Minnesota Historical Society Names First Patrick Coleman Chair, Senior Curator of Maps, Rare Books, and Print Culture

For Immediate Release

Release Dated September 25, 2023

MNHS media contacts: Allison Ortiz, 651-259-3051, allison.ortiz@mnhs.org or Jack Bernstein, 651-259-3058, jack.bernstein@mnhs.org

Inaugural chair is one of three curators who will join MNHS October 2

St. Paul, Minn (September 25, 2023) – An experienced special collections librarian and educator will carry on Patrick Coleman’s legacy at the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS). Catherine “Cate” Cooney will serve as the inaugural Patrick Coleman Chair, Senior Curator of Maps, Rare Books, and Print Cultures, as one of three curators to begin their positions on October 2.

Cooney comes to MNHS with a background focused on using books, museum collections, and everyday objects to ignite curiosity in a broad and diverse audience of learners. She most recently worked as a consultant for organizations around the country, including Metropolitan State University Denver and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She has held multiple roles for grantees of the Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources Program, and served as National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Librarian at the Winterthur Museum Garden and Library, and as Assistant Librarian at the Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. 

Conney received her BA and MA in Art History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her Masters in Library and Information Studies also from the University of Wisconsin. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.

“As a dedicated scholar and skilled bibliophile, Patrick Coleman solidified The Gale Family Library as a premier resource for Minnesota scholars over his 40-year tenure,” said Cecily Marcus, MNHS’s director of collections. “We are thrilled to have Cate Cooney continue his work, to ensure the collection grows in breadth and depth and remains accessible to all Minnesotans.”

Also joining MNHS is Dr. Spencer Wigmore, who will serve as curator of fine art. Wigmore comes from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, where he curated numerous exhibits and led acquisitions in prints and drawings. Spencer received his PhD and MA from the University of Delaware and holds a BA in Art History from Carleton College.

Angelica Maier will also begin her tenure as the curator of 3D objects. Most recently, Maier served as the Lisa and Jerry O’Brien Curatorial Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Weisman Art Museum. Dedicated to using her expertise to benefit public knowledge, she holds a BA and MA in Art History from SUNY University at Buffalo and is currently a PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Minnesota.

“Each of these curators are experts in their fields and will bring great skill and experience to the Collections Department at MNHS,” said Marcus. “Each will build on the work of their predecessors to tell Minnesotans’ stories through as many perspectives as possible.”

About the Minnesota Historical Society

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs, and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories, and connects people with history.