MESDA Summer Institute

The Upper Chesapeake

June 19–July 16, 2016

The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts encourages graduate students, decorative arts professionals, and independent scholars to explore southern history and material culture at the 2016 Summer Institute, “The Upper Chesapeake.”

About the 2016 Summer Institute

The 2016 Institute emphasizes the early material culture of the Upper Chesapeake. Students will study the region's economic, social, and cultural history through a multidisciplinary approach. Studens will learn current methods of research, interpretation, preservation, and analysis of material culture. The program's month-long curriculum includes lectures, discussions, workshops, artifact studies, research projects, and an intensive study trip to the Upper Chesapeake, including the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, Annapolis, Baltimore, and Williamsburg.

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

Click here to download a PDF with more information about the 2016 Summer Institute.

The Visiting Scholar

Carroll Van West, Director of the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University, has published widely on Tennessee history and material culture, with a special focus on analyzing rural landscapes through the prism of race, class, and gender. His most recent scholarship addresses the historical and cultural significance of rural African-American cemeteries.

Students also collaborate with curators and historians from MESDA and Old Salem Museums & Gardens as well as guest lecturers.

Costs and Housing

Tuition for the 2016 Summer Institute is $3,800.00*. Partial tuition fellowships are available. Students are responsible for housing and some meal expenses. Dormitory accomodation is available on the campus of Salem College, near the Institute at MESDA. Double occupancy rooms are $455.00* for the four weeks (single supplement: $140.00*). The cost for hotel accomodations on the seven-day study trip is included with tuition (single room supplement for the study trip is $375.00*).
* All costs are subject to change.


Graduate students in the fields of American history, material culture, museum studies, historic preservation, and related fields, and professionals in the museum, education, or related fields are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is March 11, 2016.
Click here to download an application form as a Word document.

For further information contact April Strader Bullin, Director of MESDA Education and Special Programs (astraderbullin@oldsalem.org or call 336-721-7374).

About the MESDA Summer Institute

Since the 1970s, the MESDA Summer Institute has provided graduate students, museum professionals, and independent scholars with an in-depth, practice-based education in the decorative arts and material culture of the early American South. The focus of the MESDA Summer Institute rotates between the three regions of the MESDA South: the Chesapeake (in 2016), the Backcountry (next in 2017), and the Lowcountry (next in 2018).

Support the MESDA Summer Institute

The Frank L. Horton Fellowship Fund provides critical support to MESDA's Summer Institute for Early Southern Decorative Arts and Material Culture. Please click here to contribute to the Frank L. Horton Fellowship Fund.

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