Trenton Museum Society

TMS seeking new Trustees

Trenton Museum Society

Founded in 1973, the Trenton Museum Society oversees the only museum devoted to New Jersey’s capital city, Trenton. The Museum Society is a 501(c)3 non­profit corporation that holds in trust, maintains and seeks to display and increase public access to its large and important collection of historical objects, works of art, books and other documents pertaining to the industrial, cultural, political and civic history of Trenton, from its founding up to the present. Under an agreement with the City of Trenton, the Museum Society collection is housed in the grand Ellarslie Mansion located on the grounds of Trenton’s historic Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Cadwalader Park. Ellarslie Mansion, also called the Trenton City Museum, is open to the public, which can view selections from the museum society’s peerless collection, including ceramics created by Trenton’s famous 19th and 20th Century pottery industry, historical  and cultural artifacts and work by the region’s roster of accomplished artists.

In recent years, the Trenton Museum Society has become very active in supporting and showcasing the work of contemporary visual artists and musicians from the greater Trenton area, as well as actively using its collections and resources as an educational tool to foster an understanding of Trenton history and instill an interest in the creative arts among students at Trenton’s schools.

The ongoing programs and current collection of the Trenton Museum Society are managed by a staff director and a voluntary board of trustees-a group of  committed individuals from the Trenton area with professional backgrounds spanning the worlds of business and the arts, as well as both the public and private sectors, whose mission is also to secure outside funding in order to conserve and augment Museum Society holdings and increase public knowledge of, access to and interest in them.


Donna Carcaci Rhodes

Board of Trustees

President – Millee Medina
Vice President – Joan Perkes
Treasurer – Jean Shaddow
Recording Secretary – Carolyn Stetson
Corresponding Secretary – Jane Malloy

Marisa Benson
Valerie Bronson
David Bosted
Hope Carter
David Chiacchio
John Deitz
Karl Flesch
Carol Hill
Richard Hunter
Michael Newman
Paul Provost
Carla Sakson
Brenda Springsted
Richard Willinger

Ex-Officio Trustees
Donna Carcaci Rhodes. Director
George Benson, designee of the Superintendent of the Trenton Public Schools

Assistant to the Board
Sally Baxter

Guest Relations
James Strobel

Trenton City Museum


Mission:  Through its exhibits, collections, and community programs, the Trenton City Museum preserves and promotes the diverse history, art, and culture of Trenton and the greater Trenton area for the benefit of Trenton residents and visitors.

Vision:  The Trenton City Museum is a model museum working to keep the arts, culture, and history of the community alive and relevant and, as a result, helps redefine the perception of the city of Trenton.

We will attain our vision by being financially sustainable, effectively governed, diverse and collaborative.

Adopted February 2011


In support of its mission and vision, the Trenton Museum Society is a proud member of the following organizations:

The American Alliance of Museums

The League of Historical Societies of New Jersey

MID Jersey Chamber of Commerce

Potteries of Trenton Society

Quester International

The Tri-State Coalition of Historic Places

Trenton Museum Society

Board of Trustees


 Marisa N. Benson is a graduate of the School of Diplomacy at Seton Hall University. She works on the International Internship Program for undergraduates at Princeton University. Prior to Princeton, she was a Cultural Program Specialist for the U.S. Department of State. During this period, she contributed to the success of cultural exchange, and professional development programs in the performing, literary and visual arts. These programs included the American Music Abroad Program, the Cultural Visitor and Fellows Mentoring Program, the Cultural Envoy program, and Performing Arts Initiative and the International Writing Program. She is an arts consultant with expertise in cultural diplomacy, arts management, and government relations. She is the founder of ArtsWorldGPS, an arts services company that provides arts services that meet the unique needs of the global and local arts community.  ArtsWorldGPS aims to connect arts professionals to one another and bridge inequalities in the arts sector.  In Trenton, Marisa founded and produced three monthly series: ArtSpeaks, ArtsTechNJ and the Made in Trenton: Creative Entrepreneurship Program. She also spearheads the master classes for Art All Night and is a member of the Trenton Cultural Resources Network steering committee, the Ewing Arts Commission and New Jersey Emerging Arts Leaders. Most recently, she has embarked on creative place-making projects in Trenton, Orange and Camden, New Jersey. As a speaker, Marisa has presented at conferences in Africa, the Middle East and in the United States on the topics of the value of cultural exchange, professional development opportunities, the potential of online arts portals, the creative economy, and the role of government in the arts. In addition to speaking engagements, she is also a rapper/spoken word artist and performs regularly in the tri-state area, and abroad.

