Published: May 24, 2017
By Laura Beach
AMHERST, MASS. — The Antiques Dealers Association of America (ADA) has finalized plans to move its annual Columbus Day weekend event, the ADA Historic Deerfield Antiques Show, to the campus of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The show is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, October 7–8, at the Mullins Center.
A video posted to the Deerfield Academy website shows rubble where the school’s athletic center once stood. The complex, which housed the show in recent years, was demolished to make way for a new sports facility, one unable to accommodate the 40-exhibitor fair known as a premier venue for early New England artifacts. UMass Amherst will be the fifth venue for the show, founded roughly 30 years ago.
After an exhaustive search for new premises, the ADA and its partner, Historic Deerfield, found no suitable alternative in Deerfield, ADA president Steven S. Powers said. Ted Fuehr of American Spirit Antiques was instrumental in identifying and evaluating the UMass facility, which, like the old venue, is a repurposed hockey rink.
“It is a state-of-the-art facility on a beautiful campus,” Powers said of the venue, which is 15 miles south of Deerfield and easily reached via I-91. The show will be on the center’s first floor, with convenient entrance through the back for setup.
“The show goes on! That’s important to us, and we think for the collecting world that for years has put great objects, great fun and Deerfield on their Columbus Day calendar of events,” Historic Deerfield president Phil Zea wrote us, suggesting, tongue in cheek, that Amherst might now be considered “Greater Deerfield.”
The UMass facility makes possible a larger show, something that may happen over time, says show manager Karen DiSaia. “ADA bylaws require that the show be for members. The ADA was never intended to be big and will add new members carefully. That said, adding younger members who can be mentored is important to the future of the organization and to the field.” Powers said he could envision the show expanding from 40 to perhaps 50 exhibitors.
The proximity of UMass Amherst and to Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges offers the prospect of not only a larger audience, but also one that is young and highly educated. DiSaia said the group is just beginning to think about programming initiatives to bring new visitors to the show.
“We’re very excited. The facility is fabulous and Amherst is a great town with wonderful restaurants and a hotel right on campus,” said DiSaia.
The Mullins Center at UMass Amherst is at 200 Commonwealth Avenue. For show details, visit www.adadealers.com. Hotel UMass is at 1 Campus Way in Amherst. For information, www.hotelumass.com.
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