Since 1966, Blandwood Museum has interpreted historical narratives of NC Governor John Motley Morehead and his family in their Italianate-style home. Today Blandwood seeks to expand its traditional narratives around race, gender, and class in mid-nineteenth century North Carolina and be more socially equitable and inclusive.
A new temporary exhibition of twelve pieces of Thomas Day furniture at Blandwood will enliven these narratives and prompt a dialogue about this eminent free Black woodworker known for his distinctive furniture and architectural woodwork. Displayed alongside contemporary Morehead family furniture, this exhibition will contextualize Day’s furniture in eight rooms and introduce new approaches to understanding the work of this master craftsman–a successful Black entrepreneur operating within elite white social circles.
In the mid-19th century, a free man of color, Thomas Day, was designing and creating unique and beautiful pieces of furniture in Milton, North Carolina, just 45 miles northeast of Greensboro. The son of an artisan craftsman from Virginia, Thomas Day became one of the finest furniture and architectural designers in the South during the antebellum period of American history. Day was of mixed-race heritage and lived within social circles that included politicians, academics, and planters. He owned one of the largest furniture businesses in the state, and his furniture and architectural genius is on display at the Union Tavern and nearby Milton Presbyterian church, along with many houses in the region.
In 2022, Preservation Greensboro Incorporated will be hosting its first temporary exhibit at Blandwood, a house museum and the home of former North Carolina governor John Motley Morehead. This exhibit, entitled Conversations, will display and celebrate Mr. Day’s imaginative and creative works alongside Blandwood’s growing collection of decorative art pieces.
This exhibit will open with a celebration on Friday, April 1, and run through September 30. In addition to the opening night gala, events include a day trip to Caswell County, where Milton is located, and a symposium to expand conversations on race, gender, and class in the nineteenth century.
Watch this page for more announcements about this event to celebrate Thomas Day and his artistic genius.