 David Bosted is a retired government attorney with degrees from Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD), Phi Beta Kappa, Class of ’70, Rutgers Law School, JD ‘74, and Rutgers Graduate School of Policy and Planning, New Brunswick, NJ, Master of City & Regional Planning (MCRP), ’74.. Before retiring in 2014, he was elected President of the American Association of State Policy Services, and hosted the annual AASPS national convention in Atlantic City. He served as a NJ Deputy Attorney General, handling environmental regulations and litigation. He also did legal work at the NJ Dept of Community Affairs, Trenton, NJ and the NJ Dept of Human Services. Working abroad, he was sent by US Dept of State to Ukraine to advise Ukraine on the transition to a mixed economy, after the fall of communism in the Soviet Union. Also, he served as Assistant Attorney General (and Acting AG) for the nation of Micronesia-FSM, 1993-95 drafting the FSM national law of education. He is co-founder and volunteer, 1997-currently, at the International Charter School of Trenton. He served as a member of the Board of Directors, NJ Public Charter School Association, 2004-2006. He has published over 30 articles on education and school governance. In Trenton, David served on the Trenton City Zoning Board for twelve years (both as a member and as Board President) and served four terms as President of the Island Civic Association. Academically, David has  He has taught college courses at Ramapo State College, Montclair State University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Thomas Edison State College, and The College of New Jersey, and has invariably been highly rated by students. At Ellarslie, David has been curator or co-curator of three exhibits: Celebrated African Textiles, Before There Was Trenton, and Ties That Bind: The Aprons of Trenton.

.David C. Chiacchio has been CFSP Funeral Director and Manager of The Chiacchio Southview Funeral Home for more than 35 years. David graduated first in his class from the MCCC Mortuary Science program and is licensed in NJ and PA. He is former President of the Mercer County Funeral Directors Association, former president of the Enrico Fermi Federation, a Select Designated National Certified Funeral Service Practitioner, a former volunteer for the American Red Cross and a former treasurer of the Trenton Museum Society. He has served on the board of the South Broad Street Civic Association aka the Arena Improvement District South in Trenton, NJ and is a current member of the Knights of Columbus #355, the Italian-American Hall of Fame. and many other area organizations fraternal and religious.

Karl Flesch received a BS degree from Villanova University in Mathematics. Retired from the State of New Jersey Office of Information Technology, he is currently employed as office manager at Monroe Medical Associates. Karl also serves on the board of the Trenton Historical Society.

Carol V. Hill has been a trustee at the Trenton Museum Society for 16+ years and has served on various committees including store chair, PR, garden, exhibits committee (chair), started the annual Holiday Boutique and has been on numerous other committees. A graduate of The College of New Jersey (then Trenton State College) with a BS in art education, she taught at South Hunterdon Regional High School and Mercer County Special Services. She also attended Pratt Institute and Trenton Junior College, later formed Studio Associates Advertising Agency, and retired from Trenton Printing in 2011. She has been a trustee at the Ewing Township Historical Society for many years.

Richard W. Hunter, Ph.D. is founder and President of Hunter Research, Inc., a Trenton-based historic preservation and cultural resource management consulting firm established in 1986. He holds a B.A. in Archaeology and Geography from Birmingham University, England, an M.A. in Archaeological Science from Bradford University, England, and a Ph.D. in Geography from Rutgers University. He is an appointed member of the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission, a trustee of the Hopewell Valley Historical Society and a past President of Preservation New Jersey and the Trenton Downtown Association. He also served for ten years on the New Jersey State Historic Sites Review Board. His firm has received numerous state and federal historic preservation awards for historical, archaeological and preservation planning services and has worked at many historic landmarks in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Central Park, Independence National Historical Park, Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, Morven and the New Jersey State House. Dr. Hunter has authored many books, booklets and journal articles, and recently curated two exhibits at the Trenton City Museum, one celebrating the bicentennial of the founding of the Catholic Church in Trenton and another introducing the stoneware of 18th-century potter James Rhodes.

Corresponding Secretary, Jane Malloy is a Trenton native and is happy to still reside in the capital.  She is a graduate of New York University and currently works in New York City as a Foreign Affairs Analyst.  Jane has been a volunteer with “Big Brothers/ Big Sisters” and currently works with “Trenton Reads” a community- based organization that meets weekly to encourage and support reading activities for children in grades K-8.  Jane has also been an active volunteer with “Exercise, Eat Always Together (EEAT, Inc.)” a community-based organization that addresses obesity and overweight in children and adolescents

President, Millee Medina rejoined the Board in 2013 after taking a break from serving a six-year term starting in 2006 and currently serves on the Fundraising Events Committee. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rider University and is presently employed by the Pemberton Twp. Board of Education where she teaches Spanish at the High School level. Millee is a current member of the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission where she serves as chair, an active member of NJEA, New Jersey Educators Association and NEA. She was also honored in 1998 by the Desfile Puertoriqueño for “Teacher of the Year” and in 2000 by the same organization for Banquet Coordinator. In 2007, the Board of Chosen Freeholders of Mercer County also honored her during “Hispanic Heritage Month” for her contributions in the Hispanic Community.

Dr. Michael A. Newman is a self-employed optometric physician who has been in private practice in Trenton since 1969. He is a member of American Optometric Association, the New Jersey State affiliate of that and a Diplomate of the Cornea Section of the American Academy of Optometry. He has volunteered on numerous professional committees over the years. Community volunteer affiliations include the Trenton Roebling Community Development Committee, board of directors; the Invention Factory, task force member, and for the past two years, Board of Trustee member of the Trenton Museum Society.

