News Briefs

Billings Farm & Museum appoints new director


David M. Simmons

WOODSTOCK—On July 7, the Woodstock Foundation announced that David M. Simmons has been appointed director of the Billings Farm & Museum, one of Vermont’s premier outdoor museums and the only site in the nation that combines a fully operational award-winning dairy farm with an immersive museum experience.

“Billings Farm & Museum, esteemed beyond Vermont’s borders, is a treasure whose story is compelling, inspiring, and resonant today with 60,000 visitors each year,” Simmons said. “I am honored to be entrusted with leading its outstanding staff, to continue to shape and expand the visitor experience, and to extend the already notable stature of our Jersey herd and its products in America’s dairy heritage.”

Donath commented, “Billings Farm & Museum is very fortunate to have David Simmons as its director. He is a highly respected outdoor museum professional with extensive experience and skills. His leadership and accomplishments have earned him a national reputation in the museum profession. Our entire organization is looking forward to David’s leadership in the coming years.”
Since his arrival two years ago, Simmons has served as Museum vice president. Prior to coming to the Billings Farm & Museum, Simmons was director of the Wade House Historic Site, a 240-acre living-history site owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. During his eight-year tenure at Wade House, he helped envision, raise funds for, and lead a $13 million expansion, including a visitor center, carriage museum, and reconfiguration of visitor engagement across the entire site. Formerly, he was a senior manager at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, working in the areas of archeology, research and collections, visitor services, and visitor studies during his 24-year tenure. Simmons holds degrees from Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania.
David Simmons resides in Woodstock with his wife, Barbara, and currently serves on the board of the Vermont Attractions Association and on committees of the American Association for State and Local History.

David Donath, who has directed the Farm & Museum since 1985, will continue in his position as the president of the Woodstock Foundation, which owns and operates the Billings Farm & Museum, and will concentrate on strategic and development issues. Darlyne Franzen will continue in her role as senior vice president, with major responsibility for Foundation marketing and development; Jason Johnson will continue as farm manager.

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