Connor McIntosh

Pronouns: she, her

The current curator of the Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center is Connor McIntosh.

In 2023, Connor joined the Sierra Club as the Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center Curator with over a decade's worth of work in environmental and outdoor education within nonprofit and government sectors. Her love and enthusiasm for the natural world comes from a childhood spent in northeast Georgia, wandering through the Appalachians via foot, bike, or waterway! Connor has carried her curiosity of the natural world with her into her career, working with others to empower them to pursue their own curiosities and wonderments of their own place.

Connor previously worked in Yosemite with the National Park Service and fell in love with the park and people within it, and is excited to return to work in a space that holds meaning for so many. You can catch Connor playing outside at almost any moment she's not at work- reading a book in the sun, scaling the closest mountain peak, or eating lots of snacks on a bikepacking trip!

Connor McIntosh

Former Curator Bonnie Gisel

Previous curator Dr. Bonnie Gisel appeared on California Gold, a PBS television series by Huell Howser.

Dr. Bonnie Gisel was the longest serving curator in the YCHC, from 2002 until 2023. Bonnie is an accomplished environmental historian and educator, as well as a scholar and author about John Muir, the Sierra Club’s first president. She is the author of Kindred and Related Spirits: The Letters of John Muir and Jeanne C. Carr (2001). In 2006, Bonnie published Nature Journal with John Muir and in 2008 published another Muir book, Nature’s Beloved Son. While
serving as the curator, Bonnie led a diverse array of programs and projects for YCHC visitors, including one of the most popular seasonal projects, the Wilderness Quilt. 

Bonnie summed up her purpose and philosophy as being the curator very well:
“I want to instill in others a wonder of the world and an appreciation of the world so it becomes part of our daily breathing.”

Earlier Curators

Even before the LeConte Memorial Lodge was built, the Sierra Club provided a public reading room and information center in Yosemite Valley, beginning in 1898. A young law school graduate, William E. Colby, who ulitimately served for 60 years as a Sierra Club leader, was the first attendant at the Sierra Club's "reading room" at Sinning's Cottage in the old Yosemite Village. A few years later, Galen Clark, a charter member of the Sierra Club, who was the original Guardian of Yosemite under state ownership, staffed the cottage.

Since 1904, the Sierra Club has provided both volunteer and paid staff members to care for the bulding and provide for access by the public. The custodians have included many women and men as caretakers, overseen by a LeConte Lodge Committee that included such luminaries as Edward Taylor Parsons, Marion Randall Parsons, and later Joseph LeConte's son,J.N. LeConte (1916). For three years, beginning in 1921, a young Ansel Adams served as the caretaker.

Over the past 100 years, a host of people have had the seasonal caretaker or custodian position, which in recent years has been renamed and expanded as the position of "curator."

Robert L. McWilliams, a graduate of the University of California, was the first caretaker, in 1904. Subsequently, the custodians included Mr. and Mrs. H.A. Stout (1905), Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Rhea (1906), Kate Gompertz (1907, 1912), Mary Randall (1908), Lydia Atterbury (1909-1912), Anita Gompertz (1911), Harold French (1913), William T. Martin (1914), Bayard Buckham (1915), Fred Morrison (1916), Docia Patchett and Rose Wright (1918), Katherine Stout (1919), Ansel Adams (1920-1923), F.C. Holman (1924-1933).

In the 1940s through 60s, custodians included Edward Anderson (1941), Enid Michael (1945-46, 1949), Sanford S. and Bert Tepfer (1948), Jean ___ (1955), Dick and Fran Reynolds (1956), Kathleen A. Slagter (1957), Marjorie Dunmire (1958), Louis R. Henrich (1959), and Margaret B. Parker (1962).

In the 1970s, Mary Hallesy of Palo Alto chaired the LeConte Memorial Committee under the wing of the Club's Northern California Regional Conservation Committee. Summer staff during this ten-year period included Dr. Susan Schrepfer of the Sierra Club History Committee, and Mary Hallesy, with a series of student interns from Stanford University, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, and San Jose State University.

Beginning in 1981, the Tehipite Chapter of the Sierra Club operated the LeConte program under the guidance of Club volunteers Doug Harwell, Gale Warner, Luke Erdoes, Sam MacNeal, and Harriette Parker.

In 1988, the LeConte Lodge Committee of the Sierra Club was moved to the national Sierra Club, with Harold Wood as chair, and the first curator under that title, Pat Mosley, was hired and served for nine years (1988-1995, 1997), greatly reinvigorating the LeConte Lodge program. Other Club staff in recent years have included Bill Groth (1996), Vern Johnson (cocurator with Pat Mosley 1997), Carolyn Johnson (1998-2001), Bonnie Gisel (2002-2023), and Connor McIntosh (2023 – present).