Failey Grant Awarded to American Swedish Historical Museum

The Failey Grant program provides support for noteworthy research, exhibition, publication, and conservation projects through the Dean F. Failey Fund, named in honor of the Trust’s late Governor. Preference is given to projects that employ or are led by young professionals in the museum field. The Committee is pleased to announce that the level of funding for 2020 was increased to $10,000.

Dean F. Failey and Marie Failey
Dean F. Failey and Marie Failey

The Decorative Arts Trust has named the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia, PA, as the recipient of the 2020 Failey Grant. In 2021, the American Swedish Historical Museum will mount the exhibition American by Craft: The Art Furniture of Olaf Althin, which presents the career of a largely forgotten immigrant cabinetmaker. 

Working in Boston at the turn of the 20th century, Althin was an influential figure in the nascent American antiques trade. Curator Trevor Brandt is serving as project lead, assisted by Erica Lome, a doctoral candidate in the American Civilization Program at the University of Delaware and a past recipient of a Summer Research Grant from the Trust. 

Lome learned of Althin’s impressive career during her dissertation research, and the curatorial team has reconstructed his story while locating furniture made by him and tools, papers, photographs, and drawings to contextualize his oeuvre. His impressive list of patrons included H. Eugene Bolles, Henry Davis Sleeper, and John Wanamaker. The ASHM’s show will juxtapose Althin’s Scandinavian craft background against the American Arts & Crafts and Colonial Revival movements. The Decorative Arts Trust is excited to be a part of this inspiring exhibit. 

The Failey Grant is part of the Decorative Arts Trust’s Emerging Scholars Program, which supports a robust system of grants, scholarships, lectures, and internships.  Thank you to all of the members and donors who support our mission to encourage the next generation of museum curators and decorative arts historians.  

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