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American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds

June 23, 2021–January 2, 2022

Weathervanes are a form of art, design, and public sculpture. American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds is the first exhibition in more than four decades to highlight the beauty, historical significance, and technical virtuosity of American vanes fashioned between the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Reserve your ticket: American Folk Art Museum Tickets. Admission is always free.

For families with children ages 4 and up, please find an interactive guide here for use in the galleries or at home!

A full-color, illustrated, 224-page publication accompanies the exhibition, published by Rizzoli International Publications in association with the American Folk Art Museum. Authored by exhibition curator Robert Shaw, the book includes contributions by Jason T. Busch and Jennifer Mass, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Cultural Heritage Science at the Bard Graduate Center. This seminal scholarly work will have a significant impact on our understanding of this early American sculptural art form, serving as the authoritative text on American weathervanes for generations to come.

A series of free, virtual programs were organized in conjunction with the exhibition. Visit the Museum’s YouTube page to watch recordings of each program.

Robert Shaw is the guest curator of American Weathervanes. Emelie Gevalt is the coordinating curator and Joseph Zordan is the consulting scholar of the exhibition.

Photos by Olya Vysotskaya.

For media inquiries, please email

Major support for this exhibition is provided by Julie Lindberg, with additional support by the American Folk Art Society, Kendra and Allan Daniel, Deborah Davenport and Stewart Stender, David Davies and Jack Weeden Fund for Exhibitions, Michael Del Castello, the Stacy C. Hollander Fund for Exhibitions, Jane and Gerald Katcher, Penny and Allan Katz, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation, and the Council for Traditional Folk Art.


Ezra Ames and Bela Dexter; Heart and hand weathervane; Chelsea, Massachusetts, 1839. Carved white pine with original paint, 21 x 39 in. Private collection. Photograph courtesy David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles, Woodbury, CT.

W. A. Snow Iron Works; Touring Car and Driver weathervane; Boston, Massachusetts, c. 1910. Molded copper with traces of gilt. h. from bottom of wheels 18 in; l. 33 in. Collection of Susan and Jerry Lauren. Photograph by Adam Reich.

Artist unidentified; Church banner weathervane; Orono, Maine, c. 1840. Sheet iron, lead, copper, and blown glass with remnants of an early gilded surface, 61 x 74 ΒΌ in. Private collection. Photograph by Ellen McDermott; courtesy Olde Hope Antiques, Inc.

"Zephyrs of creativity"
– The Wall Street Journal
"Weathervanes Get their Second Wind at the American Folk Art Museum."
– The Art Newspaper
"It's time to remember weathervanes."
– Architectural Digest
"This is a book to be treasured by anyone who collects or simply admires American vernacular art and sculpture. In conjunction with the book, an exhibition will be held at the American Folk Art Museum in New York."
– Antiques and Auction News