Old Salem Museums & Gardens Receives $360,000 NEH Grant

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                      News media contact
Scott Carpenter
336.722.9660 or scott@capturevalue.com

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (MARCH 24, 2016) – Old Salem Museums & Gardens has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant in the amount of $360,000 for a new exhibition, The Moravian Way of Health and Healing, to be located in the Dr. Samuel Benjamin Vierling House, which will be re-named the Doctor’s House. Of that amount, $300,000 is for new educational programming, exhibition development, and implementation, and $60,000 is to support a two-year position, Coordinator for Medicine and Science Programs. This humanities position will be responsible for developing and implementing guided group tours, lectures and programs, school curriculum materials, and a strong website presence to complement the exhibition and costumed interpretation within the Doctor’s House.

Old Salem’s grant was one of 248 humanities projects funded by the NEH for a total of $21.1 million. Old Salem received the fourth largest grant in the NEH funding category of museums, libraries, and cultural organizations.

“NEH provides support for projects across America that preserve our heritage, promote scholarly discoveries, and make the best of America’s humanities ideas available to all Americans,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “We are proud to announce this latest group of grantees who, through their projects and research, will bring valuable lessons of history and culture to Americans.”

“We are thrilled to have received this grant from the NEH,” said Ragan Folan, President and CEO of Old Salem Museums & Gardens. “It will provide significant funds to help us realize our vision for the Doctor’s House, which will become a dynamic center where medicine and the humanities are examined and celebrated.”

The Doctor’s House project is part of “On Common Ground,” a comprehensive capital campaign to revitalize and re-imagine the potential of Old Salem Museums & Gardens, including the Town of Salem, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), and the Gardens at Old Salem. The overall campaign goal is $17.66 million (a nod to the fact that Salem was founded in 1766). The Doctor’s House capital project goal is $1.21 million dollars. The NEH grant brings the total raised to date for the Doctor’s House capital project to $910,000.

The Doctor’s House will be the only exhibition in the United States or abroad that will explain the Moravian approach to medicine, health care, and the humanities. Moravians differed from others in the American colonies in their use of a highly organized health care system that reached across all stages of life. They established a holistic approach for health and spiritual care from birth to death. It is a complex and little-known story that will be told insightfully and creatively.

Dr. Samuel Benjamin Vierling, a skilled physician, surgeon, dentist, pharmacist, and veterinarian built a house in Salem in 1802 to accommodate his large family and a thriving medical practice. The house has been an exhibit at Old Salem for a number of years where the focus was on Dr. Vierling. The new exhibition will greatly expand the story to include the medical practice and unique Moravian system of health care from the earliest days at Bethabara to the mid-19th century in Salem. In addition to exhibiting important artifacts and medical instruments from the Old Salem collection, the exhibit will include interactive digital technologies and touchable models that will create a vibrant 21st century experience for visitors.

The Doctor’s House is anticipated to reopen in late 2016 as part of the 250th anniversary celebration of the founding of the town of Salem.


 About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: neh.gov.

About Old Salem

Old Salem Museums & Gardens is one of America’s most comprehensive 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 oldsalem.org.