Joseph J. Dolan, Jr. 1934-2008

One of the reasons I haven’t been doing a lot of posting is that my boss and Museum Board Chairman, was ill.  He sadly, passed away last week after a brief battle with Cancer.  Since he had (lets just call it a ‘firm grip’ on) power for 21 years, the Board of Directors are like sheep without a Shepherd, meaning we have been very busy keeping the Museum going. 

Even though my Museum has existed for 20 years, we have nearly had to start everything from scratch.  It has been a very rewarding experience and one I’m glad to be a part of.  We can do a lot of good if everything comes together (and I believe it will).

But, I would like to throw Joe to the world and while he was best known in Albany, he had contacts which spanned across the U.S. and indeed the world.  I won’t say he was always the easiest person to get along with for the last 2 years, but I respected him.  Below is a brief bio on a remarkable man.

Plus Corey from 10,000 Birds is coming up this weekend…  Can you say Big Day?

The Irish American Heritage Museum Trustees, supporters and friends grieve the loss of the Museum’s founding force, Joseph J. Dolan Jr., Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees and Chief Executive Officer of the Museum.  Chairman Dolan died on May 7, 2008, in Hospice Inn at St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany, New York.


The Vice-Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees Shawn Burke said, “Joe was our mentor, cheerleader and an unwavering advocate in every aspect of fulfilling the Museum’s mission.   Everyone in the Irish community here in the Capital Region, throughout New York State and even nationally knew Joe Dolan and his efforts on behalf of Irish-Americans everywhere.  There are no words to express our loss,” he said.  As testimony to his contributions to preserving Irish heritage and culture here in America, Joe had been awarded the distinction of national lifetime membership by the Ancient Order of Hibernians.


The Irish American Heritage Museum was created by New York State Legislation in 1986 and permanently chartered in 1992 by the Board of Regents of the State of New York.  Joe Dolan was appointed to the Museum’s Board of Trustees in 1987 and began serving as acting Chairman that year.  Since 1990, Mr. Dolan served as the full-time volunteer Board Chairman and CEO.


Joe Dolan was the force behind the creation of the Museum’s numerous successful exhibits, including the current exhibit “Irish in Music,” and past exhibits “Corporate Irish,” “The Irish and Labor,”  “The Great Hunger” chronicling the tremendous impact of the Irish famine in the mid-19th century, “Fire Upon the Hearth” celebrating women of Irish heritage in America, “Go and Preach the Kingdom of God” about how the Irish religious clothed, fed, housed and educated the waves of Irish immigrants that flooded America’s shores, and “Presidents of Irish Descent.”  Joe Dolan’s vision for the Irish American Heritage Museum included at every turn the education of children.  He was an important catalyst in the adoption in New York State of the curriculum requirement to teach school children about the Irish Famine, the “Great Hunger,” that resulted in the death and displacement of nearly three million Irish in the mid-19th century


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