Lee H. Nelson

Man in white shirt, tie, and glasses, smiles
Lee H. Nelson, Chief of the Preservation Assistance Division, 1990

Quick Facts
Pioneer in preservation.
Date of Birth:
Date of Death:

Lee H. Nelson (1927-1994), a distinguished National Park Service architect and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He was a pioneer in preservation and a mentor to many in the field. He began his career in the National Park Service (NPS) as a summer intern in 1958.

Lee Nelson was an extraordinary activist in the preservation movement, not only domestically, but internationally as well. Nelson perceived the need for a center dedicated to preservation research technology early in his career. Back in 1962, at a preservation meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Nelson and a number of NPS architects, engineers, and exhibit specialists discussed their desire for a center of this type. Nelson understood and endorsed the need for technology to be used as a tool in a preservation context. He worked for many years to help establish a center for this purpose.

Nelson received the National Park Service’s highest awards, the Meritorious Service Award and the Distinguished Service Award. He retired as the Chief of the Preservation Assistance Division in 1990.

Last updated: February 17, 2021