Dr. William “Pete” Lee’s resume, rather than being a dry recital of credits and plaudits, reads like an adventure story — so many universities attended, so many languages and native dialects spoken, so many research projects in fascinating parts of the world while working as an anthropologist and documentary film and television producer. Lee seems a modern-day Indiana Jones — college professor, cinematographer, anthropologist and adventurer.
Lee is the featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Idyllwild Area Historical Society at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10, at Creekstone Inn in Fern Valley Corners. Lee said he would talk about museums — what they do, how they are governed and how they are funded.
As part of his varied career, Lee has served as executive director for a number of prestigious Southern California museums, among them the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana and the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in San Pedro. He currently serves on the board of the Hamilton Museum in Anza, sister museum of IAHS. Lee is a resident of Lake Riverside Estates in Aguanga just south of the Anza Valley.
Lee’s museum experience, combined with his extensive fieldwork, makes his professional story a fascinating one. He recently returned from a month in Peru helping an archaeologist friend document a pre-Incan people, the Moche. He has conducted fieldwork in Kiribati, Japan, Peru, Venezuela, Canada and the Navajo nation in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. He has served as consultant for the Smithsonian Institution, the National Civil War Maritime Museum, the U.S. Department of Interior, San Francisco National Maritime Park and the Museo del Oro, Bogota, Columbia. He has also organized numerous exhibitions at the museums for which he served as executive director.
Lee comes to his interest in history partly through family history. He is the great-great-great nephew of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate States of America’s leading general during the War Between the States.
IAHS President Marlene Pierce said the balance of the Sunday meeting, after Lee’s presentation, will be a business meeting with reports on the state of the society and election of officers and directors.