The Delaware County Historical Society has hired a new executive director with decades of experience in transformations, which she plans to impart on the society through refining its mission of accessibility, inclusion and progression.
Laurie J. Grant of Rose Valley comes to the historical society from the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, where she served as its interim executive director. There, she successfully led the effort in getting 16 municipalities along the Wissahickon Creek to sign an Intergovernmental Agreement in which they agreed to work together and share resources to help restore the Wissahickon.
“I’m thrilled to join and provide leadership for the Delaware County Historical Society,” she said. “As a passionate history buff and one who cares deeply about preserving our history, I am able to be a strong advocate for the mission of DCHS. With the support of the board, our staff, volunteers, donors and members, I am certain we will have a vital and sustainable future.”
Grant also served as Assistant Vice President, Development & Alumni Engagement at the Widener University Law School, where she exceeded its campaign goal of $12 million.
In addition, she served in executive development positions at the School in Rose Valley and the Miquon School.
Throughout her professional tenure, Grant was director of marketing, development and public relations for the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, home to the Mutter Museum and the Historical Medical Library, the oldest of its kind in the country.
Grant was one of the founding directors for the Rose Valley Centennial Foundation, a non-profit she said shares a similar mission of collaboration and progressiveness as the historical society.
“My professional trademark has been to go into non-profits …and make them relevant for today and make them fiscally sustainable and update their infrastructure,” Grant said. “I’ve done that in numerous institutions and I have to do that here. To preserve the knowledge and the historical experience of Delaware County, it needs a strong advocate and it needs to make sure it stays relevant.”
One of her goals is to provide access to the many society treasures whether at the Delaware County Historical Society Museum, Library & Research Center or throughout the community.
“The museum and library, just our collection, is just amazing,” she said, pointing to the c1727 ladder back chairs, the c1745 tavern bench, the c1861 Abraham Lincoln banner and oil paintings dating back to the early 19th century.
Part of her role, she said, will be returning the historical society to its original mission and aligning every program, every accession, every lecture and every newsletter with preserving the knowledge and experiences of Delaware County while providing access and encouraging educational programs.
Grant also has hope for the revitalization of Chester as the Delaware County Historical Society museum is in its heart and is a jewel in and of itself, a grand 19th century bank building, home to the former Delaware County National Bank.
Knowing nothing past her grandparents, Grant herself traced her own lineage to the late 1600’s. A resident of Delaware County for two decades, she is also the mother of two sons, one a lawyer and senior vice president for WSFS and the other a director/editor/actor who works in video for Mishimoto.
Laurie J. Grant is the Delaware County Historical Society's new executive director.