Vice President, Joan Perkes received a BA from Temple University and spent time studying in Rome, Italy. Her first gallery opened in 1969 in Philadelphia with a satellite gallery in New Hope, PA. Now a private dealer, she has had experience in most aspects of the business of art. Locally, in 2011, she was selected by Herman Silverman, to guide his new art venture, the Silverman Gallery in Buckingham, Pa. She founded, along with Joanne Katsiff and AnnMarie Torres, The Community School of New Hope-Solebury. It continues today as a part of BCCC.

Paul D. Provost has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2011. He retired from the State of New Jersey, Division of Taxation after 35 years of service. Paul attended Trenton State College, Mercer County Community College and Rider University. As an Adjunct Professor, he also taught English as a Second Language for Burlington County College and the Mercer Institute at Princeton University.

Carla Sakson received a BS in Clothing and Textile Design from the University of Vermont.  She started her career as a buyer for SP Dunham’s in Trenton then moved on to Director of Food Services for Eurest and Chartwell’s Dining Services in the business and school sectors for 27 years. During this time she received the Customer Excellence Award in the 90’s , Regional Account of Excellence Award 2001 and National Account of the Year award in 2002. After leaving the
foodservice in 2007 she worked for the Dairy Farmers as a School Marketing Manager for Mid Atlantic Dairy Association, promoting milk and dairy in school lunch and breakfast programs, issuing equipment grants to school food services for participating in programs promoting dairy consumption to students and expanding breakfast programs in their schools.  During this time she developed 3 coloring books, a dairy recipe binder to be used with equipment grants, contests for students and foodservices to participate in, and a tracking system for dairy consumption at schools.

Treasurer, Jean Shaddow holds a BS degree from Rutgers University’s Cook College in Natural Resource Management. Formerly employed by the City of Trenton for almost 20 years as Director of Natural Resources for the Department of Recreation, Natural Resources & Culture, she was responsible for development and maintenance of Trenton’s parks, recreation areas and urban forest. Jean participates on the Fundraising and Gala Committees as well as helping to oversee the museum store. She brings experience in grant writing and special event logistics to the TMS board. She is currently employed by Isles, Inc. at the Isles YouthBuild Institute as a grants writer and manager. In addition to TMS, she is active on the non-profit boards of Trees for Trenton, the Friends for the Abbott Marsh, and the Cadwalader Park Alliance.

Brenda Lockhart Springsted is a self-employed historic archaeologist and material culture specialist with an MA in Anthropology from New York University and a BA from Brown University, also in Anthropology. Most recently she was employed at Richard Grubb and Associates, Inc. as Lab Director and Material Culture Specialist. She is affiliated with the Register of Professional Archaeologists and has served on the board of the Potteries of Trenton Society since 2004. In addition to teaching Archaeology, Brenda has presented papers at the Society of Historical Archaeology, Council of Northeast Archaeology, Archaeological Society of New Jersey, and American Ceramic Circle. She has worked in a number of museums on collections. In addition to a number of cultural resource surveys from 1975-1981, she has published articles in Northeast Historical Archaeology 1977: 6, American Ceramic Circle 1985: 4, and the Journal of Mid-Atlantic Archaeology 1999: 15.

Recording Secreatary, Carolyn P. Stetson attended Vassar College and graduated from Boston University with degrees in Sociology and English Education. After retiring in 2000 from the West Windsor-Plainsboro Public Schools where she taught English Language Arts for 28 years, she took on volunteering for Trenton cultural institutions as a full time job. She is currently serving in her ninth term as trustee of the Trenton Museum Society and has served as board president four times. She has also served as an officer of her civic association and on the board of Artworks. She was a founding member of Trenton Peace Action, CityArts, and the Trenton Cultural Resource Network and continues to serve as a steering committee member of TCRN. She served as co-chair of Trenton Mayor Jackson’s Transition Team Committee on Arts, Culture and History. She currently serves on the board of the Trent House Association. Among the awards and accolades Carolyn has received, she is most proud of recently being awarded Citizen of the Year by the Trenton Council of Civic Associations.


Currently the Director of the Trenton City Museum, Donna Carcaci Rhodes has career experience including museum administration and curatorial sciences. Her former curatorial positions include management of fine art and textile collections, archival sciences, textile preservation, publication research, exhibit development and extensive historic site conservation and restoration. She has worked with education program design, art scholarship and exhibit juries, and museum tour design and docent education. Donna has traveled to 13 countries, including China as a guest lecturer. She served as the US Museum Consultant for the Pearl S. Buck Museums of China and continues to lecture on the literature and life of Pearl S. Buck. Donna’s education includes degrees in Art History and in Business. She lectures in and is published in artifact research, architectural history, textile research, organizational volunteer support training and historical studies. Her media representation includes international, national and local networks of NPR (National Public Radio), CNC (China Xinhua News Network Corporation), Voice of America, and Comcast Television Networks and local Pennsylvania and New Jersey radio and television networks. Donna resides in Holland Pennsylvania.