THINGS: A Global Conversation

THINGS: A Global Conversation is an online program that features curators, makers, and other experts from around the world in conversation with people and objects from the Old Salem and MESDA collection. You’re invited to join the conversation via Zoom. Our things may be old, but the lessons we can learn from them are as contemporary and relevant as ever!
Can’t attend in person?  Watch or listen to an edited version of THINGS: A Global Conversation through our social media channels or with your favorite podcasting app!

THINGS: A Global Conversation About Sustainability
October 21, 2020 @ 12:00pm EDT / 16:00 GMT

Tickets are FREE with a donation in any amount!*

Tara Logue
Education Coordinator and Potter
Old Salem Museums & Gardens
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America

Jessica Steinhäuser
Ceramic Artist and Kachelöfen Innovator
Stone House Kachelöfen
Guelph, Ontario, Canada

What can ancient ceramic technology teach us about keeping our homes warm and our globe cool?  In 18th-century Salem, many people relied on ceramic stoves to efficiently heat their houses.  Today, ceramic artist and kachelöfen innovator Jessica Steinhäuser crafts new examples that efficiently, sustainably, and beautifully heat modern spaces.  Jessica and Tara will explore the connections between recently conserved and rebuilt ceramic stoves made in Salem, North Carolina more than 200 years ago and contemporary Kachelöfen from Jessica’s studio in Canada.  Together, they will discuss why breathing new life into this old technology could be good for the environment and for the soul.

THINGS: A Global Conversation About Immigration
October 28, 2020 @ 12:00pm EDT / 16:00 GMT

Tickets are FREE with a donation in any amount!*

Daniel Ackermann
Interim Chief Curator
Old Salem Museums & Gardens
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America

Stephen Jackson
Curator of Decorative Arts
National Museum of Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

If you had to leave your homeland, what would you bring with you?  What would you be able to bring?  What would you be allowed to bring?  And what would your choices say about your reasons for going, your hopes for the future, and your connection to those you left behind?  John Roy Mackay carried the chanter from his grandfather’s set of bagpipes with him when he emigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1805.  Twenty-one year old Robert Walker, a Scottish cabinetmaker, chose to bring his copy of Thomas Sheraton’s Cabinet-maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book.  Join Daniel Ackermann and Stephen Jackson as they discuss immigration through the lens of two objects that made the journey from Scotland to North America.

THINGS: A Global Conversation About Globalization
November 4, 2020 @ 7:30pm EDT / 00:30 GMT

Tickets are FREE with a donation in any amount!*

Gary Albert
Director of MESDA Research & Adjunct Curator of Silver and Metals
Old Salem Museums & Gardens and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America

Dennis Carr
Chief Curator of American Art
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens
San Marino, California, United States of America

In 1545, over half a century before Jamestown and Plymouth, the Spanish discovered vast silver deposits at Potosi in the Andes Mountains. Potosi’s silver was mined by Indigenous peoples and African slaves and fueled trade, conflict, and cultural confluence at a truly global scale with tragic environmental and human costs. Silver flowed west to Europe where it financed the armies and navies of empire as well as into the shops of silversmiths were it was wrought into newly fashionable forms that were filled with tea, coffee, chocolate, and sugar from Asia, Africa, and the Americas. It has been estimated that silver from Potosi was used to make 90 percent of the world’s silver objects during the eighteenth century, such as MESDA’s coffeepot marked by Alexander Petrie. The silver from Potosi was also sent east to Asia in exchanged for silk, tea, spices, ceramics, and other exotic luxury goods. These Asian objects profoundly influenced the decorative vocabularies of Europe and the Americas in objects such as a Peruvian textile, likely woven by an Indigenous weaver, with motifs inspired by Chinese silks. Join Gary Albert and Dennis Carr for a conversation about trade and globalization 500-years in the making.

THINGS: A Global Conversation About Preservation, Trauma, and Memory
November 11, 2020 @ 12:00pm EDT / 17:00 GMT

Tickets are FREE with a donation in any amount!*

Frank Vagnone
Old Salem Museums & Gardens
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America

Nelly Abboud
MuseoLab Lebanon
Beirut, Lebanon

Why do we remember and preserve places filled with the memories of trauma?

Beirut’s “Yellow House” sits in the center of the city. During the Lebanese Civil War, the building’s location along the city’s “green line”, as well as its height and open architecture, provided a strategic vantage point for warring factions and their snipers. Badly damaged during the conflict and only recently stabilized and preserved, it evokes memories of the country’s long and bloody civil war.

Like the Yellow House, Salem’s Tavern also sat on a line of demarcation between Moravians and their non-Moravian visitors. Upstairs in the Tavern is a small room that was once home to those who were enslaved there. Unrestored–and until recently, inaccessible to the public–this space has been designated as a room of reflection dedicated to those who were enslaved in Salem.

Join Frank Vagnone and Nelly Abboud for a conversation about these two spaces that are linked by a common bond of memory and trauma. Memories and trauma that some would prefer to forget.


*We know many of our colleagues and friends are feeling the financial strain of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Therefore, we are asking you to pay what you wish to help us keep these informative conversations going. If you can’t make a donation right now, that’s OK too. Click HERE to request a ticket without a donation the week before each program.