Museum of International Folk Art

Former MOIFA Director & Guest Curator receive prestigious Michael M. Ames Award for Innovative Museum Anthropology

August 29, 2018


(Santa Fe, New Mexico) – Former Museum of International Folk Art Director Dr. Marsha Bol and guest curator Dr. Suzanne Seriff are the 2018 recipients of the Michael M. Ames Award for innovative Museum Anthropology for the work from 2010-2017 in the founding and developing of the Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn Gallery of Conscience at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, and for collaborative projects, exhibitions, and documentation created through the Gallery of Conscience.

Since 2010, MOIFA”s West Bartlett gallery has been home to the Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn Gallery of Conscience, one of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. This gallery is devoted to the the examination of issues that folk artists face in their daily lives today and respond to in their arts. The Gallery of Conscience is an experimental space where the public is invited to help shape the content and form of the exhibition through interactive elements and facilitated dialogues. Each exhibition changes throughout its life in response to visitor feedback and community.

The Council for Museum Anthropology (CMA), a section of the American Anthropology Association, recognizes innovation and influential contributions to the field of museum anthropology.  Earlier this month the CMA announced the winning recipients of the Michael M. Ames Award for Innovative Museum Anthropology.  This award will be given to Dr. Bol and Dr. Seriff in San Jose at the November annual meeting of the American Anthropology Association.

As the museum’s director from 2009-2015, Dr. Bol’s vision was instrumental in creating the Gallery of Conscience and supporting its projects and evolution until her retirement. Dr. Seriff first guest-curated, then directed the Gallery of Conscience during this time. Their work with the Gallery of Conscience embodies the kind of creative, timely, deeply engaged, and significant projects and interventions that the Michael M. Ames Award was created to recognize.

Dr. Bol and Dr. Seriff worked to develop the Gallery of Conscience as an experimental exhibition lab designed to spark dialogue, engage communities and catalyze action around human rights and social justice issues of our time through the words and works of contemporary international folk artists.

“This is a significant award, bringing highly respected and credible recognition for the Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn Gallery of Conscience at the Museum of International Folk Art,” said Khristaan Villela, Director of MOIFA. “On behalf of the Museum, our staff, and the entire Department of Cultural Affairs, we congratulate Dr. Marsha Bol and Dr. Suzanne Seriff for this prestigious award that brings much deserved recognition to this poignant, timely and thought—provoking exhibition.”

The next iteration of the Gallery of Conscience experiments with community curation, filling the gallery with video, stories, and artworks as created and told by museum program participants over the course of the spring and summer of 2018. The installation will highlight collaborative projects between local artists and artists from Peru who are visiting the museum in conjunction with the exhibition Crafting Memory: The Art of Community in Peru. Collaboration examples include: sculptors Nora Naranjo Morse and Aymar Ccopacatty; Tewa Women United and the National Association of the Abducted, Detained and Disappeared of Peru; and Amapolay with a group of local print makers. All of the projects explore the importance of cultural traditions in confronting contemporary social and environmental issues.


About the Museum of International Folk Art:

Founded in 1953 by Florence Dibell Bartlett, the Museum of International Folk Art’s mission is to foster understanding of the traditional arts to illuminate human creativity and shape a humane world. The museum holds the world’s largest international folk art collection of more than 150,000 objects from six continents and over 150 nations, representing a broad range of global artists whose artistic expressions make Santa Fe an international crossroads of culture. For many visitors, fascination with folk art begins upon seeing the whimsical toys and traditional objects within the Girard Collection. For others, the international textiles, ceramics, carvings and other cultural treasures in the Neutrogena Collection provide the allure.  The museum’s historic and contemporary Latino and Hispano folk art collections, spanning the Spanish Colonial period to modern-day New Mexico, reflect how artists respond to their time and place in ways both delightful and sobering. In 2010, the museum opened the Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn Gallery of Conscience, where exhibitions encourage visitors to exchange ideas on complex issues of human rights and social justice. A division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. 706 Camino Lejo, on Museum Hill in Santa Fe, NM 87505. (505) 476-1200. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily, May through October; closed Mondays November through April, closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Events, news releases and images about activities at the Museum of International Folk Art and other divisions in the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at

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