad’s side, and fourth-generation on my mom’s side, I kind of took it for granted because it was all I knew. When you grow up here, you understand on some level that your childhood is unlike other places, but you don’t realize just how unique it is until you head out into the world. We did not fully understand just how much our lives were impacted by the extremes of a seasonal economy and the adjustments you learn to make when your town swells in the summer and then shrinks that winter. We didn’t realize how lucky we were to have endless options to swim and boat and laugh and play the day away. And you don’t realize that when you do travel the world, though you’ll look for one, you’ll never find a place quite as special as the place we get to call Home.

PM: What’s your absolute favorite thing about Provincetown?

CH: A hundred images passed through my mind when I read that question and, as they flashed by, I got that familiar, warm feeling of what it’s like to be Home. Safe. Loved. Free. Provincetown makes so many people feel that way, no matter where they came from and no matter if it’s their first or 500th time. Provincetown changes people’s perspectives and opens up the heart and the soul. It becomes a part of you. That’s my absolute favorite thing about Provincetown.

PM: What are the challenges for PMPM as it is currently, and what goals do you have as the interim executive director of PMPM?

CH: The pressing challenge at this moment is to harness the growing excitement and support we’re feeling up here lately and to let it lift us to even greater heights. We’ve long had a vision of PMPM being not just the symbol of Provincetown, but the hub of the community. We want to open it up and give people more reasons to come up here, even if it’s simply to sit on the lawn with a blanket, a book, and some lunch.

Of course, there are other, more tactical challenges to conquer as we implement the Board’s strategic plan and consider how to update our collection and museum so we can tell even more of Provincetown’s history and legacy and continue to do campus maintenance. This last item will always be a factor because, let’s face it, decades of standing tall amidst the rain, salt, and wind has an impact that we need to manage, but there’s a solid crew up here between the board and the team, so I know we’ll handle it. I know we’ll find ways to tap the unlimited potential of this place. I’ve chased a lot of life dreams so far from owning PR firms and restaurants, to writing books and beyond, but this role at PMPM feels like a massive life opportunity. I can’t believe I get to be the one to lead this place. I keep thinking, “Don’t pinch me, because I don’t want to wake up.”

PM: What do you think the monument stands for or symbolizes at this point in time, both for visitors to Provincetown and those who live here?

CH: I think for most people, including me, the Monument stands for Provincetown. When people see it, they’re each filled with a visceral love of this place that is unique to them. For some, Provincetown is a place to get lost. For others, it’s a place to be found. Some are drawn to the light and nature, some thrive on the fun and vibrancy, some come to create, and some come for the clubs. But for most, it’s magical, inspiring, and life-changing. I think the Monument stands for all of that.

PM: I have to ask, how many times have you climbed the stairs to the top of the monument?

CH: It’s hard to say! When I was a kid, locals got in for free, so gangs of us would come up here often. Growing up in a small town, with everyone’s eyes on you at all times, we could cruise up here and have a sense of freedom. We’d run to the top and then, once we were up there, we were on our own for a bit, horsing around as we tried to figure out which specks below were our houses. It was the best. So, yeah, it’d be hard to give a number. And now, we’ve only been open a week and I’ve already climbed it three times, so I’m ready for the number to skyrocket from here.

The PMPM is located at 1 High Pole Hill Rd. in Provincetown.
For more information, call 508.487.1310 or visit

—Rebecca M. Alvin

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Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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