Contact Heritage Preservation

Working together with all Minnesotans, the Heritage Preservation team both leads and supports the important, collaborative, ongoing work of preserving our historical and cultural resources for generations to come. Thank you for your participation. Together, we are moving history forward!

Amy Spong, Heritage Preservation Director

Heritage Preservation

Minnesota Historical Society
345 Kellogg Blvd. W.
St. Paul, MN 55102-1903
Phone: 651-259-3450

Hours and Policies

Tuesday-Friday, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm

  • Call for an appointment to consult with staff or use SHPO files.
  • All SHPO visitors are required to stop by the Information Desk on Level 1 to obtain a pre-programmed key card that can be scanned by the key card reader in the elevator to go to Level A.
  • Visitors will be required to provide a driver's license or other government issued photo ID in exchange for the key card. When leaving, the driver’s license/ID will be returned in exchange for the key card.

Department Staff List

Sarah Beimers, Manager of Government Programs & Compliance, 651-259-3456,

Program: Review & Compliance, Local Governments, Planning

Sarah provides advice and assistance to local, state and federal government agencies as they comply with state and federal laws related to preserving Minnesota's historic resources while moving their projects forward. She helps them consider the effects their projects have on historic properties and ensures they provide opportunities for interested parties and the general public to be part of the decision-making process.

Go to for:

  • Clarification on how federal, state, and local historic preservation laws and regulations are a part of project environmental review
  • Explanation of the historic preservation review and consultation process
  • Suggestions for becoming involved in advocating for historic preservation at a local level 

Vacant, Survey & Information Management Coordinator

Programs: Survey & Inventory

Leslie Coburn, Government Programs & Compliance Assistant, 651-259-3457,

Programs: Review & Compliance, Local Governments, Planning

Leslie coordinates project review requests submitted to the Minnesota Historic Preservation Office under state and federal historic preservation laws.  She helps government agency staff, consultants and the public to understand the regulatory process and applicable historic preservation laws. Leslie also assists with the Certified Local Government Program, and she administers the online Preservation Specialists Directory. BTW: Leslie is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and active in the Minnesota chapter of the American Planning Association (APA).

Go to for:

  • assistance in submitting a project for review
  • a status update on your project that is under review

Michele Decker, Administrative Secretary, 651-259-3450,

Programs: All State Historic Preservation Office Programs, especially National Register of Historic Places and Tax Incentives

Michele facilitates multiple programs within the Historic Preservation Office. She provides essential support for and coordination among its staff, other preservation professionals and the general public. Michele also coordinates submission of National Register nominations and tax credit applications to the National Park Service for review. BTW: Michele is an advocate for best practices in historic preservation and likes working in an office that promotes the reuse and rehabilitation of Minnesota’s historic properties.

Go to for:

  • general information about the State Historic Preservation Office and its programs
  • advice on the appropriate staff person to assist you

John Fulton, Grants Associate, 651-259-3467, 

Programs: All Grant Programs

John administers MNHS grant programs designed to help Minnesotans preserve history. He provides advice on how to prepare a strong proposal, helps applicants understand how to access the online grant system and reviews grant applications. BTW: John is especially interested in working with applicants who are proposing film and publication projects.

Go to for:

  • assistance with the grant application process

Denis Gardner, National Register Historian, 651-259-3451,

Programs: National Register, Tax Incentives, Grants, Survey & Inventory

Denis evaluates Minnesota's historic properties for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). He works closely with heritage preservation organizations, consultants and property owners. Properties that meet the criteria and get listed in the NRHP become eligible for state and federal financial incentives, helping to ensure their preservation for future generations. BTW: Denis is an expert on historic bridges and has written several books on Minnesota history, his latest is Our Minnesota State Capitol: From Groundbreaking through Restoration (MNHS Press, 2017).

Go to for:

  • information about the National Register process
  • information about National Register eligibility

Kelly Gragg-Johnson, Review & Compliance Specialist, 651-259-3455,

Programs: Review & Compliance

Kelly provides advice and assistance to local, state and federal government agencies as they comply with state and federal laws related to preserving Minnesota's historic resources while moving their projects forward. She regularly collaborates with agency officials, city officials, cultural resource consultants, engineering firms, banking institutions, housing and finance organizations, architects, historical organizations and the general public. BTW: Kelly is a trained archaeologist and assists federal agencies in writing and editing Programmatic and Memoranda of Agreements. This helps streamline project reviews and mitigates adverse effects to historic properties.

Go to for:

  • clarification of state and federal preservation laws
  • guidance on avoiding or minimizing adverse effects to historic properties during project planning
  • clarification of how federal, state, and local historic preservation laws and regulations will affect your project
  • explanation of the compliance process

Julie Hillenbrand, Grants Technician, 651-259-3464,

Programs: All Grant Programs

Julie provides administrative support to all Heritage Preservation Department programs. Working closely with both our staff and our customers, she helps process, expedite and monitor grants from initial application to grant close-out. BTW: Julie’s exceptional organizational skills help us all move history forward.

Go to for:

  • clarity on grant submittal requirements for milestones, conditions and final reports as well as  
  • general information about the Heritage Preservation department

Joseph Hoover, Program Associate, 651-259-3461,

Programs: Grants, Local History Services

Joe helps Minnesota’s local history organizations reach new audiences and manage their historical information. He teaches them how to use digital technology, including websites, social media, and computer software/hardware, to better preserve and share their history. BTW: Joe edits the popular e-newsletter Local History News. It is the preeminent source of information about the preservation of Minnesota’s history and heritage at the local level.

