American Friends of Royal Museums Greenwich loses a great friend and Director

It is with much sadness that we share the news of the recent passing of Charles Lawson Willard III, following a courageous battle with cancer in June 2018. Lawson became a Director of American Friends of Royal Museums Greenwich in 2011 and his advice, expertise and support has proved invaluable over the last 7 years. Upon retirement from a law career, Lawson lived in Stonington CT, and London, England. Among his favourite pastimes were cruising on his motor yacht ‘Curlew’- crossing to Fishers Island Club for a round of golf, or hosting friends at one of his floating dinner parties. It was his love of the sea and a passion for history that brought Lawson into contact with American Friends of Royal Museums Greenwich. Fellow Director Kevin Fewster noted, “dividing his time between London and Stonington, Lawson proved an ideal AFRMG Director as he was equally familiar with things on both sides of the pond. I’ll always remember Lawson for his wonderful tales of the Royal Navy’s bombarding of Stonington in the War of 1812. I think part of Lawson believed he carried the personal responsibility to rebuild Anglo-American relations following this incident”. Lawson will be sadly missed by Directors, Officers and all those working closely with the Board of the American Friends, who are grateful for his unwavering commitment right up to the last.

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Recent Grants

The board of Directors of AFRMG work closely with the Director and Development Team at RMG in awarding grants to support initiatives such as exhibitions, touring programs, international conferences, lectures, object acquisitions and capital redevelopment projects.

AFRMG raises funds to support the Endeavour Project

AFRMG has committed to an annual grant payment until 2018 in support of the Endeavour Project.

This capital redevelopment project in Greenwich will create four new galleries at the National Maritime Museum on the subjects of Polar Worlds, Tudor and Stuart Seafarers, Pacific Encounters and a collections gallery entitled Sea Things.The Project will increase display space by 40% and will add a further 1,000 artefacts to display, it will also improve circulation around the Museum.

Mark Pigott KBE also supports the Endeavour Project. His generous gift to AFRMG enables the creation of the new Tudor and Stuart Seafarers gallery and an additional learning space at the National Maritime Museum. Dr Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation has made an award to AFRMG to create a bespoke display of three iconic images of Captain Cook in the Pacific Encounters gallery, part of the Endeavour Project.

The four new galleries will open in Fall 2018

Dr Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation grant for the Queen’s House

The Queen’s House was re-opened in the Fall of 2016 following an extensive restoration to mark its 400th anniversary.

A 2017 grant from the Dr Lee MacCormick Edwards Foundation contributed towards a new adult learning program of conferences, ‘meet the experts’ sessions, study days, lectures and evening events bringing together music, dance, royal history, art, design and architecture. Lee MacCormick Edwards was a Patron and donor and a long-standing supporter of the AFRMG.

Other Grants

Also for the Queen’s House, the AFRMG awarded Royal Museums Greenwich a grant towards the acquisition of the portrait ‘Ship of Fools’ by the American artist Kehinde Wiley. Wiley’s work responds to the Old Masters and draws out themes of migration and community - making him a very interesting addition to the Museum’s collections on display in the Queen’s House.

In September 2017 AFRMG made a grant towards the acquisition of a print by the renowned American photographer, Thomas Joshua Cooper. The piece belongs to Cooper’s ongoing series exploring the meridians and resonates with the history of Greenwich. The acquisition is also supported by a grant from the Contemporary Art Society in the UK.

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