Sheldon Museum Names William Brooks Executive Director

William Brooks, Executive Director, Henry Sheldon Museum

The Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History announces the appointment of William F. Brooks, Jr. as Executive Director. Mr. Brooks joins the Museum from the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation of Plymouth Notch, Vermont, where he served as the Development Director for eight years.

He is a graduate of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and earned a master’s graduate degree in American Folk Art Studies from New York University, a program co-sponsored by the Museum of American Folk Art. Previously, he had served as Executive Director of Frog Hollow, the Vermont State Craft Centers, from 1997 to 2002, administering three craft galleries and three craft education centers located in Burlington, Middlebury, and Manchester, Vermont. His work in Vermont nonprofit education was preceded by a career in banking.

“We are thrilled and fortunate to welcome Bill Brooks to the Sheldon Museum,” said Chair of the Board of Trustees, Marnie Wood. “Bill was appointed with the hearty endorsement of the trustees, confident that he will continue to move the Sheldon forward, furthering the museum’s missions of quality, innovative history education programs and exhibits. The continued care and maintenance of its historic buildings in downtown Middlebury, is highlighted by the1829 Judd-Harris House, its furnishings, documentary and photographic archives, paintings, and diverse, unique artifacts. Bill’s fundraising, management, scholarship, art and history education background will make him an excellent steward of the Sheldon’s buildings and collections. His skills complement the professional credentials and exemplary talents of the current museum staff.”

While at the Coolidge Foundation, Mr. Brooks, as Development Director, had staff responsibility for the successful $3 million capital campaign, which funded the new Calvin Coolidge Museum and Education Center and strengthened the foundation’s endowment. His previous folk art related assignments included authoring fifty entries for the Encyclopedia of American Folk Art, curating an exhibit on the Italian American wood sculptor Aldo Piacenza at Intuit in Chicago and an exhibit of Rhode Island Folk and Self Taught Artists at the Virginia Lynch Gallery in Tiverton, Rhode Island.

Mr. Brooks has deep Vermont roots. His maternal grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. Jacob Johnson Ross, were both graduates of the University of Vermont. Dr. Ross’ medical practice was in Middlebury, Vermont, where Mrs. Ross taught math at Middlebury High School. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Carlton Titus Holmes, owned the former Lake View Orchards in Charlotte, Vermont, located on waterfront property to the south of the current Holmes Covered Bridge.

Active in the community, Brooks served as President of the Addison County Economic Development Corporation and was on the Board of GRACE [Grass Roots and Community Effort], an arts organization headquartered in Hardwick, Vermont. He is on the Board of the Middlebury College Museum of Art, is Co-Chair of the New Haven, Vermont Planning Commission, and is a past member of the Vermont Human Resources Board, appointed by both Governors Dean and Douglas.

Brooks joins the Sheldon in the midst of a busy summer season, where the current exhibits are Take me to the Fair: An Addison County Tradition celebrating the history of the county’s Fair and Field Days, and George and Lorette: A Civil War Love Story about Capt. George G. Howe and Lorette Wolcott, who courted through tender love letters during the Civil War. The couple’s original letters, George’s uniform, his military accoutrement, women’s clothing, and period household objects, all from the museum’s collection, are on view.