Research & Library

MESDA exterior for webMuch of what we know today about Salem Moravians, African Americans in Salem, and early southern craftsmen and artisans came from extensive research. Old Salem Museums & Gardens is dedicated to continual learning and ongoing research in the areas of decorative arts, material culture, Moravian and Southern history, archaeology, and architecture.

The Anne P. and Thomas A. Gray Library houses materials on Moravian history, southern decorative arts and material culture, and social history of the antebellum South. The Library contains over 20,000 cataloged volumes, including books, periodicals, rare books and manuscripts, and microforms. The library’s catalog can be accessed by clicking the link below.


The MESDA Research Center and its collection of nearly 85,000 craftsman files and approximately 20,000 object files, provides opportunities for visitors and scholars to learn more about objects, lifestyles, and beliefs of those living in the early South.

Anne P. and Thomas A. Gray Library and MESDA Research Center
F.L. Horton Museum Center
924 South Main Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Archaeology and Architectural research are two core aspects of our ongoing research about the historic Town of Salem. Recent excavation of sites like the Hege-Reich House and the Builders’ House continue to help us understand the history of the Moravians in Salem and what their life was like in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Physical investigation of existing buildings and documentation for reconstruction are other research files that are developed by the museum. The various departments each maintain their own records and research materials, so you may also want to contact those departments directly if you are looking for more specific items.

Our significant excavation work at the St. Philips Church site and subsequent research through Oral Histories was instrumental in helping staff and visitors understand the role of African Americans in Salem and the surrounding areas.