eXECUTIVE Director

The Morrison County Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation and sharing of Morrison County's history. We operate The Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum in Little Falls, MN, and preserve thousands of artifacts and documents related to county history. We provide access to our collections and information through exhibits, research services, events, publications, and a website.

As executive director of the Morrison County Historical Society, Mary orchestrates strategic planning, procedural development, fundraising, operations and facilities, website and communications, and program development.  Warner also initiated an economic impact study for nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Morrison County in order to demonstrate the value of these organizations to the community and local economy.  She wrote and designed the book A Big Hearted Paleface Man: Nathan Richardson & the History of Morrison County, which won an Award of Merit in 2007 from the American Association for State and Local History. She also designed several projects for the Society to fill in gaps in the Weyerhaeuser Museum collection, including “Documenting Morrison County Deaths,” and “Uncommon Focus: Images of Morrison County.”  Mary is a historian, published author, editor, educator and communications professional. Mary has served on numerous boards and committees including the Minnesota State Review Board of the National Register for Historic Places, Little Falls Heritage Preservation Commission, Region 5 History Coalition, Five Wings Arts Council, Friends of the Little Falls Carnegie Library, and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, among others.  She has her own blog, “The Pragmatic Historian,” and holds a BFA in Fine Arts from St. Cloud State University.

According to Mary “Having worked in a small nonprofit museum for the past 2 decades in central Minnesota, I share an experience common to similar small nonprofit museums statewide. When it comes to the museum field, there are more history museums than any other type of museum, at least one for every county in Minnesota. Most of these museums are in rural areas. That represents a large sector of nonprofits within the state and we all have common issues to deal with. Not only do we typically run on shoestring budgets with limited paid staff or volunteers, we are often trying to preserve the buildings that house our collections so they maintain the specialty environments our collections need for long-term preservation. Along with caring for our diverse collections, we also have to provide the public access to those collections. -- Within the past few decades, history has been shunted to the side within our schools and society, not seen as critical to the proper functioning of a healthy society. Those of us in the field see it differently but, in order to change minds, we need to be more involved with others in the nonprofit sector. We cannot take it for granted that people will automatically know how important history is. -- On a personal note, through my work at the Morrison County Historical Society, I am often called by other museum professionals for advice on various aspects of nonprofit management. These are some of my favorite opportunities because they allow me to share the nonprofit expertise I've built over the years. I'm a nonprofit wonk.”

For more information about the Morrison County Historical Society, visit:  http://morrisoncountyhistory.org/