Minnesota Historical Society Names New Deputy Director for Programs, Director of Human Resources and Volunteer Services

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Release dated: 
August 11, 2011
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Minnesota Historical Society Names New Deputy Director for Programs, Director of Human Resources and Volunteer Services

The Minnesota Historical Society announced today that Pat Gaarder has been named deputy director for Programs, effective immediately. The post carries responsibility for the Society’s 26 historic sites and museums, its library and archives, MHS Press, exhibitions, education, the State Historic Preservation Office, field services, grants, archaeology, enterprise technology and business services, as well as Arts and Cultural Heritage programs funded through the State of Minnesota’s 2008 Legacy Amendment. Gaarder has been interim deputy director for Programs since January 2011, when she was elevated from her previous job as director of Human Resources and Volunteer Services.

Society Director and CEO Stephen Elliott praised Gaarder’s work. “Pat’s 33-year, deep knowledge of the Society’s programs, operations and people is invaluable,” he said. “Her calm competence, positive approach and effective leadership will serve the Society well as we chart our future course of service to the people of Minnesota.”

Gaarder joined the staff of the Society in 1978 as a museum educator, moving up the ranks through its exhibits program and administrative offices. She was instrumental in building the Society’s Human Resources and Volunteer Services programs and played a key role in establishing the policies and operational infrastructure necessary for the Society to fulfill its mission during the late 1980s-early 2000s. During that period, program offerings expanded and two new museums opened – the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul in 1992 and Mill City Museum in Minneapolis in 2003. She joined the Management Committee of the institution in 2005.  

Prior to the Minnesota Historical Society, Gaarder worked as a teacher and educational administrator in Chicago. She holds an M.A. in history from Sarah Lawrence College and a B.A. in history and education from Macalester College, and has taught history at Metropolitan State University.  

Another long-time employee of the Society, Karen Marano, has been promoted to the director of Human Resources and Volunteer Services position vacated by Pat Gaarder, also effective immediately. Marano has served as interim director of human resources since January 2011. She began work at the Society in 1981, and held a variety of positions in the library and collections management areas before joining the human resources team in 1995. “We’re fortunate that Karen, with her demonstrated expertise and commitment to the Society and its excellent staff, is ready and willing to step seamlessly into this important post,” Elliott noted. 

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. Its essence is to illuminate the past as a way to shed light on the future. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.