header Imageheader Imageheader Image


Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts


Visit the MESDA website to learn more about the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.


The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, called MESDA for short, opened in 1965. It grew from the vision of Frank L. Horton and his mother, Theo Taliaferro, who saw a need to preserve, document, exhibit, and interpret the decorative arts of the early South. MESDA offers visitors a wide range of southern artistry and craftsmanship from the 1670s through the early nineteenth century. Then as now, a rich cultural diversity characterized southern lifestyles and material culture. From fine art to folk art and including furniture, paintings, ceramics, textiles, and metalwork, MESDA’s twelve gallery rooms exhibit decorative arts objects from the three regions of the early South: the Chesapeake, the Low Country and the Backcountry and include objects from North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. The 45-minute tours take visitors through a thematic, intimate experience and explore Southern people and Southern places through the decorative arts. The tours are led every hour on the hour with the first tour beginning at 10:00 am and the last tour leaving at 4:00 pm.

MESDA Journal
MESDA Journal

MESDA Events
MESDA Events

Visitor Center:

900 Old Salem Road

Mailing Address:

600 South Main St.

Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Phone: 336-721-7300

Contact Us

E-Newsletter Signup


  • facebook   twitter   youtube
  • flickr   pinterest   Old Salem Museums & Gardens


Buy a Ticket

become a member of old salem

become a member