|A Lackawanna County native, Mary Ann graduated from Kutztown University with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. While a student, she served as curatorial intern at the Anthracite Heritage Museum under the supervision of Chester Kulesa.
Following graduation she was recruited to catalog the museum’s Hennemuth photographic collection. Afterward, she went to Carbondale, IL to work as an archaeological technician for American Resources Group. There she was a member of a field crew, obtaining practical experience in Phase II archaeology both on site and in a laboratory setting. In 1991 she returned home to accept the position of administrative assistant at the Lackawanna Historical Society, a post she held for six years.
In 1997 she was appointed executive director of the Society. Under her leadership, the Society has expanded its programming, educational opportunities, and community partnerships.
Mary Ann has invited local artists to create and participate in LHS events in an effort to present to the community unique and exciting programs that promote an interest in local history. One such event is the musical/historical production Under the Lackawanna Moon which was performed at the Dunmore Cemetery and Waverly’s Hickory Grove Cemetery.
The Society’s educational outreach includes the Museums as a Classroom program which provides Act 48 credits for local teachers and familiarizes them with myriad local resources available to them and their students.
One of the most popular offerings initiated under Mary Ann’s watch is the Historic Hill House Tour. This biennial event draws about 800 people who tour architecturally diverse residences in Scranton’s Hill Section and learn about their original owners and architectural styles. The Places of Worship Tour, Scranton After Dark paranormal walking tour and annual Civil War Ball also are community favorites.
Forming alliances with other historical and cultural organizations has been a hallmark of Mary Ann’s tenure. The LHS’s participation in the Arts on Fire program illustrates the Society’s success in partnering with like-minded institutions to bring to life the history and heritage of the Lackawanna Valley.
The Society’s fundraising efforts have increased over the past several years with such offerings as the annual Taste of History event and the successful Capital Campaign to fund Phase I and Phase II of the Exterior Restoration of its headquarters, the Catlin House.