Who We Are
Bluestem's principals, Nancy O'Brien Wagner and Sara Yaeger, have a combined 25-years' experience in history museums and non-profit organizations. They were collaborators on the creation of Northern Lights: The Stories of Minnesota's Past, Second Edition, the premier Minnesota history curriculum published by the Minnesota Historical Society. Their capabilities and experience include history research (Nancy is a Qualified Historian), interpretive planning, exhibit planning, board development, museum consulting, fund development, as well as collaboration with regional specialists on historic projects.
Nancy O'Brien Wagner
Nancy O'Brien Wagner is a partner at Bluestem Heritage Group, and has worked as a historian, writer, project manager, exhibit developer, teacher trainer, grant writer, and interpretive planner for over fifteen years.
Wagner was co-author of the award-winning textbook Northern Lights: the Stories of Minnesota's Past, and her work was most recently published in Minnesota History magazine. This article, Awfully Busy These Days was the winner of the 2012 Solon J. Buck award for best article in Minnesota History. She recently developed two notable exhibits: 81 Minutes: After the Bridge Collapsed, an exhibit on the I-35W Bridge Collapse for the Minneapolis Firefighter's Hall and Museum, and the Life in 1912 exhibit that complimented the traveling Titanic exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota. She also developed exhibit content for the 2010 exhibit on the St. John's Bible at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
Wagner has consulted for the Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota Humanities Commission, Twin Cities Public Television, the Marine Restoration Society, and Science Museum of Minnesota. She graduated cum laude with a BA in History from Williams College, and earned an MAT in History from Smith College. Wagner meets the standards for the Secretary of Interior's Professional Qualification for a Historian, and the National Association for Interpretation's standards as an Interpretive Planner.
Sara Yaeger has a twenty-year track record in non-profit management, content development, publishing, project management and fund development. She provides strategic guidance for clients, including leading museums through the Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (StEPs) program, a self-evaluation process designed by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).
Prior to joining Bluestem Heritage Group, Yaeger led the Education Publications division of the Minnesota Historical Society, the largest historical society in the U.S. There she developed award-winning textbooks, curriculum and multimedia learning tools for elementary and middle school.
She previous served as an editor for several educational publishers, including Harcourt Brace, West Publishing, and Holt, Rinehart & Winston. She is a past board member of the Minnesota Council for the Social Studies and the Junior League of Saint Paul. Yaeger graduated with a BA in English from the University of the Pacific.
Tom Church is a researcher for Bluestem. He was worked as a researcher, writer, editor, teacher, and program manager. Recent projects for Bluestem include research consulting and comparative site analysis for the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum and developing family programming for the Minneapolis-based Firefighter's Hall & Museum.
Church worked previously as staff attorney with Minnesota Continuing Legal Education. There he served as a legal editor and in-house researcher while managing the production of educational seminars and publications. His research for the University of Minnesota's Institute on Race and Poverty was cited in a 2007 amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court. His research for The Advocates for Human Rights was cited in the CERD Shadow Report to the United Nations. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in History from Carleton College and earned a J.D. cum laude from the University of Minnesota.