"The frame is the reward of the artist.”
- Edgar Degas

The International Institute for Frame Study is the first non-profit organization devoted to the study of frames and their history. Since its creation in 1992 by frame historian and curator William Adair, the Institute has presented one of the most important worldwide collections of archives related to frame history including photographs, books, catalogues, drawings and an important collection of antique frames. The total collection includes more than two thousand items from the sixteenth to twentieth century.

Since 1992, the Institute has collaborated on and contributed to numerous important exhibitions and publications related to frames. Today the Institute continues this mission: to democratize the knowledge of the art of antique frames.

William Adair is proud to announce the donation of his frame collection to the Muscarelle and the creation of the International Institute for Frame Study at the Muscarelle Museum of Art, in connection with the new Muscarelle museum building, to be constructed on the campus of William & Mary college.


“My first introduction to history was in Williamsburg.  Later I found my true calling in the conservation of antique gilded frames and amassed an archive to help gather and impart the knowledge of this art. I founded the International Institute for Frame Studies in 1992 and I am confident that the Muscarelle Museum of Art at The College of William & Mary, a leading research Institution, will continue to grow the archive which I hope will serve as a teaching resource for future generations."
- William Adair


William Adair

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"Behind the Scenes" Snapshots

Shots from Adair's collection, to be housed at the Institute in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The IIFS is coming to
the Muscarelle
Museum of Art

at The College of William & Mary
in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Muscarelle Museum of Art