BRISTOL BOROUGH >> Donna McCloskey, who is credited with elevating the profile of the Grundy Museum in the community and beyond, retired in November after more than four decades as an employee of the Joseph R. Grundy Foundation. The announcement was made January 10 by the foundation.
McCloskey, a 42-year employee of the Grundy Foundation, began her career with the foundation in 1975 at the Grundy Library. Starting in 1993, she assisted the
executive director in the Foundation Office until her appointment as Grundy Museum Administrator in 2006. She is the only employee ever to serve the foundation’s three areas of operation.
As Museum Administrator, McCloskey is credited with maintaining the relevance of and interpreting the history of the Grundy family and its legacy, updating the museum’s interpretive plan, adopting best practices across all facets of museum services and programs, and forging key partnerships to establish the Museum as a vital community partner and to further promote its offerings.
During her tenure, Museum visitation eclipsed 4,000 annually. “Margaret’s Garden,” and other landscaping attractions were added to extend the Grundy Museum beyond a house tour experience, becoming sources of local pride and being formally recognized by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society. Additionally, the Museum’s 40th and 50th Anniversaries in 2007 and 2017, respectively, were celebrated with public events coordinated by McCloskey.
Doug Miller, the Historic Site Director at Pennsbury Manor, with whom McCloskey worked closely to establish best practices and market Grundy Museum as part of the “Mansions Along the Delaware” tour, said of McCloskey, “I have had the good fortune to work closely with Donna for many years. The museum community and Pennsbury Manor always was better for her efforts in public history. She brought a professionalism, elegance and eloquence to our community and always strived to improve the Grundy Museum and the community with which she shared the museum. We want to congratulate her for her excellent work and wish her well in her well-earned retirement.”
Debbie Mahon, President of the Hulmeville Garden Club, with whom McCloskey collaborated to advance the formation and operation of the Garden Club of Bristol Borough and the creation of its Adams Hollow Creek Community Garden in Bristol Borough, remarked, “She has demonstrated grace so effectively that it was natural for her to become a mentor to me (and all who met her). Although her retirement is an end to a successful career with the Grundy Foundation, her drive to be involved with her community continues on. She is already doing so much as the founder of the Garden Club of Bristol Borough! I wish continued success in all that she does!”
Harold Mitchener, Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation Board Member, and with wife Carol, a dedicated Grundy Library volunteer instrumental in creating
the Bristol History Collection, teamed up with McCloskey to provide fifth grade Borough students Museum tours and educational lessons about Bristol’s
role in the Industrial Revolution. Upon learning of McCloskey’s retirement, he offered these thoughts, “We (Harold and Carol) have worked with Donna for
many years [in conjunction with] the 5th Grade children from both the SnyderGirotti School and St. Mark School. Donna always had everything in place for the
lesson and did a wonderful job helping with the lesson. We thank her for her many hours helping to make these lessons possible.”
McCloskey’s strongest attributes in her long and distinguished career were her creativity, flexibility, perseverance, ability to see the big picture and most
especially, her love of her hometown Bristol Borough. Never one to back down from hard choices or hard work, the dedication and determination she applied in
successfully elevating the profile and professionalism of the Grundy Museum will forever be her legacy.