Applying to the 2024 MESDA Summer Institute

The MESDA Summer Institute is a highly competitive program. Each summer we accept about eight fully-funded fellows to participate. The strongest candidates are those who can demonstrate deep intellectual curiosity about southern decorative arts and can clearly articulate how the MESDA Summer Institute will help them achieve their educational and professional goals. Applications are due by March 1, 2024. Summer Institute finalists will be notified by March 21, 2024. Final decisions on the MESDA Summer Institute class of 2024 are expected by April 1, 2024.

The information on this page is meant to help you as you navigate the MESDA Summer Institute application process.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Director of the MESDA Summer Institute, Dr. Daniel Ackermann at [email protected]

Please follow this link to the application.

Essay Questions

To get to know you better we ask applicants to respond briefly to two essay prompts:

1) How will the MESDA Summer Institute help you to achieve your educational or professional goals? (500 words max)

2) Please visit the MESDA Collection Catalog at Choose an object from our collection that you find particularly intriguing and tell us why. (300 words max)

3) For those who have previously attended the MESDA Summer Institute: What do you hope to gain by doing this year’s Summer Institute focused on the Inland South and the Great Wagon Road?

You will enter your responses into the fields provided on the application. Therefore, you may find it easiest to write your essays in a word processor and copy them into the final application.

A Short Sample of Your Work

This can be drawn from previous relevant academic coursework (an excerpt from a term paper, thesis, or dissertation, etc.) or from your professional work (an excerpt from an article, exhibit text, conservation report, appraisal, portfolio, etc.). It should demonstrate your ability to think critically and to clearly articulate your ideas about objects in your professional or academic work.  This sample should be no more than 10 pages in length.

Please follow this link to the application.

Letters of Recommendation

For students who have not attended the Institute previously we require two professional or academic letters of reference.  These letters should address your qualifications and your ability to contribute to the course. These letters should be submitted directly to MESDA.  Letters can be sent by mail to:

MESDA Summer Institute Admissions
Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts
924 South Main Street
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27101

Or via email: [email protected]


Finalists will be notified by March 15, 2024. Interviews with the admissions committee will be conducted via MS Teams at a mutually agreeable time.

We encourage applicants to seek out professional development funding from their programs and institutions; however, we are committed to meeting 100% of the program cost.