Trenton Museum Society

Trenton Museum Society at 50

Founded in 1973, the Trenton Museum Society oversees the only museum devoted to New Jersey’s capital city. 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 to the present. Under an agreement with the City of Trenton, the Museum Society collection is housed in the grand Ellarslie Mansion, built in 1848 and located on the grounds of Trenton’s historic Cadwalader Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. 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 artists of the region.

The Trenton Museum Society supports and showcases the work of contemporary visual artists and musicians from the greater Trenton area, and uses its collections and resources to foster an understanding of Trenton history and instill an grow interest in the creative arts among Trenton’s students.

The ongoing programs and current collection of the Trenton Museum Society are managed by a volunteer 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.

2023-24 Board of Trustees
President – Joan Perkes
First Vice President – Diane Ciccone
Second Vice President – Patricia Allen
Treasurer – Chuck Lorimer
Recording Secretary – Jean Shaddow
Corresponding Secretary – Deborah Gorczycki

David Bosted
Kaye Collins
Karl Flesch
Carol Hill
Deniece Johnson
Beverly Keese-Kelley
Linda McRae
Jane Malloy
Michael Newman
Deborah Oliver
Janis Purcell
Sarah Unger

Trenton City Museum

Mission:  Through its exhibits, collections, educational programs and community activities, the Trenton City Museum preserves and promotes the diverse history, art, and culture of Trenton and the greater Trenton area for the benefit of the Trenton community 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.
Revised February 2017

The Trenton Museum Society is a member of:

  • The American Alliance of Museums
  • The League of Historical Societies of New Jersey
  • North American Reciprocal Museum Association
  • Potteries of Trenton Society
  • The Tri-State Coalition of Historic Places

Board of Trustees

Second Vice President PATRICIA ALLEN is a retired Registered Nurse with over 50 years of experience in various health care fields. She graduated from Helene Fuld School of Nursing and MCCC with an Associate Degree. Her career growth expanded over the years to management as a coordinator supervisor of Home Health Aides at Life St. Francis. She is a Past Matron of Eastern Star, Princess Leah Chapter No. 23 PHA , a Community Gospel Choir and is currently an active member of the Helping Hands Ministry of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. They assist in the needs of the homeless throughout the city of Trenton and vicinity. She has held positions such as Committee Chairperson, President and Liaison in the various organizations she serves. She possesses a passion for history, especially as it pertains to Trenton.

DAVID BOSTED, serving his third term on the Trenton Museum Society Board, is a retired government attorney. He served as a New Jersey Deputy Attorney General, handling environmental regulations and litigation and also did legal work at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Trenton, NJ, and the New Jersey Department of Human Services. Working abroad, he was sent by the U.S. 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. In the area of education, David drafted the FSM national law of education.

He co-founded in 1997 the International Charter School of Trenton and continues as a volunteer. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Public Charter School Association from 2004 to 2006. He has published over 30 articles on education and school governance. 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. 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.

David has 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 and Regional Planning (MCRP), ’74. He has taught 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 in anonymous surveys of students.

At Ellarslie, David has been curator or co-curator of several exhibits: Celebrated African Textiles, Before There Was Trenton, Ties That Bind: The Aprons of Trenton, The Essential Paul Robeson, and Stanglware: Trenton’s Most Painterly Pottery. David’s current interests are the 24 Cannons at Trenton, Windsor Chairs, and James Monroe.

First Vice-President DIANE CICCONE is an attorney and administrative law judge, and the author of Into the Light: The Early African American Men of Colgate University Who Transformed A Nation, 1840-1930. She produced and directed the short documentary film, An Act of Faith, which tells the story of Glen Acres, an integrated neighborhood built off Alexander Road in West Windsor, just over the border from Princeton. The film received an honorable mention at the 2013 New Jersey Fall International Film Festival in the short document category and an honorable mention at the 2013 Black Maria Film Festival. Recent art exhibitions that Diane has co-curated with fellow board member Jane Malloy for Trenton City Museum include If These Quilts Could Talk, featuring quilts by the Princeton Sankofa Stitchers Modern Quilt Guild and the Friendly Quilters of Bucks County and Stand-Up Men, Works of Will Kasso Condry, Habiyb Shu’Aib, and Autin Dean Wright. 

