edenton_parlor_aThe Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) is the preeminent center for the research and study of Southern decorative arts and material culture.  MESDA is home to the most comprehensive collection of southern decorative arts and related research resources in the country. The museum is internationally recognized for its contributions to the study and understanding of the history, decorative arts, and material culture of the American South.

MESDA is part of Old Salem Museums & Gardens, a unique living history site that shares the rich, authentic, and diverse cultural history of the early South—with special emphasis on the Moravians in North Carolina, enslaved and free people of African descent, and indigenous peoples of the Southern Woodlands—through the preservation and interpretation of material culture, architecture, and cultural landscapes. 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.