old salem museums & gardens
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The Historic Town of Salem and The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, along with award-winning heirloom Gardens, invite today’s visitors to experience the complete story of those who
600 South Main Street Winston-Salem, NC 27101 336-721-7350 • oldsalem.org
lived and worked in the early South.
Founded in 1766 by the Moravians, a Protestant faith that began in what is now known as the Czech Republic, the restored town of Salem is a vision of life in a congregational community in the early American South. Costumed tradesmen and women re-create life by producing essential goods like tools, ceramics, furniture, and metals using traditional practices of long ago. The Moravian Church and Salem residents kept meticulous records and accounts of their lives, interactions, buildings, and landscapes, allowing Old Salem Museums & Gardens to restore accurately the remaining original buildings and reconstruct those that are no longer standing. These records, diaries, and accounts also provide the details needed to tell the stories of those who lived and worked in Salem.
The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) at Old Salem Museums & Gardens is the nation’s preeminent center for the exhibition and research of decorative arts made in the early South. Founded in 1965, MESDA contains the finest collection of its kind in the nation, featuring architecture, furniture, ceramics, metalwork, needlework, paintings, prints, and other decorative arts made and used by the early settlers of Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, from the seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. From the first English footsteps at Jamestown to the first shots fired at Fort Sumter - and from the shores of the Atlantic to the banks of the Tennessee - MESDA’s guided tour explores Southern people and Southern places through the decorative arts. The 50-minute tour takes visitors through 12 gallery rooms exhibiting the most important and engaging pieces in our collection. Changing exhibitions take place in the G. Wilson Douglas, Jr. Exhibition Gallery.
The Old Salem Marketplace in the Visitor Center The Old Salem Souvenir Shop in the Visitor Center The Old Salem Candy Shop in the Visitor Center The Frank L. Horton Museum Center Store The A. Butner Hat Shop The Moravian Book and Gift Shop The Old Salem Garden Shop
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Shop for Moravian stars, beeswax candles, and other unique gifts and reproduction items at T. Bagge Merchant.
Purchase tasty cookies, cakes, and breads at Winkler Bakery.
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For group tours, call 1-800-441-5305
Old Salem Museums & Gardens offer a variety of tour options for groups both large and small. Our school groups offer hands-on activities and guided tours led by costumed interpreters that support the Competency Goals and Objectives in the North Carolina Social Studies and Science Curricula. Old Salem also offers many tours designed for adults focusing on historical themes or seasonal traditions.
The St. Philips Heritage Center is the touchstone of the African American experience in Salem. The Center includes the 1861 St. Philips Moravian Church, which is the oldest African American church standing in North Carolina. Freedom was announced in the church on May 21, 1865 by a Union Army cavalry chaplain of the 10th Regiment, Ohio Cavalry. The center also includes the Negro Graveyard and the Reconstructed 1823 Log Church, which houses exhibitions and interactive activities.
There are several opportunities throughout Old Salem to shop for souvenirs, treats, and gifts.
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From the Miksch family backyard garden to the expansive Single Brothers’ Garden, Old Salem’s award-winning restorations will inspire ideas for your own garden. Heirloom vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit fill gardens that are an essential part of a landscape reminiscent of early Salem. Also featured are orchards, native trees and shrubs, and historic fencing styles that separate lots and meadows. The beauty and practicality of the historic Moravian landscape is continued in Old Salem through seed saving of open-pollinated heirlooms, a core mission of the Horticulture Program. Come see the beautiful gardens, experience the restored landscape, and discover historic methods and practices that remain relevant today and are called “sustainable.”
Old Salem Museums & Gardens is home to the largest and most important eighteenth-century American pipe organ, built by David Tannenberg of Lititz, PA. This magnificent organ served Home Moravian Church for 110 years. Since its meticulous restoration, it has been featured in the James A. Gray, Jr. Auditorium of the Old Salem Visitor Center, where hundreds of people regularly enjoy organ and chamber music concerts.
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directions: Conveniently located south of downtown Winston-
Salem, NC, and west of US Highway 52 (use exit 108-c). From Interstate 40 take Highway 52 North to exit 108-c. From Business 40, take Highway 52 South to exit 108-c.
hours of operation: Old Salem is open Tuesday through
Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Old Salem is closed on Mondays and on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and December 24 and 25.
tickets: Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the Old
Salem Visitor Center on arrival. A variety of ticket options are offered.
memberships: Becoming a member of Old Salem Museums & There are two independently owned and operated restaurants within the historic district.
Gardens allows you to connect with others who share your love of history. Benefits of membership include free admission, discounts in the Shops of Old Salem, Old Salem Museums & Gardens magazine, and much more.
The Salem Tavern Restaurant offers an authentic dining experience, with costumed servers preparing traditional Moravian meals, including the local favorite, chicken pie. Mayberry’s Restaurant serves burgers, sandwiches, and milk shakes.
other sites to visit: Old Salem recommends these quality Southern Highland Attractions for you to consider when planning your trip: North Carolina Biltmore Estate, Chimney Rock Park, Grandfather Mountain, Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, The Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Nantahala Outdoor Center, and Tweetsie Railroad; Virginia Barter Theatre, Luray Caverns, and Natural Bridge. Tennessee Gatlinburg Sky Lift, Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, The Lost Sea, Rock City Gardens, and Ruby Falls. www.southernhighlands.org.
Ev e nts
From fun hands-on events to book signings; furniture seminars to holiday activities, our attractions offer more than 100 unique and exciting events each year. Visit oldsalem.org for a complete and up-to-date list of events.
Old Salem Museums & Gardens, including MESDA, was among the first museums in the country to be accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM). Old Salem Museums & Gardens is also a member of the Outdoor History Museum Forum, a nationwide partnership of outdoor history museums. www.outdoorhistory.org. To maintain the historic character of Old Salem, brick sidewalks and stone walkways are used that can be uneven, rough, or slippery. Visitors are advised to exercise caution walking in the historic area, including inside buildings with rough floors. For those with special needs, please ask for assistance at the Visitor Center at the time of purchase.
Visit oldsalem.org • Call 336-721-7350