Saturday, January 28, 2012

Material Culture and Decorative Arts of the Southern Backcountry

2012 MESDA Summer Institute
Material Culture and Decorative Arts of the Southern Backcountry
June 25-July 20, 2012

Winston-Salem, NC (January 11, 2012) — The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) and The University of Virginia (UVA) announce the 2012 MESDA Summer Institute in Southern Material Culture and Decorative Arts. The 2012 Summer Institute will take place June 25 – July 20, 2012 at MESDA, which is located in Old Salem Museums & Gardens at the Frank L. Horton Museum Center, 924 South Main Street in Winston-Salem, N.C. The deadline for applications for the Summer Institute is April 20, 2012.

The 2012 Institute will emphasize the material culture of the early southern Backcountry, including Tennessee, Kentucky, and the piedmont and western regions of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Students will study the region’s economic, social and cultural history through a multidisciplinary approach that includes current methods of research, interpretation, preservation, and analysis of material culture. The 2012 Institute’s month-long curriculum includes lectures, discussions, workshops, artifact studies, research projects, and a five-day study trip to Tennessee.

The UVA Resident Scholar for the 2012 Summer Institute is Dr. Carroll Van West, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University. In addition to Dr. West, the faculty is composed of members of the staffs of MESDA and Old Salem Museums & Gardens, UVA, and several guest lecturers.

The MESDA Summer Institute provides participants the opportunity to analyze and investigate the material culture and decorative arts of the early South. Each summer the institute focuses on one region of the early South, rotating its concentration from the Chesapeake to the Carolina Low Country to the southern Backcountry.

Three hours of graduate credit are awarded through UVA’s Graduate Program in the History of Art and Architecture.

Graduate students in the fields of American studies, material culture, decorative arts and museum studies, historic preservation, architectural history, public history, and professionals in the museum, education, or related fields are encouraged to apply.

For information or an application form contact Sally Gant, Director of Education, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts by emailing her at or calling 336-721-7361. Information is also available at

The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) is the preeminent center for researching, collecting, and exhibiting decorative arts made and used by those living and working in the early South. MESDA is one of three museums at Old Salem Museums & Gardens. The Web site address is

About Old Salem
Old Salem Museums & Gardens is one of America’s most comprehensive history attractions. Its museums—the Historic Town of Salem and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), along with award-winning heirloom gardens—engage visitors in an educational and memorable historical experience about those who lived and worked in the early South. Old Salem Museums & Gardens is located at 600 South Main Street in Winston-Salem. For more information call 336-721-7300 or visit

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