WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (July 27, 2020) – On July 27, 2020, Old Salem Museums & Gardens and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) will launch The Historic Summer, a week-long digital fundraising and community engagement campaign. The campaign is an online giving challenge set by the Old Salem Board of Trustees and the MESDA Advisory Board with the goal of raising funds and awareness of the organizations’ ongoing initiatives in education, research, collections, and restoration. The campaign has a $100,000 fundraising goal. 

“COVID-19 has made the summer of 2020 unlike any before,” said Old Salem Board of Trustees Chair Hayes Wauford. “But this summer is also historic for Old Salem.  Its efforts to pivot its activities in support of our community are inspiring. We on the Old Salem Board of Trustees want to encourage others to understand the importance of what Old Salem is doing.”  

Through digital communications, The Historic Summer will highlight new community and online programs that have been launched since the beginning of the pandemic, such as the Victory Gardens and bread baking (both of which provide direct support to local food banks) and Salem Presents. 

“Many people are realizing that, given the pandemic, the future of the traditional museum model is uncertain,” said Dick Clay, Chair of the MESDA Advisory Board. “That is why MESDA’s nimbleness in the face of this uncertainty is so important and should be supported.  And it’s why the MESDA Advisory Board is proud to challenge the public to invest in MESDA.” 

As a part of Old Salem’s Study South initiative, MESDA’s sold-out Summer Scholar Series courses in decorative arts history reached a national audience. The Study South initiative is a period of online and onsite study, research, and experimentation at Old Salem and MESDA that be began in July and will run through December. For more information visit OldSalem.org/StudySouth.

Old Salem and MESDA have become national leaders in their response to the pandemic.  The Historic Summer will provide further awareness of their efforts and encourage funding to sustain them. 

“Sustaining the programs and initiatives we have introduced over the past few months is critically important,” said Frank Vagnone, Old Salem’s President and CEO. “But beyond fundraising, The Historic Summer is an opportunity to remind communities near and far why Old Salem, MESDA, preservation, material culture, and education matter.”

All contributors will have an opportunity for a “social shout out,” whereby their name and a message of their choosing, including tributes to a loved one, will be shared with Old Salem and MESDA’s more than 35,000 Facebook followers and 15,000 Instagram followers. To contribute to The Historic Summer and to learn more, visit Old Salem’s website OldSalem.org/HistoricSummer or visit Old Salem and MESDA on social media at @OldSalemInc and @MESDAgram.

About Old Salem

Voted the 2019 #1 Tourist Attraction in North Carolina (AAA), Old Salem Museums & Gardens is a unique museum, education, and research organization. Its museumsthe Historic Town of Salem, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), and the Gardens at Old Salemare quickly becoming nationally known for innovative and novel interpretive models and programs.  Old Salem Museums & Gardens is located at 600 South Main Street in Winston-Salem. For more information visit OldSalem.org.

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