The MESDA Conference is the only major forum for scholarly presentation and interaction on American material culture and decorative arts with specific emphasis on the South. This important three-day conference includes a keynote address by noted decorative arts scholar and author Betsy K. White, a day of East Tennessee “Rambles”, and a full day of lectures focused on new discoveries in Southern decorative arts with specific focus on the material culture of Tennessee, Kentucky and the Great Road.
The conference opens with a reception and keynote lecture at 5:30 p.m. on October 25. The following day includes a series of “Tennessee Rambles” that explore the decorative arts collections, architecture, and landscape of East Tennessee. Each ramble is led by regional hosts and members of the MESDA and Old Salem Staff.
The Gordon Seminar, held on October 27, will cover various topics of American material culture including: Germanic Earthenware Traditions, Southern Agricultural Coin Silver, Tennessee’s Earliest Cabinetmaker, and Plantation Community Cemeteries. The moderator for the day will be author and Independent Scholar Robert Hicks of Franklin, Tennessee.
Conference speakers and presenters include: author Betsy K. White; Cherel Henderson, Director, East Tennessee Historical Society; Robert Leath, Chief Curator, Old Salem Museums & Gardens; Johanna M. Brown, Director of Collections, Curator of Moravian Decorative Arts, Old Salem; Robert Hicks; Abby J. Naunheimer, Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Henry Brockman, Independent Scholar, Franklin, Tennessee; Janet Hasson and Jennifer Core, Tennessee Sampler Survey, Nashville, Tennessee; Stacey Graham, Center for Historic Preservation, Middle Tennessee State University; Rick Warwick, Historian, Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County; Daniel K. Ackermann, Associate Curator, MESDA; and C. Tracey Parks, Independent Scholar, Lebanon, Tennessee.
Conference registration, which includes Thursday’s keynote lecture and reception, the Saturday Gordon Seminar, and the lunch on Saturday, is $145 ($130 for Friends of MESDA, Old Salem, and the Tennessee Historical Society), $50 for students. Conference Dinner aboard the Volunteer Princess on Friday Evening is $50, $35 for students. Rambles in East Tennessee include transportation, admissions, and lunch for $85. Space for the conference is limited. Pre-registration is required to ensure a place.
To register or learn more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 336-721-7360. For conference details visit www.mesda.org/conference.
About the East Tennessee Historical Society
Since 1834, the East Tennessee Historical Society has been recording the events, collecting the artifacts, and saving the stories that comprise the history of East Tennessee. Headquartered in the East Tennessee History Center in downtown Knoxville, ETHS operates the award-winning Museum of East Tennessee History, featuring the signature exhibition, Voices of the Land: The People of East Tennessee and changing feature exhibitions that explore a variety of subjects. Also housed in the East Tennessee History Center is the McClung Historical Collection, one of the premier research collections in the Southeast. http://www.easttnhistory.org.
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 www.MESDA.org.
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 www.oldsalem.org.