Margaret (Molly) Lester joined PennPraxis in 2017 as a Research Associate after two years of working as a freelance architectural historian and preservation planner for PennPraxis, the University of Pennsylvania, and other clients. Her portfolio includes research, documentation, and community engagement projects related to historic buildings and cultural landscapes, ranging from eighteenth-century historic sacred places to twentieth-century public golf courses. In addition to her role with PennPraxis, Molly is a 2019 Fellow for the James Marston Fitch Foundation, leading an independent research and media project exploring the career of architect Minerva Parker Nichols (1862-1949).
Previously, she worked as a program director for Partners for Sacred Places, overseeing a national consulting and grantmaking program for historic congregations. She has also worked as an architectural historian and historic tax credit consultant for Heritage Consulting Group, advising on the rehabilitation of historic properties around the country.
Molly is a contributor to the Hidden City Daily in Philadelphia, a former co-chair of the Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance, and the founder of the InKind Baking Project. She holds a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Architectural History from the University of Virginia.
Work and Research