The Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico is the largest in the world dedicated to folk art and is unique for its rich collections and changing exhibitions. With more than 135,000 objects - including ethnic costumes, masks, textiles, and toys- from more than 100 nations in permanent, changing, traveling and interactive exhibitions MoIFA is worth a trip to this region which in many ways can still be seen as the “last frontier”.
Included in the permanent collections are 106,000 objects from the Girard Foundation Collection and 2,500 items in the Neutrogena Collection. The Hispanic Heritage Wing features the largest collection of Spanish colonial folk art in the United States.
Part of Museum of New Mexico, founded in 1909, that includes four museums and six monuments statewide and is the largest state museum system in the United States
The museum, dedicated to documenting, collecting, preserving and interpreting the creative works of traditional artists from cultures around the world, was founded in September 1953 by Florence Dibell Bartlett who believed that encouraging people to interact with folk art and with one another would help promote cultural understanding.
MoIFA is one of the four world class museums on Museum Hill, just 10 minutes from Santa Fe’s central Plaza, in the historic East side of town. A Botanical Garden and Trail is being developed to offer an educational experience of native plants. Museum Hill’s Milner Plaza is a fairly recent place that offers a magnificent view over the two mountain ranges surrounding Santa Fe and at its center people can wind their way through the seven circuits labyrinth made of bricks.
The Girard Collection
The most intriguing collection is the one donated by Alexander Girard, a notable architect and interior designer, and his wife, Susan. They traveled the world collecting hundreds of thousands of objects representing the folklore and culture of the different countries. The display of part of their collection, designed by Girard himself, is unique in its own right. It is organized by themes rather than by country or year. So one sees dolls from around the world or native villages with incredible details as they would collect every possible piece that would help feel the atmosphere of the place.
The Hispanic Heritage Wing is important for the precious Spanish Colonial art heritage, so integral of New Mexico history. The Neutrogena Collection is among the best for textiles and costumes from every corner of the planet.
A Most Exciting Shopping Experience
A fantastic event inspired to folk art is now taking place every year in early July: The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. Over 170 artisans from more than 50 countries offer their colorful craft on the space surrounding the museum.
The museum has two shops where objects, books and a lot of other international folk art pieces can be found.