DEERFIELD, MASS. – The Trustees of Historic Deerfield have named the museum’s architectural conservator, William A. Flynt, interim director while they continue the search for a successor to retiring executive director Donald R. Friary. Flynt will assume full management of the western Massachusetts museum on January 1 when Friary, who announced his retirement in early 2001, becomes the museum’s senior research fellow.
Flynt, the grandson of Historic Deerfield’s founders Henry Needham Flynt and Helen Geier Flynt, has been architectural conservator at Historical Deerfield since 1979. A graduate of Deerfield Academy and Williams College with a master of science degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Vermont, he oversees research and preservation of the museum’s historic structures and serves as a consultant to several organizations throughout New England.
A trustee and past president of the Board of The Bement School in Deerfield, Flynt is also a recent advisory board member at the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art, a director of the New England Chapter of the Vernacular Architecture Forum and an advisory board member for the Gov Huntington House Trust in Scotland, Conn.
During his 23 years on staff, William Flynt has worked on several projects that have positively affected the interpretation of the museum’s historic houses. From 1981 to 1993 he supervised the restoration of the Hinsdale and Anna Williams House, bringing the interpretation of village history into the Age of Jacksonian Democracy. He has worked with curators and members of the museum’s interpretive staff on the re-interpretation of the Wells-Thorn House and the Sheldon-Hawks House. From 1996 to 1998 he served as Historic Deerfield’s project manager, overseeing the construction of the Flynt Center of Early New England Life. And, since 1990, he has been responsible for the ongoing restoration of the Rev John Farwell Moors House.
Commenting on his appointment as interim director, Flynt said, “In looking at the history of the institution known as Historic Deerfield, I can visualize it as a book with the first chapter encompassing roughly the years between the late 1930s to the early 1970s, the years my grandparents were actively involved in creating and refining their vision. The second chapter would cover the years from the mid-1970s to the end of 2002 when the institution grew in stature with an increasingly professional staff under the direction of Donald Friary. I see my new, but temporary, role as helping to formulate the introduction to chapter three, which will be further refined and advanced once a new director is appointed to lead this unique and wonderful institution.”