• Director
  • Assistant Director
  • Office Manager
  • Caretakers

Mary Ann Moran-Savakinus

Maryann Savakinus

A Lackawanna County native, Mary Ann graduated from Kutztown University with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. While a student, she served as curatorial intern at the Anthracite Heritage Museum under the supervision of Chester Kulesa.

Following graduation she was recruited to catalog the museum’s Hennemuth photographic collection. Afterward, she went to Carbondale, IL to work as an archaeological technician for American Resources Group. There she was a member of a field crew, obtaining practical experience in Phase II archaeology both on site and in a laboratory setting. In 1991 she returned home to accept the position of administrative assistant at the Lackawanna Historical Society, a post she held for six years.

In 1997 she was appointed executive director of the Society. Under her leadership, the Society has expanded its programming, educational opportunities, and community partnerships.

Mary Ann has invited local artists to create and participate in LHS events in an effort to present to the community unique and exciting programs that promote an interest in local history. One such event is the musical/historical production Under the Lackawanna Moon which was performed at the Dunmore Cemetery and Waverly’s Hickory Grove Cemetery.

The Society’s educational outreach includes the Museums as a Classroom program which provides Act 48 credits for local teachers and familiarizes them with myriad local resources available to them and their students.

One of the most popular offerings initiated under Mary Ann’s watch is the Historic Hill House Tour. This biennial event draws about 800 people who tour architecturally diverse residences in Scranton’s Hill Section and learn about their original owners and architectural styles. The Places of Worship Tour, Scranton After Dark paranormal walking tour and annual Civil War Ball also are community favorites.

Forming alliances with other historical and cultural organizations has been a hallmark of Mary Ann’s tenure. The LHS’s participation in the Arts on Fire program illustrates the Society’s success in partnering with like-minded institutions to bring to life the history and heritage of the Lackawanna Valley.

The Society’s fundraising efforts have increased over the past several years with such offerings as the annual Taste of History event and the successful Capital Campaign to fund Phase I and Phase II of the Exterior Restoration of its headquarters, the Catlin House.



Sarah Piccini

You may have seen Sarah Piccini at many of LHS programs in the past; like the Scranton After Dark ghost tours and acting as Vanna White for “You Live Here, You Should Know This!” plus many many more, all as a volunteer. As of the January 2013 she became the new Assistant Director.

She lives in Greenfield Township, a rural community near Carbondale, where residents are often concerned about dairy cows standing in the middle of the road. She received a Bachelor’s degree in History and Communications from the University of Scranton in 2007, and returned to receive her Master’s degree in History in 2010. She completed her thesis on the effects of the 1877 railroad and coal strike in Scranton; She is interested in the dramatic conflicts that come with labor struggles. She is the author of Framing Faith: A Pictorial History of Communities of Faith, a recent book outlining the histories of ten Diocese of Scranton churches that recently closed, and examining the importance of faith in the lives of the region’s early immigrant populations. She has been on the board of the PA Anthracite Heritage Museum since 2009, and has served as Vice President of that esteemed organization for two years. She is a Girl Scout Gold Award Advisor and a member of the Mainstreet program in downtown Scranton.  She has a kitten named Steve McQueen, who is adorable and very fun.




Olivia Bernardi

Olivia Bernardi  

Having grown up in a region with such a rich industrial past, Olivia always is looking for ways to learn more about the history around her. She visits every museum she can, both locally and when she travels. In the Scranton area alone, she has visited the Everhart Museum, the Anthracite Heritage Museum and Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour, and the Steamtown National Historic Site at least six times each. She considers Gettysburg, PA and Colonial Williamsburg, VA two of her favorite places. 

Among her most memorable experiences is a trip to Nebraska where she attended a two-week archeological dig/educational seminar.

While there, she unearthed a nearly intact Dire Wolf skull more than 10,000 years old.

It was one of the few extraordinary finds at the dig site and was the first in the region at the time. Whether she is uncovering history beneath the earth or inscribed on a piece of paper, Olivia loves the thrill of discovery.

Webmaster Olivia maintains the Society’s website and is the administrator of the LHS facebook page.

Olivia Bernardi, a Lackawanna County native, became part-time assistant to the director of the LHS in February 2010. Her formal education consists of an associate degree in printing/photography from Luzerne County Community College. Although Olivia does not possess a degree in history, her 18 years of work experience provide her with a skill set that complements the needs of the LHS. 

Olivia’s interest in history began when she was a small child. She marveled at the stories her mother and grandmother told about her family’s intriguing heritage; she also was influenced by her father’s love of “all things history”.


Jim and Gay Clifford


Jim and Gay are both retired:  she was a housekeeper and he was a plumber. In 2004 they became LHS volunteers and completed the Society’s Docent Training Program. Since that time, they have been dedicated tour guides and have assisted at several special events including the annual Holiday Open House. In 2009 they accepted the position of Catlin House caretakers and have done a magnificent job maintaining the LHS headquarters with tender loving care! 


Copyright 2011 © The Lackawanna Historical Society, Scranton PA