Maurice Drue Parrish Named Executive Director of Farnsworth House

Chicago native brings wealth of executive experience to iconic modernist site

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is pleased to announce that Maurice Drue Parrish has been named executive director of Farnsworth House, a site of the National Trust in Plano, Ill.  The iconic modernist site was designed by architect Mies van der Rohe and purchased by the National Trust in 2003.

Parrish begins his new role at Farnsworth on August 26 and brings to the job a wealth of experience in managing cultural institutions and guiding municipal building and zoning practices. He comes to the National Trust after service at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, DC, where he served as Deputy CEO for Visitor Services. During his career, he also has served as an executive at the Detroit Institute of Arts and as Building Commissioner and Zoning Administrator for the City of Chicago.

Born in Chicago and raised not far from van der Rohe’s Illinois Institute of Architecture, Parrish’s early passion for architecture grew from reading about the subject and exploring famous historic buildings in downtown Chicago. He became fascinated by how the built environment influences people and followed his interest when he entered college. Parrish earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Architecture from Yale University. 

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Farnsworth House during an important new chapter in its history,” Parrish said. “This historic site is known all over the world as a symbol of the possibilities of Modernist architecture. I look forward to stewarding the site toward a sustainable future and enabling more architecture lovers to experience this truly unique place.” 

“Maurice’s passion for architecture, history of success in leading cultural institutions, and extensive executive experience make him the ideal director to build on Farnsworth House’s standing as a preeminent Modernist historic site,” said Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez, senior vice president of historic sites of the National Trust. “He understands the imperative to enhance visitors’ experiences at historic sites and how to guide complex preservation projects from conception to completion and I am excited about his charting a new future for Farnsworth.

Farnsworth House is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. through November 28. For more information, visit



The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places., @SavingPlaces