Meet the Founder

Meet the Founder:

Heritage by Hand was founded by Heidi McKinnon and Hilary Kilpatric in September 2020. On April 1, 2021, Heidi McKinnon became sole owner of Heritage by Hand.

The two initially met in 2015 at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hilary was working for the International Folk Art Market and Heidi was supporting participating artisan groups. They met again in February 2020 at an international artisan fair in Mexico City called TEXTO. Heidi was living in Mexico City at the time and Hilary was living in Santa Fe having just returned from working in Luang Prabang, Laos with an artisan group. The idea for Heritage By Hand was born as the two reconnected at TEXTO.

Heidi McKinnon is a museum consultant who has worked for twenty years to support cultural heritage, social cohesion and systemic change as a curator, writer, public speaker and social entrepreneur on issues of historical memory, indigenous history, human rights, and women's rights throughout Latin America. She is fluent in Spanish and English and conversant in Portuguese and French.

In 1996, Heidi began her career working with artisans and culture bearers for the Smithsonian Center for Folklife Studies for the 1998 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program. In 1999 she became part of the curatorial team for the inaugural exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution/National Museum of the American Indian which opened in 2004.

After the Smithsonian, Ms. McKinnon spent several years working across Chile and Argentina, developing culturally and ecologically sustainable collections and economic opportunities for artisans and cooperatives through a Santa Fe-based business and a State Department economic development fellowship.

In 2012, Heidi founded Curators Without Borders (CWB), a Santa Fe-based non-profit organization focused on museum and exhibition development. CWB is developing an international humanitarian education program called the Learning Kiosk, to bring museums and cultural institutions more fully into the field of humanitarian aid.

Most recently, Ms. McKinnon served as the founding Director of Exhibitions and Planning for the Museum of Freedom and Human Rights in Panama City, Panama, where she created the inaugural exhibitions as well as the planning and visioning for the entire museum, which opened in 2019.

Heidi's commitment to supporting threatened cultural heritage and sound ecological principles is a cornerstone of the brand she and Hilary began together.