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“Pie Safes: Appalachia’s Contribution to American Furniture”: A Lecture by Betsy K. White

July 26 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Tuesday, July 26, 2pm, Executive Auditorium of the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, Abingdon
Pie safes were common throughout America in the 19th century but reached their greatest popularity in the central Appalachian region. The pie safe can be traced back to German immigrants in Pennsylvania, who needed pieces of furniture to keep foodstuffs away from vermin and insects. As these furniture makers moved down the Great Wagon Road, they brought this furniture form with them.
What makes pie safes distinctive is their pierced-tin panels which allowed for ventilation. Designs on the tins were made up of small punched holes, or occasionally small slashes, and motifs included flowers, grapes, urns, and compotes, scallops and swags, stars, sunbursts, arches, eagles and other birds, tobacco leaves, hearts, and a variety of geometric shapes. Many pie safes were painted as well.
Betsy K. White, the executive director of the William King Museum of Art, began researching the decorative arts of southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee in the 1990s, resulting in documentation of thousands of artifacts from the region. Many exhibits and articles have resulted from this research.
The wide variety of pie safes documented from this region will be shared by White during this lecture


Southwest Virginia Higher Ed Center
One Partnership Circle
Abingdon, VA 24210 United States
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(276) 619-4300
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