“Frank’s vision of the Eastern Shore” by Stewart Butler
As a student at Salem College, I had the privilege of briefly coming to MESDA in the mid 1970s for a research tutorial with Frank Horton. I found him to be charming, humble, intelligent, and most of all passionate about his collection which had been the genesis of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.
His hands-on approach to collecting and to research was defining and made an indelible mark on my 20 year-old self. A few years later, when my husband’s family supported the gift of restoration for Cherry Grove Parlor, I was once again at MESDA celebrating Frank’s vision of Eastern Shore architecture in a space that was filled with 18th century period furniture, paintings, and other objects. That evening was memorable as well, particularly as I recall the beautiful reception was by candlelight!
30 years later, as I find myself about to celebrate my fifth year working for MESDA, I recognize that Frank’s presence as historian, collector, researcher and teacher lingers in this Museum as a beloved figure that guides the guides, inspires the staff, and always impresses our guests with a legacy that is unforgettable to all that knew, loved, respected, and admired this icon of southern culture.
Happy Birthday Frank!
Stewart Butler, North Carolina