In Memoriam: Darwina L. Neal

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Darwina L. Neal
Darwina L. Neal at Dumbarton Oaks in 1985, courtesy Jennifer Somogy Salvaggio

We are deeply saddened by the recent passing of our dear friend Darwina L. Neal, FASLA, HM. IFLA, F.US/ICOMOS. Darwina will be greatly missed for her dedication to the field of landscape architecture, historic preservation, and the National Building Museum specifically.

Darwina L. Neal received her Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from Pennsylvania State University and did post-graduate studies in Urban Design at Catholic University. She began her distinguished career with the National Park Service (NPS) in 1965, working on Lady Bird Johnson’s Beautification Program, and remained at NPS until her retirement in 2009 as Chief, Cultural Resource Preservation Services. Darwina was the first woman elected president of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and rose as a leader within the landscape architecture profession. Over her lifetime, Darwina was involved with many organizations including US/ICOMOS, the Preservation Roundtable and the National Preservation Institute.

Darwina was a tireless advocate and supporter of the National Building Museum for decades. In 2016, she gave a significant contribution to help fill a need in the Museum’s program offerings by creating the Darwina L. Neal Cultural Landscape Fund. Darwina wanted to ensure that the public appreciated the importance of historic or internationally-significant cultural landscapes and learned about US/ICOMOS, ICOMOS and World Heritage Sites. Programs supported by the Darwina L. Neal Cultural Landscape Fund will continue at the National Building Museum as a lasting legacy of a wonderfully accomplished, generous, and dedicated person.