With nearly 30 years of service with the City of Auburn, Patricia Cosgrove has been instrumental in helping the community arts grow, and at the end of October, she’ll retire as the director of the White River Valley Museum and the historic Mary Olson Farm.
“I have been honored to serve the City of Auburn and work with a rich and vital group of board members, staff, and volunteers over the past 28 years,” she said in a statement. “My work at the Museum and Farm has been transformative and difficult. It has been an expression of love and an exercise in hard work.”
Cosgrove joined the museum in 1990 as the first staff member. White River Valley Museum had previously been operated by volunteers. During her 28 years, she grew the organization’s annual operating budget of $620,000 with eight employees and dozens of volunteers, and curated about 60 exhibits. She helped facilitate relationships between organizations and raised $2 million in grants for the museum’s renovation in the mid-1990s. And she had a vision for the Mary Olson Farm, which went on to win the Historic Seattle’s Best Restoration Project award.
“From a patch of blackberries in a forgotten corner of Auburn, Patricia Cosgrove recognized the potential of a run-down family farm, envisioned the possibilities for what it could become, and helped birth the remarkable historic site and facility that is today the Mary Olson Farm,” said former president Mike Weibel.
Upon retiring, Cosgrove plans to dive into some projects with her partner, including working on their small farm and training their border collie, Zip, to herd.