Folklife, Decorative Arts, and Material Culture

What does an 18th-century boar’s-head soup tureen manufactured in a porcelain workshop in Jingdezhen, China, have to do with a 40-gallon meat storage jug shaped by an enslaved potter in the antebellum American South? These are the things of our life – what we make, use, share, cherish, live with (and die with), use-up, and often discard (and then retrieve). Between the Shutze Decorative Arts Collection and the Burrison Folklife Collection we can offer opposite ends of the feng shui of material culture studies. This collection has more than 7,000 artifacts in furniture, glass, baskets, pottery, porcelain, silver, iron, and more and more and more. And we don’t just hide this stuff away – look for it in our historic houses and exhibitions. It’s everything and everywhere.

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