America’s Town, America’s Story: The Campaign for Historic Deerfield

Help preserve this authentic American village to ensure that future generations remain engaged in America’s story.

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Restore the 1799 Asa Stebbins House

The Asa Stebbins House was designed by Asher Benjamin, one of America’s first architects. Benjamin published the first American architectural pattern book, The Country Builder’s Assistant (1797), in nearby Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Asa Stebbins made his wealth as a farmer and miller in the years after the American Revolution. He engaged Benjamin to build his house. Stebbins’s home was built in the Federal style, then a new aesthetic designed to invoke the ancient democracy of Greece and the republican values of Rome at the dawn of the new American nation.

Today, the wooden substructure and masonry of this highly visited house, last restored in the 1950s, is in dire need of stabilization. Work to preserve it will include analyzing its surviving architectural treatments (paint, wallpaper, room use), conducting necessary archeology around the foundation, and then restoring the masonry and wood substructure that supports the house.

The chance to help secure the integrity of such a national treasure—in earshot of the Stebbins’s very own tall clock, made by famed Boston maker Aaron Willard and still ticking in their parlor—is a rare opportunity to leave the ranks as an observer of history to become an active, essential participant in preserving the very building blocks of America.

 

Visitor Engagement

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Historic Deerfield plans to raise $5 million to build upon its research-based, innovative programming in new and exciting ways designed to expand audiences and deepen visitor engagement. These include:

  • Special, theatre-based events and tours that tell the many stories of Deerfield.

  • Collaborations with our neighbors, including the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (PVMA) in Deerfield and the Five Colleges, Inc. (a consortium of the campuses, faculty, and students of Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire Colleges and University of Massachusetts Amherst) to help tell Deerfield stories—American stories—from more perspectives.

  • Fresh approaches to interpretation that connect past with present. Through the introduction of musical events that mix historical and contemporary performances, character actors interacting with visitors, and a new app that will enhance touring options along The Street.

  • Increased use of social media to share Deerfield’s stories more broadly, and expanded marketing initiatives to draw more visitors to Deerfield to experience these American stories.

Deerfield’s combination of an authentic setting, documented historic houses, remarkable collections, and real-life stories about the American past makes it a unique national treasure. With more dynamic visitor engagement and expanded learning opportunities, Historic Deerfield can bring more people into the magic and power of other times.