Meet Neela K. Wickremesinghe, the Robert A. and Elizabeth Rohn Jeffe Director of Restoration and Preservation here at Green-Wood. Neela and her team, Gustavo Padilla and Felipe Hernandez, are responsible for ensuring the integrity of Green-Wood’s monuments and mausoleums, so they will survive in the best possible condition for years to come.
Since joining the team in 2016, Neela has, along with her team, conserved hundreds of monuments across our grounds—from ornate mausoleums in need of structural repair to nearly forgotten marble headstones buried from view in our public lots. Her responsibilities include locating areas in need of care, restoring monuments, documenting restoration projects, and training the restoration staff. In the winter the restoration team performs many small repairs in the restoration studio to be returned to the grounds once the weather warms.
Each spring Neela leads a group of young people interested in pursuing a career in masonry restoration through the Bridge to Craft Careers program, in partnership with the World Monuments Fund, International Masonry Institute, and Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow—helping them acquire the skills to enter the restoration field. Additionally, Green-Wood hosts a group of high school interns each summer, who learn about small scale restoration projects and how to do primary source research.
“Restoring some of the most important funerary sculpture is great—but getting to do it in a team setting with a dedicated staff is even better. Green-Wood is a wonderful place to work and I enjoy the diversity of each new day on the grounds.” – Neela K. Wickremesinghe