“Jim Duff has left such an incredible legacy that it seems almost impossible to replace him,” said George A. “Frolic” Weymouth, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Brandywine Conservancy, of which he was a founder. “He has been an integral part of the organization for four decades, part of every acquisition, publication, exhibition and celebration. He will be missed.”
The Brandywine Conservancy began in 1967 to protect from industrial development two parcels of land in the historic village of Chadds Ford. It has developed a variety of innovative programs to conserve the natural and cultural resources of the Brandywine watershed and other selected areas with a primary emphasis on water quality and quantity. It provides assistance to local governments in pursuit of these goals. The Conservancy has preserved—through conservation easements and other methods—more than 43,000 acres. It owns and manages more than 2,600 acres in Pennsylvania and Delaware that include many historic properties and structures.
During Duff’s tenure at the museum, the collection of American art—with primary emphasis on the Brandywine region, American illustration, landscape and still life work—has grown from a few dozen works to include more than 3,400. The museum also acquired and conducts public programs at the N. C. Wyeth studio and house (with approximately 9,000 objects that aid interpretation of that site) as well as the Kuerner Farm, which inspired nearly 1,000 works of art by Andrew Wyeth. Duff also oversaw the development and renovation of various Brandywine Conservancy facilities, including museum building expansions completed in 1984 and 2004.
Duff has organized a variety of exhibitions, including An American Vision: Three Generations of Wyeth Art, which traveled to nine museums in five countries, and for which he authored the catalogue. He has been a trustee of the American Association of Museums, a member of the National Museum Services Board (a federal agency) for nine years, and president of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums and in 1992 received that organization’
The board of trustees has formed a committee to start a national search for his replacement.
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Dedicated to preserving art and the environment. The Brandywine River Museum has works by 3 generations of Wyeths and regional art. The Environmental Management Center protects the natural resources of the Brandywine watershed and selected areas.