Van Shields was appointed the Executive Director of the Berkshire Museum in September 2011. Since his arrival, the Museum has launched several new initiatives including the WeeMuse early childhood education program, the BeMuse series for adult audiences, and increased collaboration with area cultural institutions. In 2013 the Museum became the ninth New England organization to be accepted as a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate.
Before coming to the Berkshires, he was the founding CEO of the Culture & Heritage Museums, created by a consolidation of several museums serving the greater Charlotte, North Carolina metropolitan region. Prior to his time in the Carolinas, he spent seven years at New York City’s Museum of the Moving Image and his career includes stints in small business and serving as an Air Force officer.
He has served on the boards of numerous organizations, from planning to social services, tourism, economic development, media, and the arts. He currently serves on the boards of the Berkshire Visitors Bureau, 1 Berkshire Strategic Alliance, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc., and Berkshire Creative.
He and his wife the artist Peggy Rivers live Pittsfield, Massachusetts.