Winston-Salem, NC – The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) at Old Salem Museums & Gardens will launch the MESDA Summer Scholars Series, an online Southern decorative arts boot camp for lifelong learners, on July 5, 2020.

“When we had to postpone the 2020 MESDA Summer Institute because of COVID-19, we decided to seize the opportunity to do something different,” said Daniel Ackermann, Interim Chief Curator and Director of Collections. “Whether you are new to the world of antiques, are a seasoned collector, or just love southern history, this program is for you!”

The first week will provide an overview of Southern decorative arts and how MESDA curators assess and research objects (July 5 and 9 @ 7:30PM EST). The following three weeks will focus on the three major Southern regions: the Chesapeake (July 12 and 16 @ 7:30PM EST), the Lowcountry (July 19 and 23 @ 7:30PM EST), and the Backcountry (July 26 and 30 @ 7:30PM EST). Each week includes two live, interactive, curator-led presentations, supplemental readings, and exclusive access to an additional vintage lectures by southern decorative arts luminaries drawn from MESDA’s archives. “We’ve been teaching about southern decorative arts for over half a century,” said Ackermann. “We’ve gone through our archives to find some of the best lectures ever given at MESDA.”

The MESDA Summer Scholars Series will be broadcast live using the CrowdCast platform. Tuition for each week is $50 and includes access to all that week’s live and supplemental content. Members at any level can register for all four weeks for a special discounted price of $175. Space is limited to allow for audience participation, questions, and conversation. Register at

“The MESDA Summer Scholars Series is an important part of our mission to present an authentic, engaging, and entertaining view of the rich cultural history of early Southern life,” said Frank Vagnone, President of Old Salem Museums & Gardens. “It is a great example of our commitment to research and teaching at all levels.”

The MESDA Summer Scholars Series is part of Old Salem and MESDA’s Study South initiative, a period of online and onsite study, research, and experimentation. The Study South initiative will run from June through December of 2020. During this period, Old Salem and MESDA will offer several innovative programs, including the Salem Pathways choose-your-own-adventure experience, the Salem Presents online lecture series, K-12 online and in-classroom outreach, and new digital content about the history of the American South. In addition to online programs, the Museums’ research centers, library, collections, gardens, and labs will be open by appointment to scholars, researchers, and any other members of the public who wish to intensively study the history of the American South.

To learn more about The MESDA Summer Scholars Series and our other Study South programs, visit Old Salem’s website,, or visit Old Salem and MESDA on social media at @OldSalemInc and @MESDAgram.

About Old Salem

Voted the 2019 #1 Tourist Attraction in North Carolina (AAA), Old Salem Museums & Gardens is a unique living history site with a tactile-driven, immersive visitor experience. Its museums—the Historic Town of Salem, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), and the Gardens at Old Salem—are quickly becoming nationally known for innovative and novel interpretive models and programs. Old Salem Museums & Gardens is located at 600 South Main Street in Winston-Salem. For more information call 336-721-7300 or visit