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New exec director hired for Farnsworth House near Plano

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently announced a new executive director of the Farnsworth House near Plano.

Scott Mehaffey took over as executive director of the landmark Mies van der Rohe home on River Road starting April 2. Mehaffey replaces Maurice Drue Parrish, who had been executive director since 2013.

The Trust has owned the house since 2003 and has operated the site since 2010, and is one of the Trust’s 27 historic sites nationwide that are open to the public, according to the organization.

The Trust continues to work closely with Landmarks Illinois, which holds an easement on the property, on flood mitigation due to the rising Fox River while maintaining the integrity of the design and its essential relationship to the river, according to Trust officials.

“We are thrilled to welcome Scott as we continue the preservation and evolution of Farnsworth House,” Katherine Malone-France, vice president for Historic Sites at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in a statement. “Scott brings energy, enthusiasm and a strong desire to expand Farnsworth House programs and outreach at the local, national, and international level, along with many years of practical experience managing and developing historic properties.”

According to the statement, Mehaffey has held positions with the Morton Arboretum and the City of Chicago with responsibilities including historic site management, strategic planning and development, and community outreach and programming. In addition, Mehaffey is an adjunct professor in the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he teaches graduate-level courses in Modernism and the Prairie School, according to the Trust.

Most recently Mehaffey headed his own landscape architecture firm in Flossmoor, Ill., and led efforts to revitalize the historic commercial district in Princeton, Ill., according to the Trust.

“I am looking forward to guiding this internationally renowned historic site into its next phase of development, as we work to protect and maintain Farnsworth House and its setting for the coming generations,” Mehaffey said in a statement. “It’s an honor to work for The National Trust, and I am particularly impressed by their dedication to preserving the site’s historic integrity in the face of a changing climate.”

The Farnsworth House now welcomes over 15,000 visitors per season, and hosts a variety of tours, programs and special events both on- and off-site. Tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday from April through November and can be booked at farnsworthhouse.org.

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