A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty


Zac Zetterberg, Age 39

Curator of Art, Folk Art and the Center for American Decoys, Peoria Riverfront Museum

Zac Zetterberg

“Zac has been an exemplary community leader by elevating the cultural significance of the Peoria region through his curatorial work at Peoria Riverfront Museum. His expertise in the realm of art and folk art is unparalleled in the museum world,” said his nominator.
“Zac has also helped put Peoria on the world map of waterfowl decoys … educating the public on the convergence of art, science and history of this craft. 

“In 2019, Zac curated what has been hailed as the greatest decoy exhibition in history, ‘American Decoy.’ … Since that heralded exhibition, Zac has been recognized in periodicals and publications which examine the worlds of decoy carving and collecting.”

Most recently, Zetterberg has worked to form a Peoria relationship with the ancestral Peoria Tribe, which is now headquartered in Miami, Oklahoma.

Outside of work, Zetterberg is an accomplished artist/painter and folk musician.


Advice for 20-year-old self: “Strive for excellence in everything you do.”

Hobbies: “Playing banjo and making art.”

Unknown to colleagues: “I studied Indian classical music on the sitar in India for several months.”

Bucket list priority: “Travel Europe by train with my wife and three children.”

Best advice: “Find a way to turn your hobby into your profession.”

Biggest challenge: “Public speaking.”

Book recommendation:American Decoy: The Invention.”

Leadership definition: “A great leader leads by example.”

Local inspiration: “Jerry Milam, founder of Golden Voice Recording Studio.”

Peoria needs: “One of the 11 Lovelock Decoys. These decoys were made by indigenous people over 2,000 years ago and still exist today in the Collection of the Smithsonian.”