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The Team

Ira Michael Heyman is head of the Advisory and Storyline Committees for The Mint Project. He is Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, served as Chancellor of UC Berkeley from 1980 to 1990, and Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 1994 to 2000.

Richard S.E. Johns serves as President of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society’s Board of Trustees. He is an attorney and a major collector of early San Francisco music. A complete list of the Board of Trustees can be found at

Erik C. Christoffersen is the Executive Director of SFMHS, and was appointed in March 2006. Erik has 20 years of experience in strategy, sales, and business development for IBM and several technology-oriented start-ups. He has a MBA from Harvard Business School and sits on the boards of Summer Search, The Scandinavian School, and Xpiron.

Deborah Frieden is working with the Mint Project as the Project Planning consultant. She has 20 years of experience in strategic planning, organizational and project planning, and implementation of major capital projects in both the private and public sectors. Deborah is leading all activities related to planning and design of the restoration and repurposing of the building. She was the Project Director for the Corporation of the Fine Arts Museum where she managed the planning and construction of the new de Young museum and the restoration and expansion of the Legion of Honor museum.

Petr Spurney is spearheading the development and validation of the strategic plan and business model for the Mint Project. He was formerly the Vice President of Strategic Planning for the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. Petr has an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Nina Simon is an exhibition designer who uses social technology to create dynamic, audience-driven exhibitions and programs in museums worldwide. Her clients include the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Chicago History Museum, the Boston Children’s Museum, and the Oakland Museum of California. She runs the Museum 2.0 blog, which reaches 4,000 readers weekly and appears as a column in Museum magazine. Previously, Nina served as curator at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA, and was the Experience Development Specialist at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.

Susan Spero is advising the SFMHS on Education and Interpretive Planning for the Mint Project. Spero is an Associate Professor of Museum Studies at the John F. Kennedy University, Berkeley where she guides students in the education and interpretation track for a Masters of Arts in Museum Studies. During her 25 years in the field she has worked with a wide range of museums: art, food, maritime, history, and children’s museums. Her expertise includes informal learning theory, interpretive material development, and applications of technology for interpretive purposes. She received her doctorate in Art Education, her M.A. in Photography, and her B. S. in Home Economics Journalism, all from The Ohio State University.

HOK is the design architect serving as the lead firm in the integrated design process. Their role is to craft the overall approach to the architectural planning of the building, to design the major interventions, to coordinate and detail the integration of all the subconsultants' work into the overall design, and provide leadership and administration of all design and engineering activities.

Arup Engineering Arup is the lead engineering firm on the project, responsible for the design and integration of all building systems (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire Protection and Acoustic). They will also lead the sustainable design effort to make this project the most innovative National Historic Landmark in the United States. They will work with HOK and the other consultants to insure that the sustainable design is fully integrated with all building architecture and design approaches and will prepare construction documents for all building systems.

Christopher Chadbourne & Associates is the internationally renowned museum designer for the Old Mint. Christopher Chadbourne personally heads the team to create a comprehensive visitor experience. The firm has set attendance records in the last year at both the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s The Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit and the Capture of the U-505 at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

Page & Turnbull is serving as preservation architect for the interior rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the San Francisco Old Mint. Their role will be to prepare all historic preservation drawings, repair details and specifications for the historic interiors. Along with Architectural Resources Group, they will advise HOK and SFMHS on the integration of contemporary details so as to maintain the historic significance of the building.

Architectural Resources Group is serving as preservation architect for the exterior stonework rehabilitation of the San Francisco Old Mint. Their role will be to prepare all historic preservation drawings, repair details and specifications for the historic building exterior. Along with Page and Turnbull, they will advise HOK and SFMHS on the integration of contemporary details so as to maintain the historic significance of the building.

Walter Hood of Hood Design is serving as the landscape architect for the Mint Project. He and his team will prepare a landscape design that forges a new relationship between the rehabilitated Mint building and the site's ecological foundation and historic context. They will prepare all the design and construction drawings for the green roof, an important element in the sustainable design of the building, and they will re-conceptualize the building's relationship to its site through an integration of landscape and hardscape elements that will improve the visitor's arrival and experience of the building and its historic elements.