In Memoriam: Margot Siegel

Margot Siegel, longtime friend and donor to the Goldstein Museum of Design, passed away on February 24 at age 91.


Siegel graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1944 with a BA in journalism and advertising; and jumped into a prolific career as journalist, publicist, author, columnist, and real estate entrepreneur. Her noteworthy positions include feature writer for the American Red Cross during WWII, reporter and editor at Women’s Wear Daily in New York City, public relations director at the Walker Art Center, and columnist at the Star Tribune.

A lifelong fashion enthusiast and expert, Siegel became involved with the Goldstein Museum of Design in the late 70s. She went on to found the Friends of the Goldstein, and played a key role in supporting the museum’s service and outreach mission. She was instrumental in helping build an excellent group of over 700 designer garments as part of the Goldstein’s costume collection, initiated the first annual benefit for the Friends of the Goldstein’s, served as President’s Club member for outstanding donors, co-curated the Goldstein’s “Paris in the Cities” exhibition, curated “Fashion Lives, Fashion Lives,” and consulted on “Intersections: Where Art Meets Fashion.” Her dedication to the Goldstein and the University was recognized with an Alumni Service Award in 2008; and she funded the annual “Margot Siegel Design Award: Celebrating Innovation” in 2012.


Barbara Heinemann (MA ’03, PhD Apparel Studies ’80), who collaborated with Siegel on the “Intersections” exhibition, remembers that “Margot Siegel was a woman of many passions and talents. She was a journalist by education, an avid art aficionado and patron by avocation, and a major artifact donor and financial contributor to the Goldstein Museum of Design. She said, ‘Fashion is a legacy. I founded the Friends of the Goldstein Gallery in 1978 (as it was known then) with that in mind. Fashion is more than a psychological footnote to history. Fashion is our history and I want that aspect of who we are preserved.’

Her personal clothing donations to the Goldstein constitute a personal fashion history covering more than six decades as seen through the educated vision of one individual donor, a truly remarkable phenomenon. Her commitment to the museum is unparalleled. And for those of us fortunate enough to know her personally and to share in her work, she was also a faithful and supportive friend.”

Please share your own memories in her guestbook.

A funeral service will be held at 12pm Friday at Temple Israel, 2324 Emerson Avenue South, Minneapolis. Please direct memorials to the Goldstein Museum of Design Exhibition Fund.