American Heritage

Adolph and Ginger Meyer were significant collectors of Americana, especially the fine, handcrafted furniture and decorative items developed by early Americans. The Meyers appreciated these items because, to them, Americana expressed a sense of artistic freedom and was constructed or created with integrity and individuality.

Over the years, the Americana Foundation has supported organizations and institutions that preserve, protect, and promote expressions of America’s heritage as a bridge to understanding place and identity and as a means of celebrating the craftsmanship and creativity of early American artisans.

Expanding American Heritage Narratives

Our Current Focus

Geographic Focus: Nonprofit organizations from anywhere in the US are eligible to apply.

Our current priority in the American Heritage program area is to support projects and programs across the US that seek to broaden the inclusivity of early American art and the early American historical narrative to “tell the full story of” the American experience. We look to support organizations and projects that elevate those whose perspectives have been traditionally underrepresented, especially people of color, Indigenous people, and women. Furniture acquisitions and building restorations will not be a priority.

Example Projects

  • Interpretation or reinterpretation of art, decorative arts, or other objects of early American material culture (“Americana”) and their placement on public display for the appreciation and understanding of present and future generations.

  • Internships, fellowships, apprenticeships, and other career development opportunities for people interested in the curation, conservation, preservation, or restoration of Americana.

  • Exhibits, visual media, interactive experiences, and other educational programs that contribute to better understanding or “tell the full story” of the American experience.

Endowed Curatorial Fellowship at Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, VA -- the world’s largest US history museum -- has a vast collection of fine, decorative, mechanical, and folk art. The collections include American and British ceramics, glass, furniture, textiles, costumes, tools, firearms, prints, maps, paintings, drawings, and much more from the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries. Objects from the collection are exhibited in the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and in Williamsburg’s historic buildings.

Americana created a curatorial internship at Colonial Williamsburg in 2005 to further the careers of students and young professionals interested in the in-depth study of American furniture, fine art, decorative arts, and traditional crafts. After being fully funded in 2014 with total contributions of $500,000, the endowment has supported ten interns, most of whom pursued curatorial careers after completing the program. Americana interns work with Colonial Williamsburg’s curatorial staff to select a collection or other focus for their curatorial study. Recent interns have focused on collections of 18th century furniture, American and British ceramics, and early American silver.

Read about the most recent Americana Intern at Colonial Williamsburg here.

Find out information about internships and fellowships at Colonial Williamsburg on the Colonial Williamsburg website.

At Americana, we are committed to ensuring that all people see themselves in American art and in the historical narratives interpreted by and represented in museums and other cultural institutions.

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