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Museum of International Folk Art
About Us : Girard Wing

Mexican musicians

I believe we should preserve this evidence
of the past, not as a pattern for sentimental imitation, but as nourishment
for the creative spirit of the present.

-Alexander Girard

Alexander and Susan Girard began a lifetime of collecting on their honeymoon trip to Mexico in 1939. Objects were selected for their beauty, humor, whimsy, enthusiasm, spontaneity and directness and they illustrate humankind's universal need to give form to a sense of ornament, play, delight, and wonder. The Girard collection of more than 100,000 objects is unique in part because of its size: intentional multiples in the collection resulted in a great depth to the holdings in many village traditions that are represented only superficially in other collections that contain similar material. The breadth is also staggering: more than 100 countries on six continents are represented.

Art is only art when it is synonymous with living.
-Alexander Girard


skeleton musicianThe exhibition is also unique in that it was designed by the donor, a leading architect and interior and textile designer. Multiple Visions: A Common Bond displays approximately 10% of the collection. The collection includes toys and dolls, costumes, masks, textiles of all kinds, religious folk art (ex-votos and milagros, nativities, icons) as well as paintings, beadwork, and more. More than a million visitors have passed through the doors into the special world of Girard since the exhibition opened in 1982. Popular with children and the young at heart, the exhibit attracts visitors back into the museum to find an old favorite, or discover a new treasure in the gallery. The exhibition and collection serve as an inspiration and resource for scholars and educators from around the world, from preschool to college level.

Toys represent a microcosm of man’s world and dreams.
They exhibit fantasy, imagination, humor and love.
They are an invaluable record and expression of man's ingenious unsophisticated imagination.

-Alexander Girard


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Multiple Visions: A Common Bond
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