MESDA Saturday Seminar

Rifle Makers of Kentucky, Georgia, and North Carolina


News media contact
Steve Bumgarner
336.722.9660 or

On Saturday, September 17, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) invites you to a Saturday Seminar highlighting southern longrifles. Entitled “Southern Longrifles: Rifle Makers of Kentucky, Georgia, and North Carolina,” the seminar will run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Gray Auditorium, Old Salem Visitor Center, 900 Old Salem Road, Winston Salem, North Carolina.

This seminar will provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to personally examine some of the most important early rifles ever made in the South. It will feature three prominent experts in the field of southern longrifle studies. Mel Hankla, American Historic Services, Jamestown, Kentucky, will present a lecture entitled “Up the Valley and Thru the Gap: Following the Migration of Kentucky Rifle Smiths.” C. Michael Briggs, author and independent scholar, Greensboro, North Carolina, will present two talks: “Longrifle Makers of Rowan County, North Carolina” and “Longrifle Makers of Mecklenberg County, North Carolina.” Wayne Elliott, author and independent scholar, Blue Ridge, Georgia will talk about “Early 19th-Century Master Gunsmiths of Georgia: Wiley Higgins and Richard Allen.”

The day-long program also will include an exhibit of longrifles provided by the three speakers and related to their lecture topics.

MESDA’s Saturday Seminar series is comprised of one-day seminars designed for those interested in the study and collection of Southern decorative arts. Each seminar focuses on a particular area of interest and includes speaker presentations, object examination, and collection study, in addition to time for interaction and discussion. The seminars present new insights into southern decorative arts and allow participants to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the antique objects they collect and study, and build relationships in the field of collecting and scholarship.

Registration for Southern Longrifles: Rifle Makers of Kentucky, Georgia, and North Carolina is $95 ($90 for Friends of MESDA or Old Salem). Cost includes all sessions, seminar materials, and lunch. Space is limited.  Pre-registration is required to ensure a place. The deadline for registration is September 8, 2016. Registration is also available online at

For more information, call 336-721-7369, or email


The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) is the preeminent center for researching, collecting, and exhibiting decorative arts made and used by those living and working in the early South. MESDA is one of three museums at Old Salem Museums & Gardens.  The web site address is

About Old Salem

Old Salem Museums & Gardens is one of America’s most authentic history attractions. Its museums—the Historic Town of Salem, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), and the Gardens at Old Salem—engage visitors in an educational and memorable historical experience about those who lived and worked in the early South. Old Salem Museums & Gardens is located at 600 South Main Street in Winston-Salem. For more information call 336-721-7300 or visit