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Gourgaud Gallery features exhibit on notable Cranbury citizens from the past

Ruth Walsh

The Gourgaud Gallery will feature an exhibit on 17 notable Cranbury citizens from the past.

The exhibit titled, “Not to be Forgotten: Some of the People Who Helped to Make Cranbury What It Is Today” will run from Sept. 2-26 at the Gourgaud Gallery, 23 North Main St., Cranbury.

The exhibit is a collaboration between The Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society and the Gourgaud Gallery.

The Gallery in Town Hall is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Audrey Smith, president of the Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society, provided information of four of the people featured in the exhibit.

Ruth Walsh was active in the emerging Cranbury Historical & Preservation Society in the late 1960s. She became the Society’s first historian and led the research required for the National Register of Historic Places.

On March 4, 1975, Walsh signed the application for the historic district of Cranbury. She was also involved in the Society’s restoration of the Cranbury Museum in 1972 and donated period furnishings.

Walsh shared her experiences and connections with the Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society when she was appointed as a chairperson for the township’s bicentennial and as an active member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

In 1975, Walsh published “Cranbury: Past and Present,” an important reference book for Cranbury history, Smith said.

Elizabeth M. (Betty) Wagner worked tirelessly on numerous boards and committees to promote and preserve Cranbury’s unique historic and cultural characteristics, Smith said.

Wagner was a focused organizer, leader, and passionate advocate for historic preservation, serving for many years as president of the Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society and as Cranbury Township historian. She chaired Cranbury’s Tercentennial Committee in 1997 and was instrumental in the conservation of prime agricultural land in the township.

Don Jo Swanagan worked for NBC early in his career and later as a freelance scenic designer on TV shows films. He belonged to the First Presbyterian Church of Cranbury, the Cranbury Lions Club, and the Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society. He was a curator of the Cranbury Museum, designed the Perrine wing of the museum in 1975, and for many years, he served on the Cranbury Zoning and Planning Boards, as well as the Historic Preservation Commission.

Arthur “Bub” Danser was a lifelong Cranbury resident and a local farmer. He was an active member of the Cranbury community, a 75-year member and an elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Cranbury, a 70-year member of the Cranbury Lions Club and a 65-year member of Hightstown-Apollo Lodge No. 41. He was also a member of the Cranbury Board of Education, the Cranbury Township Committee and the Planning Board. He was a director of Midlantic Bank/Cranbury and was active in several agricultural organizations.

Information and photos have been provided by Smith, Jo D. Andrews, Karen Kelley, Jay Taylor and Bonnie Wagman. People can submit nominations at the gallery for individuals they would like to see included in a future exhibit.

The Gourgaud Gallery, located on the first floor of the Cranbury Town Hall 23 North Main Street Cranbury, has become a center for the arts in Cranbury. The Gourgaud Gallery Committee (GCC) strives to bring new, exciting art exhibits to the gallery each month, and is run by volunteers interested in the arts. The GGC also offers musical soirees, poetic and dramatic readings, film screenings, lectures and classes. For more information go to

The Cranbury Arts Council (CAC), a non-profit volunteer organization, provides arts-oriented programs, workshops, and performances aimed at enriching the cultural experiences of the community and keeping the creative spirit alive. Their mission is to foster, support, educate, inspire, and promote artists and art appreciation in our community.

As part of CAC, The Gourgaud Gallery donates 20% of Art Sales to the CAC and its programs that supports arts in the community.

For more information visit https://www.cranburyartscouncil.org

Arthur V. Danser
Don Jo Swanagan
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