Go to for:

  • advice on using technology to preserve and share history
  • submissions to Local History News

Melinda Hutchinson, Grants Specialist, 651-259-3459,

Programs: All Grant Programs

Melinda administers grants for the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants program. She works with 501(c)(3) nonprofits, local governments, educational institutions and tribal organizations across the state to ensure that their grant proposals are competitive and their projects become lasting legacies for the people of Minnesota. BTW: Melinda enjoys being an advocate for history.

Go to for:

  • answers to your questions about our grant programs

Laura Kindseth, Design Reviewer, 651-259-3463,

Programs: Grants, Historic Preservation

Laura provides technical assistance, project review, and recommendations to the Grants Office staff in the administration and monitoring of grant-assisted work on historic buildings and properties, including those funded through the Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants Program funded by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. BTW: As a former Main Street manager, Laura has experience collaborating with communities to determine best reuse and rehabilitation solutions for historic structures

Go to for:

  • updates on legacy grant conditions and milestone progress

Jesse Kling, Survey & Inventory Technician, 651-259-3468,

Programs: Survey & Inventory

Jesse assists Heritage Preservation Department staff with data entry into various Access databases and related file organization. His primary project is the management of backlogged survey information. BTW: Jesse loves working with maps as well as learning about cultural landscapes and local history.

Go to for:

  • a database search of the statewide inventory
  • guidance on inventory submissions

Michael Koop, Historic Preservation Program Specialist, 651-259-3452,

Programs: Local Governments, Grants, Review & Compliance, Planning

Michael advises Minnesota’s Heritage Preservation Commissions and Certified Local Governments on developing preservation ordinances and administering local preservation programs. He works closely with governmental units, commission members, and concerned citizens to advocate for and safeguard local historic resources through local landmark designations and a range of educational activities. BTW: Michael serves on the board of the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions and also helps coordinate Preserve Minnesota, Minnesota’s annual statewide heritage preservation conference.

Go to for:

  • guidance on creating and managing a local preservation program in your community
  • information about the statewide preservation conference
  • applying for a Certified Local Government grant

Todd Mahon, Acting Local History Services Manager and Field Services Program Specialist, 651-259-3492,

Programs: Local History Services, Grants, Markers & Monuments, History Partnerships

Todd helps individuals and organizations who are seeking, saving and sharing Minnesota history expand their capacity to achieve their missions. He works with statewide and local organizations that are focused on preserving local history and supporting the overall development of Minnesota's history community. BTW: Todd has an impressive understanding of collections management, museum practices and historical interpretation. As a former county historical society director, he has a keen insight into the management and organizational development of history enterprises.

Go to for:

  • assistance with your local history organization

David Mather, National Register Archaeologist, 651-259-3454,

Programs: National Register, Review & Compliance, Grants, Survey & Inventory, Planning

David helps Minnesotans identify and preserve historically significant archaeological sites and list them in the National Register of Historic Places. He reviews state and federal projects and provides recommendations for how to ensure the projects do not adversely affect historic sites. BTW: David loves to talk to the public about archaeology and is a regular contributor to several publications, including Minnesota History, The Minnesota Conservation Volunteer and The Minnesota Archaeologist. He is a specialist in environmental archaeology and zooarchaeology.

Go to for:

  • information about Minnesota archaeology
  • information about the National Register process and how archaeological sites can be listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Amy Spong, Heritage Preservation Director, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, 651-259-3466,

Programs: All Heritage Preservation Programs

Amy leads the Heritage Preservation Department and staff to help Minnesotans move history forward. She works with other MNHS department leaders, Minnesota decision-makers, and heritage preservation organizations to keep the stories of Minnesota’s history and heritage alive. BTW: Amy serves as one of Minnesota's Deputy State Historic Preservation Officers and has a background in local government and preservation planning.

Go to for:

  • non-program specific questions about MNHS’s Heritage Preservation

Carolyn Veeser-Egbide, Grants Manager, 651-259-3469,

Programs: All Grant programs

Carolyn leads the Heritage Preservation Grants Office. She works with governmental and educational institutions, special interest history organizations, review committees, MNHS staff, and members of the public who are seeking funding to preserve their history. BTW: Carolyn is a lifelong Minnesotan and proud of it!

Go to for:

  • information about grants administration, grant requirements, and the grantmaking process

Ginny Way, National Register Architectural Historian, 651-259-3493,

Programs: National Register, Tax Incentives, Grants, Survey & Inventory, Planning

Ginny evaluates Minnesota’s historic properties for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, making them eligible for state and federal financial incentives. She works closely with heritage preservation organizations, consultants and property owners to ensure National Register criteria is met and properties are preserved for future generations. BTW: Ginny feels very lucky to have a job that allows her to problem solve and actively contribute to the preservation of Minnesota’s historical and cultural resources.

Go to for:

  • information about what it means to own, operate and appreciate historic properties
  • information about the National Register process
  • information about National Register eligibility
  • information about the Historical and Architectural Survey Manual and Inventory Forms

Natascha Wiener, Historical Architect, 651-259-3462,

Programs: Tax Incentives, Review & Compliance, Grants, Reuse Studies

Natascha reviews proposed construction work on historic buildings using the Rehabilitation Tax Credit program and other federal and state programs. She works closely with private and public building owners, architects, contractors, and consultants to ensure the proposed work meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and the repairs will preserve the building for the long term. BTW: Natascha serves as a board member for the Western Great Lakes Chapter of the Association of Preservation Technology.

Go to for:

  • information on the federal and state Rehabilitation Tax Credit program
  • advice on what repairs and work is most appropriate for your historic building