Former museum chief seeks to sell Pittsfield home


PITTSFIELD — The former executive director of the Berkshire Museum put his Pittsfield home on the market this week.

Van W. Shields and his wife, Peggy Rivers, listed their 1425 West St. home for sale for $469,000.

Shields, 68, retired from his position at the museum June 28, a month after the institution completed sales of more than a dozen works of art from its collection, netting $47 million. Additional sales are planned as part of an agreement with Attorney General Maura Healey that allows the museum to raise $55 million to build its endowment and pursue renovations.

Shields declined an earlier request to speak about his retirement.

The 1982 colonial-style home is more than 3,800 square feet in size and sits on an 8-acre lot near Berkshire Community College. The listing says it has five bedrooms and five bathrooms.


The couple bought the property March 16, 2012, for $377,500.

That sale price was less than the $400,000 that changed hands when the single-family home was bought by its previous owner, Christopher M. Johnson, in 2007.

The Great Recession hit between those two sale dates.

"Enjoy complete & total privacy with wooded & mountain views from every window while only being minutes to downtown Pittsfield," the property's online listing states.

Shields joined the museum in September 2011 after spending 14 years running the Culture & Heritage Museums in Rock Hill, S.C. Consultant David W. Ellis of Cambridge has been named interim director.

Larry Parnass can be reached at, at @larryparnass on Twitter and 413-496-6214.


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