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American Made: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum

July 2 – September 19, 2016

Sculpture of Uncle Sam riding bicycle
Artist unidentified, Uncle Sam Riding a Bicycle Whirligig, ca. 1880–1920, paint on wood with metal, 37 x 55 1/2 x 11 in. Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York. Gift of Dorothea and Leo Rabkin
America has always been a nation of makers.

The things we make tell the story of who we are. American Made: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum features 115+ objects—including quilts, carvings, signs, samplers, weathervanes, whirligigs and more—hand made by Americans when our nation was young.

On the heels of the American Revolution, everyday citizens filled their homes with objects and artworks—made by their own hands—that revealed the hope and enthusiasm they felt for our new nation. These self-made artists created practical objects that reflected their daily lives. They embellished furniture and household items with images of the countryside, made decorative objects reflecting American patriotism and politics, and stitched quilts and samplers that demonstrated their skill and creativity. Traveling painters moved from town to town making portraits of local community leaders. Together, these artisans crafted a visual story of America’s development.

American Made in the News

Associated Press:
American folk art show opens at Crystal Bridges Museum

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
Editorial: Rooms with Views

Additional treasures complement the exhibition:

  • In-Gallery Activity Space – invites visitors to create their own magnetic quilt squares, contribute to a community loom, and design stencil boxes to take home.
  • Local Artist Demonstration Space – weavers, quilters, metalsmiths, woodworkers, broom makers, and many more will demonstrate their crafts throughout the exhibition.
  • Take-Home Reading List – suggests works of early American literature published during the era of the exhibition. Rare editions of many of these books are on display in the museum library including Moby DickThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Created especially for Crystal Bridges from the American Folk Art Museum in New York, American Made shares the story these artworks tell about America: our history, our culture, our identity.

Only at Crystal Bridges.

Discovery Guide

Use this fun guide to find the beauty in the details. Each image features a close-up detail of a specific artwork. Look closely for these works as you move through the exhibition, and marvel at the self-taught mastery of the artists who made them!

Download the American Made Discovery Guide

American Made Blog Posts

Sponsored By

George's; Becky and Bob Alexander; American Folk Art Museum

Selection of artworks and exhibition concept for American Made provided by Stacy Hollander, Deputy Director, Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions, The American Folk Art Museum, NY. Interpretation, exhibition design, and educational programs developed by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.