Joshua Campbell Torrance to Lead WDS

The Webb-Deane-Stevens (WDS) Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Joshua Campbell Torrance as executive director of the renowned historic museum beginning November 15, 2020.

Torrance holds more than 20 years of museum leadership experience, most recently at the Bennington Museum in Vermont, and the Woodlawn Museum, Gardens & Park in Ellsworth, Maine. “We are excited to bring Joshua’s expertise in the administration of historic museums and community-building spirit to WDS,” said Sally Kernan, president of the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of Connecticut, which owns and operates WDS. “His knowledge and enthusiasm will prove an asset to both the museum and local historic community.”

Torrance’s arrival heralds the imminent opening of the new Education and Visitor Center at WDS, which is slated to open in late 2020 with a grand opening celebration in 2021. He will work closely with the Dames and WDS staff to create programming that further connects the museum to the community while expanding the presence of the museum statewide.

“During these unusual times, museums are needed now more than ever,” remarked Torrance. “And at the heart of WDS mission is education. The new Education and Visitor Center offers a truly unique opportunity to expand the impact the museum has on our community.”

At Woodlawn, Torrance completed a $1million capital campaign, preserved the historic buildings and grounds, inventoried collections, and completed an interpretation plan leading to new audio tours. Under his guidance, Woodlawn became a highly appreciated community resource with new educational workshops and lectures, program partnerships with other organizations, a community garden, croquet program, farmers’ market, and the utilization of the estate property as a public park. He embarked on an $8.2 million capital campaign for a building expansion. During his tenure, House Beautiful magazinerecognized Woodlawn as Maine’s most iconic historic house, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized Woodlawn as being “at the forefront of sites pursuing a broader vision of their role in preservation.”

As executive director of the Bennington Museum, Torrance carefully navigated the COVID-19 crisis. Positioning the museum to emerge stronger and thrive post pandemic, he elevated the museum’s profile in the community, strengthened financial accountability, and implemented a new management system to align board and staff goals.

Torrance is the immediate past chair of the American Association for State and Local History Historic House Museums Committee. He also serves on the Advisory Committee for the Keepers Education Preservation Fund at the Maine Community Foundation. Previously, he served in leadership roles in local Rotary Clubs, as a Chamber of Commerce board member, and on a loan committee for a regional economic development corporation. In addition to his M.A. in history museum studiesfrom the Cooperstown Graduate Program, he holds a B.A. in history from Elmira College and an M.A. in public history from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also holds a certificate in governance leadership for nonprofit chief executives from BoardSource.

A series of receptions will introduce Torrance to the community and offer preview visits of the new Education and Visitor Center of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum. Dates and details will be posted on the WDS website, Facebook and Instagram.

About the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum

Located in the heart of Connecticut’s largest historic district, the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum provides the quintessential New England experience – from the American Revolution to the early 20th century. Tours include the 1752 Joseph Webb House, where General George Washington met with French General Rochambeau and planned the military campaign leading to the end of the Revolutionary War; the 1770 Silas Deane House, built for America’s first diplomat to France; and the 1788 Isaac Stevens House, which depicts Connecticut life in the 18th and 19th centuries. For more information or call (860) 529-0612, and like us on Facebook: