Blue wagon tipped over in front of log house. The Old Salem Museum & Gardens logo floats on the left side.

Old Salem Museum & Gardens and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) welcomes visitors to take non-flash photography during their visit of the museum buildings and historic district streetscape! To protect the quality experience for our ticketed guests, Old Salem’s staff may need to restrict the time, manner, and location of commercial photography on Museum property at any time without advanced notice.

Commercial Photography Permits

Old Salem Museum & Gardens charges professional photographers a $50 permit per 90-minute session. In order to obtain a permit, please complete the following steps.

  1. Review the entire Photography Policy below. Violation of the policy may result in fines from the City of Winston-Salem and/or misdemeanor arrest.
  2. Purchase the permit on the button on the end of the page.
  3. Upon arrival for the photoshoot, bring proof of payment and email confirmation (print or digital). Staff monitor the historic district and will ask for your permit.

Permit-holding Photographers must be ready to share space with one another. Photographers who do not pay for a permit do not get priority for location.

Old Salem does not set a schedule for photo shoots. There is no need to email us to request a date and time. The permits are not restricted to a specific date.

Planning for the Best Photo Shoot

Multiple photographers are allowed at the same time because there are so many places to photograph. Please respect one another. Commercial photographers attempting to take photoshoots without a permit will be asked to leave.

Old Salem Museum & Gardens and MESDA will not close Heritage Bridge or ticketed venues to ticketed customers or the general public, or remove signage, during your photography sessions.

Public visitation hours are Wednesday through Saturday 10:00AM to 4:00PM. Many clients highly desire photos at Heritage Bridge, especially during the Holiday season with the beautifully lit stars! That means there is a high influx of visitors during those hours, or shortly after we close. Photographers can expect high volume crossings by visitors on Heritage Bridge between the hours of 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 3:00 – 4:00 PM. Ideal days are Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

Old Salem’s Photography Policy

All Photographers must review the following policy (Updated February 2022).

All photographers must comply with the following rules:

  1. Photographers must respect the rights of private property owners. The Old Salem Historic District is comprised of property owned by Old Salem Museums & Gardens (“Old Salem”), Salem Academy & College, the Moravian Church and its affiliates, the City of Winston-Salem, and private residents. Do not disturb the property of the private residents of Old Salem. Explicit permission is required from the owner to photograph on any private property.
  2. Do not interfere with Museum guests’ experience or access to Museum buildings or grounds. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • blocking Museum building doorways, steps, porches, pathways, or yards with people or equipment
    • monopolizing time at hands-on objects or places, such as the water pumps, preventing our guests from enjoying the experience, or
    • using unusual and/or non-historic props that distract from the ambiance of the Museum
  3. Sidewalks and streets are the property of the City of Winston-Salem Do not obstruct sidewalks or streets. This includes:
    • preventing a pedestrian from traveling along the sidewalk without leaving the sidewalk and walking on adjacent property or onto the street
    • preventing or hindering free passage of pedestrian or vehicle traffic on the sidewalks or streets
    • preventing or hindering free passage of pedestrians crossing the Heritage Bridge, or
    • preventing access to or from any place of business. See City of Winston-Salem Code of Ordinances, Part III, Section 74-17
  4. Do not situate equipment or people in a dangerous manner. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • positioning equipment/people on walls, fences, railings, and roofs (and/or other built features)
    • in trees, bushes, and/or other dangerous landscape features, or
    • in the direct path of vehicular or pedestrian traffic
  5. Do not move or alter Museum grounds or property in any way (fences, benches, signs, ropes, plants, barrels, etc.).
  6. Use of large props for staging photographs, including chairs, benches, stages, backdrops, etc. is strictly prohibited.
  7. Do not enter or situate equipment/people in restricted areas or locked or closed Museum grounds, including Museum gardens.
  8. All pets must be kept on leashes, even during photo shoots.
  9. Museum restrooms (and all other interior Museum facilities) are not available for changing clothes or otherwise; there are no electrical outlets provided.
  10. Photography of people without their permission, especially those under the age of 13, may be regulated by law.

Film and Video Production

Certain Museum premises may be utilized for TV commercials, shows and films. This work must be done outside of Museum operating hours unless explicit permission is given. We review all requests and, before approving them and signing contracts, must weigh the impact of each request on the guests’ experience and our neighbors, the City of Winston-Salem, Salem Academy & College, Home Moravian Church, the Salem Congregation, and residents in the historic district. Location fees are negotiated individually. All commercial film crews must provide all executed contracts and a Certificate of Insurance before filming begins, and we reserve the right to reject any proposals. Location scouts and producers can email Terry Taylor.

Media Photography

Outdoor photography for media purposes is allowed with prior notification and approval from Terry Taylor. To request permission, please email Terry Taylor.

Photography for Personal Use

Outdoor photography for personal use is permitted on Museum grounds during regular museum operating hours by ticketed museum visitors. However, please note: 

  • Use of confetti, flower petals, rice, and similar props are forbidden.
  • Large group photography (family portraits, proms, weddings) for personal use is discouraged during regular Museum operating hours.
  • Do not unlock or unlatch gates or climb over locked fences.
  • Do not move furniture or Museum property (plant material, wood, etc.). Photography for personal use is permitted inside most Museum buildings. However, please note:
  • Flash photography is prohibited inside Museum buildings.
  • Tripods and other photography accessories are not permitted in Museum buildings.
  • Do not videotape Museum costumed staff during their interpretation.

Pay for your photography session:

Old Salem Museum & Gardens Staff Contacts:

For additional information, please contact the Visitor Engagement Manager.  All photographers must read and comply with the following detailed rules and bring a copy of the photography policy with them (digital or print) on location. Violation of the rules may result in fines from the City of Winston-Salem and/or misdemeanor arrest.

Private Large group photography (family portraits, proms, weddings, holiday, etc.) by non-ticketed visitors for personal use is strongly discouraged during regular museum operating hours.

Film and Video Production location scouts and producers must contact Terry Taylor, President.

Media-related Photography  is allowed with prior notification and approval from contact Terry Taylor, President.

Drones are not allowed on any Old Salem Museums & Gardens property (as per FAA laws)