Mary A. Kopco is an accomplished executive director with over 40 years’ experience in the non-profit sector. Now in her eighth season with the Fort Collins Symphony, she was responsible for the establishment of the Fort Collins Symphony’s Wilfred Schwartz Archive at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. She helped co-found the B Sharp Arts Engagement program for people living with dementia and their care partners in 2015, and the Open Notes program for underserved and at-risk youth in 2017. Mary Kopco is actively engaged in building organizational stability through increasing financial reserves and endowments; and fulfilling annual strategic goals to ensure the Fort Collins Symphony continues to be innovative, relevant, sustainable, and inclusive.
From 1995 until 2014, Mary Kopco transformed the Adams Museum, the Black Hills’ oldest history museum, into a major cultural and award-winning organization. In 2000, she opened the Historic Adams House after a $1.5 million restoration of the 1892 Victorian mansion. Eleven years later, Kopco founded the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center by establishing a research facility to protect the Black Hills’ most significant collection of original documents. In 2012, she helped create Deadwood History, Inc. by bringing together Deadwood, South Dakota’s main historical resources (Adams Museum, Historic Adams House, Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center and Days of ’76 Museum) under one administration.
Mary Kopco earned her Master of Arts in History from James Madison University, Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Emory and Henry College, Virginia. She is the author of The Adams House Revealed: The Restoration of a Historic Home. Kopco has also written numerous articles that have been published in political and museum industry journals. In addition, she served as the editor of Beyond Mount Rushmore: Other Black Hills Faces, Adams A to Z, and Raiding Deadwood’s Bad Lands. She has been a frequent guest on the History Channel, A& E, Biography, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, and on HBO® Deadwood historical featurettes. Kopco has received numerous awards including three Emmy certificates from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for her contributions to the HBO® Deadwood series, the 2011 Mountain-Plains Museum Associations’ President’s Award, and the 2004 Nell Perrigoue Award for service to the community of Deadwood. In 2021, the Second Flute Endowed Chair was named in her honor by members of the Fort Collins Symphony Association and the Friends of the Symphony.
Mary Kopco is most enthusiastic about being involved in organizations that significantly improve quality of life and create joy. She is an ardent advocate of using history as an instructive guide to navigate new ways forward, and of using music as a means to be inspired in the moment. Mary Kopco believes her work at the Fort Collins Symphony successfully brings together these two passions.