Today the Doctors speak with architectural historian and preservationist Nicole Nietzel about her work on the Queen Mary. Nicole discusses her love of architectural history and why it is so important to preserve historic sites like the Queen Mary which was at various times a passenger ship, a troop ship, and now a hotel stationed in Long Beach, California.
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Nicole Nietzel is an architectural historian from Massachusetts. Nicole earned her BA in Historic Preservation from Salve Regina University and her MA in Architectural History from the University of Virginia. The majority of her research projects focus on topics related to tourism such as twentieth-century postcards, Newport, Rhode Island and ocean liners.
Nicole fell in love with studying ocean liners at just seven years old, when a classmate told her about the history of the RMS Titanic (BEFORE the movie came out, for the record!). She continued to expand her study of ocean liners throughout her life, first as a child, then as an academic, and most recently as a professional. Nicole spent ten months scouring the Queen Mary, cataloging her architecture, decorative arts, fine arts, and other furnishings to provide preservation recommendations and an assessment of her current condition. As an ocean liner that has been converted into a hotel located in Long Beach, California, the Queen Mary presents a unique and fascinating set of preservation challenges, and her features often blur the lines between architecture and furniture. Nicole met these challenges head on, creating a database of the ship’s features in the majority of the ship’s accessible spaces.
Nicole’s other notable professional experiences from the preservation field include: a research internship working on the Peabody Essex Museum and V&A’s current exhibit Ocean Liners: Glamour, Speed and Style; tour guiding at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello; analyzing a collection of historic postcards for her masters thesis and various other curatorial and archival related projects. In her free time Nicole enjoys knitting, going for walks, attending concerts, watching too much TV and doing even more historical research.