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Museum News
09 Oct 2020

The American Folk Art Museum Receives Grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation

(New York, October 9, 2020) – The American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) announced today a grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation in support of an initiative to catalog and digitize the museum’s wildfowl decoy collection.

“This important initiative will constitute a vital part of the sixtieth anniversary celebration of our collection beginning in 2021 and will make a lasting contribution to future scholarship on these unique objects,” said Jason T. Busch, Director and Chief Executive Officer of AFAM. “We are grateful to the Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation for its generous support.”

Comprising more than 200 exceptional objects created between the late 19th and mid-20th century, AFAM’s wildfowl collection traces its history to the founding of the museum and includes impressive examples of duck, geese, and shorebird decoys. Although decoys have been the subject of exhibitions and scholarly publications in the six-decade history of AFAM, the grant will help the museum expand upon existing research to present a fascinating chapter in the story of self-taught art across time and place. In the coming year, the museum will host a convening of specialists to assess the decoy collection and complete its cataloging and digitization.

“The American Folk Art Museum’s project to catalog and digitize its wildfowl decoy collection is a project our foundation enthusiastically supports. It will aid in the preservation of Long Island and increase educational awareness of New York State history,” said Kathryn Curran, Executive Director of the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.

“Through this grant, an important part of the museum’s collection will become more accessible to researchers, scholars, and visitors,” said Ann-Marie Reilly, Director of Collections and Exhibition Production at AFAM.

About the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation

Established in 1987, the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation primarily supports the study of New York State history. Robert David Lion Gardiner was, until his death in August 2004, the 16th Lord of the Manor of Gardiner’s Island, NY. The Gardiner family and their descendants have owned Gardiner’s Island since 1639, obtained as part of a royal grant from King Charles 1 of England. The Foundation is inspired by Robert David Lion Gardiner’s personal passion for New York history. For more information, please visit

About the American Folk Art Museum

Since 1961, the American Folk Art Museum has been the leading institution shaping the understanding of art by the self-taught through its exhibitions, publications, and educational programs. As a center of scholarship, it showcases the creativity of individuals whose singular talents have been refined through personal experience rather than formal artistic training. Its collection includes more than eight thousand works of art from four centuries and nearly every continent—from compelling portraits and dazzling quilts to powerful works by living artists in a variety of mediums. The museum will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2021.