PNJ offers its heartiest congratulations to one of our Board of Directors, Holly Boyer, who recently became the new Historical Architect for Independence National Historical Park (NHP) in Philadelphia, PA. Her area of responsibility includes all of Independence NHP, as well as several other sites including the Edgar Allan Poe House, the Thaddeus Kosciuszko House, Gloria Dei (Old Swedes) Church, and the Deshler-Morris House in Germantown.
After completing her Bachelor of Architecture degree at Cornell University in 1992, Holly worked for Watson & Henry Associates in Bridgeton, NJ. While there, she was engaged in the preparation of assessments and reports, construction documents, and project management during the design and construction phases of many restoration projects. Her work there included a multitude of historic preservation projects including two National Historic Landmarks and several projects earning NJ Historic Preservation Awards.
Holly then graduated with a Master of Science in Design with a concentration in Historic Preservation (MSD-HP) from the University of PA in 2019. Her master’s thesis project, High and Mighty: A Comparative Analysis of the Wood-Framed Steeples of John McArthur, Jr., examined an early period of McArthur’s career, as well as steeple design and construction in the context of the mid-nineteenth century. The topic stemmed from Holly’s work experience in the restoration of the steeple of the First Presbyterian Church in Salem, NJ. Last year she was the recipient of The David Fischetti Award presented by the Association for Preservation Technology International for her article on the subject of McArthur’s steeples.
After her time with Watson & Henry Associates, Holly later worked for both Preservation Design Partnership and Historic Building Architects, LLC, before moving to Independence NHP.
Holly describes herself as “a passionate, dedicated architect with over thirty years of experience in preservation practice, project management, and contract administration.” She has worked with buildings that have state, national, and international significance. Her areas of focus include various wood- or timber-framed structures; envelope evaluation and improvements for government buildings and educational facilities; re-roofing of historic structures; and repair and replacement of early twentieth-century materials including masonry veneer and curtainwall systems.
Holly is honored and delighted to have recently joined the National Park Service. She feels that it provides her with the opportunity to contribute through her passion for preserving cultural heritage. The preservation of the Independence National Park buildings helps ensure that everyone, present and future, has access to the fabric of our shared history around us.
She owns old homes in Vineland, NJ and in the Bella Vista neighborhood of Philadelphia. She spends most of her spare time maintaining them (or at least worrying about the maintenance they need). Her bumper sticker, which reads I BRAKE FOR OLD HOUSES, isn’t just a saying, it’s her lifestyle.
The ever-busy Boyer still finds time to give back to the historic preservation community, for example serving on the Board of Directors of PNJ since 2021. She joined because she grew up in NJ and feels a deep connection to the state’s diverse cultural heritage. She feels that PNJ is at its best when it’s drawing the public’s attention to resources in the built environment that are threatened, especially through PNJ’s 10-Most list of endangered structures. In the future, she’d love to see PNJ continue to grow in numbers and public visibility. To anyone considering getting more involved with PNJ, Holly shares the following advice: Bring your passion for history and buildings, because preservation isn’t just about preserving buildings and structures, it’s also about telling stories that connect people to the past and to each other.