Folk Art

Much of the museum's folk art collection is made up of miniatures.

The Mervis Collection of Carved Miniature Horses and Vehicles was donated as early as 1978 by Sears, Roebuck & Company. This complete collection includes 370 hand-carved horses and vehicles.  The collection originally belonged to Meyer B. Mervis, an Arabian horse breeder from Illinois, and later to collector Ken Idle before Sears’ acquisition in 1970. In 1984, Sears donated an additional 70 pieces, bringing the collection to 440 pieces. Several artists contributed to this marvelous collection. Chicagoan Peter Giba, whose work was first discovered in a pawn shop, carved 400 horses for the Mervis Collection. Calvin Roy Kinstler carved with intricate detail, and provided an outstanding eight–horse hitch Clydesdale team, duplicating the Hawthorn-Melody Show Hitch of 1890. Peter Winton, retired English coachmaker to the Royal House of Windsor, made the most accurate vehicle reproductions in the collection.  Charles Deck carved most of the people, and was the harness maker for the vehicles. 

The Francis Eustis Draft Horse Collection contains pieces made by Francis Eustis, a nationally acclaimed artist from Cincinnati, Ohio with a passion for horses and in particular, draft horses. Over four decades he sculpted and painted hundreds of resin horses many of which were donated to the Museum. In addition, he assembled one of finest collections of English horse brasses and other harness decorations in the country. These were also donated to the Museum.