Long-time museum professional Bill Mercer has been named curator of collections of the National Eagle Center.
Mercer, who joined the center as it kicked-off phase I of its $27 million renovation and expansion, has more than 30 years of experience in museums around the country with specializations in Indigneous and American history, art and cultures.
“We are extremely excited to add Bill to our team at this pivotal time in the center’s history as we embark on phase I of our multi-year $27 million renovations and expansion,” said Dr. Meg Gammage-Tucker, CEO of the National Eagle Center. “Bill will help guide the development of — and access to — the world-renowned Preston Cook American Eagle Collection. He will also work to bring attention to spiritual connections to eagles as we partner with the Prairie Island Indian Community and other cultural groups. Bill brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the National Eagle Center and we look forward to reopening in the spring of 2022 with a new lineup of exhibits and a much broader range of programming opportunities.”
Retired real estate investor Preston Cook spent 50 years amassing the world-class collection of more than 25,000 eagle objects, which he committed to the National Eagle Center in 2017. Included in the unique collection are more than 65 distinct collections that include fine art, clothing, military and historic war memorabilia, sheet music, advertisements, photographs, postcards, stamps, coins, a 1,500 item library, and much more.
“This is an incredible opportunity to share this one-of-a-kind collection and a significant number of cross-cultural presentations with the world,” said Mercer. “With the new exhibitions and programs, the center will truly be the premier resource for eagle education and experiences. This is an opportunity of a lifetime.”
The center, which closed at the end of October 2021 for the phase I renovations, will reopen in the spring of 2022.
The National Eagle Center is a world-class interpretive center and museum, located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Wabasha. Founded in 1989 by a group of community volunteers, the center has grown to the 15,000 square foot facility which was opened in partnership with the city of Wabasha in 2007. Guests to the center can explore two floors of interactive exhibits as well as meet non-releasable bald eagles up close and view the many eagles that call the Upper Mississippi River Valley home. For more information visit nationaleaglecenter.org.