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Founded on June 23, 1961 and opened to the public on September 27, 1963, the American Museum of Folk Art (originally Museum of Early American Folk Arts) in Midtown Manhattan is the foremost venue where one can learn and take pleasure in American folk art. It also features an extensive collection of works of international self-learned artists.

The museum started out modest, starting in a rented floor in a townhouse at 53rd street and eventually purchasing two adjacent townhouses. The museum then moved to a former carriage facility at 55th street in 1979. However, two years later, the said building was destroyed and the museum did not have exhibition galleries for four years. This did not dampen the people behind the museum and art shows were staged in public areas as well as corporate galleries. In 1989, the gallery opposite the Lincoln Center of Performing Arts was opened to the public.

Major exhibitions of Latino and African American pieces became staples in the museum and part of its permanent collection. In 1998, the Contemporary Center was created to cull the works of 20th-21st century self-learned artists as well as European artworks. In 2001, the museum announced its acquisition of an extensive collection of works by Chicago artist Henry Darger which also paved the way for the creation of the Henry Darger Study Center. Some other notable works found in the American Museum of Folk Art include Ammi Phillips?s Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog and paintings of Edward Hicks.

Currently, the museum is located in 53rd Street in a notable structure that can display 500 pieces out of the 5,000 total artworks in the museum?s permanent collection. Adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the 85-foot facade of the museum is clad in gleaming white bronze alloy known as Tombasil which is unprecedented architectural feat. The material catches the natural light in an interesting manner. Another breathtaking feature of the structure is its floor-to-ceiling open core capped by a skylight. The building?s magnificent design has won several awards.
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