Press Release | Washington, DC | October 12, 2017

National Trust for Historic Preservation Names Timothy P. Whalen Chairman-Elect of Board of Trustees

Whalen brings a wide-ranging understanding of cultural heritage conservation to the position

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is pleased to announce that Timothy P. Whalen, director of the Los Angeles-based Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), has been elected to serve a three-year term as Chair of the National Trust’s Board of Trustees. His appointment begins on October 15.

Since becoming its director in 1998, Whalen has helped to position the Getty Conservation Institute as a global leader and authoritative voice on cultural heritage conservation. He has also worked to advance preservation and conservation as a board member of the California Preservation Foundation, a member of the Board of Studies for the Courtauld Institute of Art Wall Painting Conservation Program and a member of the U.S. National Commission to UNESCO.

“Tim’s innovative approach to preservation strategies and his demonstrated leadership abilities make him the ideal person to chair our Board,” said Stephanie K. Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “He understands the enormous potential of preservation to respond to the issues cities face today. We look forward to the energy Tim brings to the National Trust as we continue to empower Americans to save places that represent our multifaceted cultural experience.”

Whalen’s long professional association with the National Trust includes serving as a National Trust Advisor from 1999 to 2009, Chair of the National Trust Advisors from 2007 to 2009 and a member of the Board of Trustees since 2012. He has most recently served as Vice Chair for the National Trust’s Board as well as Chair of the Preservation and Historic Sites Committee. His career at the Los Angeles-based J. Paul Getty Trust began in 1983, when he was appointed assistant director of the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities (now the Getty Research Institute), and then associate director of the Getty Building Program. In 1991, Whalen assumed the position of senior program officer in the Getty Foundation, overseeing the foundation's conservation grant making activities.

This year, as part of ongoing efforts to increase its scale and impact, the National Trust is embarking on a new strategic vision called P10Next. Whalen’s election as Chairman marks another step forward in the organization’s vision as the standard bearer for saving places that represent the diversity of the American experience and serve as the foundation of a more vibrant future. To that end, the National Trust is committed to leading a preservation movement that promotes a greater understanding and appreciation of our country’s complex history, honors our personal and shared stories, and inspires all communities to come together to transform the places where we live into places that we love.

“I have been long committed to the work of the National Trust,” said Tim Whalen. “I look forward to working with my fellow trustees, Stephanie, and her team, and all of our partners to bring the expertise and resources of the National Trust to communities and organizations throughout the country to save the places that matter—places that tell the full story of the United States and its people.”

Whalen leads an institute that works internationally to advance the practice of cultural heritage conservation through research, education and applied field work with a staff of distinguished colleagues who are experts in the conservation of objects, collections, architecture, and sites. Under his leadership, the Getty Conservation Institute has developed conservation methods that address the challenges presented by modern buildings and sought a holistic approach to conservation that appropriately manages growth in historic cities. A recent example of the GCI’s work is the completed conservation of architect Louis Kahn’s masterpiece, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. Additionally, in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, Whalen led the creation of SurveyLA, the first comprehensive, citywide historic resources survey for Los Angeles and whose survey data forms the basis of HistoricPlacesLA, the first online information and management system specifically created to inventory, map and describe Los Angeles’ significant cultural resources.

A California native, Whalen holds a BA in Art History as well as an MA in Museum Studies and Art History from the University of Southern California. He was awarded a Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.


The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. | @savingplaces

The National Trust's African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has awarded $3 million in grants to 33 places preserving Black history.

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