Joel Lefever’s interest in American architecture and decorative arts was sparked by a childhood collection of old Antiques magazines, and honed through degrees from Hope College, Holland, Michigan, and the Cooperstown Graduate Program in History Museum Studies in New York. After 20 years at the Holland Historical Trust, Holland, Michigan, he established Lefèbvre Museum Consulting, with clients in Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. In 2012, he took up the reins at Old York, where he oversees all of the museum’s day-to-day operations, manages building restoration projects, and is responsible for developing a robust series of permanent and temporary exhibitions and interpretive programs. He lives with his wife and son in an historic 18th-century house in York.
Janet Blyberg began her museum career at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, where over the course of her fifteen-year tenure she worked on a number of major exhibitions and publications. After moving to Maine in 2012, she served as assistant curator at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. She also volunteered her time to raise funds, and manage a project to conserve Old York’s historic Bulman bed hangings. After becoming mother to a son in 2016, she began her position as Membership and Marketing Coordinator at Old York. She has a passion for photography, needlework, textiles, and old houses.
Patricia FitzGerald manages the extensive library, manuscript, and photograph collections in Old York’s Research Center. In her career at Syracuse University, University of Delaware, Carnegie-Mellon University, and Johns Hopkins Welch Medical Library she was involved in their programs to automate the libraries and make the collections accessible electronically. Pat is also an osteoporosis educator and serves on the national Education Advisory Board of American Bone Health. Just before moving to York in 2014, she received Hannaford’s Supermarket’s Health Hero award for her work in increasing health and wellness awareness.
Ken McAuliffe is responsible for the management, recruitment, and training of a team of seasonal guides who run daily tours and engage visitors with Old York’s colonial heritage. A retired school district superintendent, with degrees in History, and School Administration and Instructional Design, Ken traces his love of history to his teaching days in the early 1970s. He also served on several community boards supporting the preservation of local history. Ken and his wife Marion moved to Maine from upstate New York in 2012 to be closer to their children and grand children who live along the New England coast. They are avid travelers and in the off season can be found anywhere from Scandinavia to Israel.
In 2008 Jon Powers worked as a general contractor, specializing in old houses, when his wife spotted an opening for a position at Old York. Unbeknownst to him, she applied for the position on his behalf—and well, the rest is history. Today Jon oversees the restoration of all of Old York’s historic buildings, and coordinates the maintenance of Old York’s extensive grounds, from its properties in the Village to its working waterfront wharf. When not juggling all of his responsibilities at Old York, he field trains and trials his beloved retrievers, and explores New England in his RV with his wife.
Kathleen Shea became enamored of history in high school when she gave tours at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut. She came to the New Hampshire Seacoast to teach French at Berwick Academy. She volunteered in the archaeology lab at Strawbery Banke in her spare time, which led to an opportunity in the education department there, as coordinator of public programs and events. She went on to work at Maine Historical Society as director of education and programs, before serving as the director of the New Hampshire Farm Museum for twelve years. She resides in Kittery with her husband, restoring a 1730 house (which is definitely haunted).
Marsha Sibley is responsible for recording, reporting, and maintaining the museum’s financial records. With more than 40 years experience, she has worked for CPAs, corporations, and retail stores, in both for-profit and non-profit businesses. She has a degree in music theory, and when not counting the cash, paying the bills, and keeping the books, she enjoys playing the piano and the flute. She is also an avid gardener and lives in a 1797 cape, which she restored with her husband.
Peggy Wishart is charged with caring for and tracking Old York’s extensive collection of objects, both on display and in storage. Peggy came to Old York from Historic New England, with a background in archaeology, house museum management, programming, and collections care. First introduced to the New Hampshire and Southern Maine seacoast as a college intern at Strawbery Banke Museum, Peggy was so enamored of the area, that she has it her home ever since. She currently resides in Eliot.
Mary Harding has curated contemporary art exhibitions in Old York’s George Marshall Store since 1996. A graduate of Brown University, she has always been passionate about art. After college, she was an exhibit designer for Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and for the Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum in Rochester, New York. She was the director of Historic Landsmarks (one of the organizations that merged to form Old York) and served as director of the Barn Gallery of Ogunquit, Maine, for four years. Her quieter winter months are filled with studio visits, cross country skiing, and knitting.