Special Tours

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Twice a day we offer exclusive white-glove behind-the-scenes tours of MESDA’s iconic study galleries.  These tours with a knowledgeable guide encompass all media and all three Southern regions.  Behind-the-scenes tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. or by advance appointment.  On Sunday behind-the-scenes tours of the study galleries are offered at 2:00 p.m. or by advance appointment. Tours sell out, so reservations are advisable and can be made by calling  by calling 336-721-7369.

Adults • $20
Friends of MESDA • $15
Frank L. Horton Society Members • FREE

White Glove Tour: Southern Crafted

Put on your white gloves and get up close and personal with the centuries old objects at our Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. From dirt to dishes and trees to tables, join us for a behind-the-scenes look at how southern craftsmen (and craftswomen!) turned raw materials into cherished artifacts.  This tour is part of our special Salem Saturdays in Spring and will be offered April 6, 13, 20, and 27 and May 4, 11, 18, and 25 at 11AM.  Tours sell out, so reservations are advisable and can be made online through this link or by calling 336-721-7369.

Adults • $20
Friends of MESDA • $15
Frank L. Horton Society Members • FREE

Two-Hour Behind-the-Scenes Tours

An in-depth white-glove tour of MESDA’s thirty study galleries. This tour examines an even broader range of MESDA’s outstanding collection of early southern furniture, ceramics, silver, paintings, textiles, and other decorative arts, and can be tailored to your unique interests.

This tour is offered with an advance appointment during regular museum hours by calling 336-721-7369 at least one week in advance.

Adults • $40
Friends of MESDA • $35
Frank L. Horton Society Members • FREE

Special Focus Tours

The following one-hour tours are offered during regular museum hours with an advance appointment.  Call 336-721-7369 to schedule your tour.

Adults • $20
Friends of MESDA • $15
Frank L. Horton Society Members • FREE

A Hidden Legacy: The African American Influence in Southern Decorative Arts

As part of Old Salem’s Hidden Town Project we now offer offer a special tour focused on hidden African American stories behind some of MESDA’s most iconic objects.  This tour includes works by North Carolina cabinetmaker Thomas Day; the Edgefield, South Carolina, potter David Drake; and the Baltimore, Maryland, painter Joshua Johnson.

Hidden in Plain Sight: Hidden Compartments at MESDA

Ever wonder what’s behind the closed drawers of our furniture?  This tour takes a close look at the hidden latches and secret compartments in the MESDA collection.

It’s a Woman’s World: Exploring Women’s Lives through the Decorative Arts

Explore the reality of women’s everyday lives through a tour of iconic objects in the MESDA collection, such as a quilt by Peggy Wynans of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina;  a sampler by the young Quaker schoolgirl Ann Ricks of Southampton County, Virginia; and a crock made and signed by the early Shenandoah Valley potter Mary Adams.