Nelson received her BFA from Washington University in St. Louis and later was awarded the Max Beckman Scholarship at the Brooklyn Museum School.

We have 2 objects that Joan Nelson has been involved with.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Joan Nelson |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=4 October 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>