Winter Fair Walking Tour: Secret Spaces at Dr.'s House

Thursday, December 26, 2019 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM











Join the special behind-the-scenes exploration of parts rarely experienced in Old Salem.  The Dr’s House has long been known to have one of the most intact cellars and attic spaces of the period.  Make sure you wear your walking shoes and prepare to get a tad bit dusty as we open the doors to the cellar and the attic of one of the largest homes in the town of Salem.

Tour will begin at the Dr’s House, located at the intersection of Church Street and Bank Street in Old Salem.





Extensive stairs; uneven walkways, stone paths, steep attic climbing.


The Doctor’s House, 463 Church Street

Constructed 1802; restored 1980 and 2017

Built-in 1802 by Dr. Samuel Benjamin Vierling for his burgeoning family and flourishing medical practice, the Doctor’s House served as a residence for the Vierlings and then a succession of families until it was vacated in the 1970s. Old Salem Museums & Gardens restored and opened the house as an interpreted building in 1980, and an exhibition about medicine, surgery, and health in early Salem was added in 1984.

In April 2017, Old Salem Museums & Gardens re-opened the restored Doctor’s House with a new exhibition entitled “The Moravian Way of Health and Healing.” This unique exhibition shows, for the first time, the Moravians’ holistic approach to health and healing—a physical, spiritual, and psychological system that developed over time and was unequaled in America in the late 1700s and the early 1800s.  This exhibition is designed to engage the senses. Through an interactive digital game table about medicinal herbs, tactile models of surgeries, a video of the night watchman making his rounds, a music interactive, and surgical and medical tools from Old Salem’s Moravian collection, visitors can explore the ways that early Moravians provided health care, not only to Salem residents but also to non-Moravians in the North Carolina backcountry.  The first floor focuses on Dr. Vierling, his large family, and his successful Apothecary Shop.

“The Moravian Way of Health and Healing” exhibition has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.