KARL FLESCH graduated from Villanova University with a degree in math. He retired from the State of New Jersey as an IT manager. He currently works as a part time medical office manager for a practice in the Penn Health Princeton Medicine system. His interests lie in Trenton history and art. When he retired he wanted to help promote Trenton by mainly joining the boards of the Trenton City Museum and Trenton Historical Society. At the museum he recently curated exhibits on Trenton’s Junior No. 1, Cadwalader Park, Trenton Olympians, and Trenton’s Trolleys. He has co-curated other historical exhibits, including two on Trenton Central High School, which holds a special interest to him. For the historical society, he is the creator of their annual Trenton Calendar, a fundraiser for the society. An avid photographer, he was selected to exhibit a photo in Penn Medicine’s juried show, Celebration of Art and Life 2018.

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.

LINDA MCRAE graduated from Ashford University with a B.A. in Organizational Management. She is a retiree of New Jersey Manufacturer Insurance Co. Currently under contract with the Trenton Board of Education working with Special Education students’ grades k-12. She has over 25+ years as a volunteer for the Urban League Guild an auxiliary of the National Urban League , connecting the League to its communities, through raising funds that allow the League to deliver programs that pave the path to secure economic and self-reliance to underserved urban residents. She has held numerous positions such as President, Committee Chairperson and Liaison. She has served as a volunteer for 15+ years with Passage Theatre and Art Works” Art All Night”. She is a member of the St Paul AME Zion Church where she is President of the Lay Council. Developing strong relationships is the foundation of everything she does both professional and personally.

TMS President JOAN PERKES, a Philadelphia native, moved to Bucks County in 1970. She received a B.A. from Temple University and spent time studying in Rome. In her professional life she has been independent, creative and self-employed, opening her first gallery in 1969 in Philadelphia and a satellite gallery in New Hope in 1970. Well regarded in the New Hope area art community, she is now a private dealer. In 2013 she joined TMS as a curator/volunteer and since her arrival she has been responsible for at least five exhibitions and has lent her design skills to the creation of promotional materials. As a member of the TMS board since 2015, she became its president in 2017. She also co-chairs the Art Exhibition and Development Committees. She is serving her second term as a Trustee on the Board of the Trenton Museum Society.

In 2010, she was selected by Herman Silverman, founder of the Michener Museum, to guide his new art venture, the Silverman Gallery in Buckingham, Pennsylvania. She founded, along with Joanne Katsiff and AnnMarie Torres, The Community School of New Hope-Solebury. It continues today as a part of Bucks County Community College.

Joan’s experience in the art world is both national and international. Currently, she makes her home in Solebury, Pennsylvania, and Andalusia, Spain.

Recording Secretary JEAN SHADDOW attended Cook College of Rutgers University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Management. A lifelong area resident, she was the Director of Trenton’s Division of Natural Resources for close to twenty years and was responsible for all park and recreation areas and all trees on public lands. After retiring from public service in 2011, she began working at Isles, Inc. where she has served as a Grant Manager for their Youth Institute and, currently, is a Senior Project Manager for Community Planning & Development. Jean is currently serving her third term on the Trenton Museum Society and has served as Vice-President and Treasurer as well as volunteering for several committees. A long-time community volunteer, Jean is a founding member of Trees for Trenton and currently sits on the Trenton Historical Society Board.

Having started with the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie as an occasional visitor, then member, then volunteer, Sarah Unger is honored to be a part of its mission as a board member, co-chairing the Marketing Committee and serving on the Development Committee. An experienced nonprofit professional, board member, and volunteer, Sarah has a background in marketing communications, and was most recently development and communications director of Arm In Arm. Sarah lives with her husband Michael in Ewing, NJ, where they raised their three adult children.