News from the Tennessee Valley Diversions

‘Furniture for Food’ at Old State Bank

By Patrice Stewart · 340-2446

The butcher, the baker and the cabinetmaker all played roles throughout history.

The cabinetmaker, or one of them, will be featured Sept. 30 in a program at the Old State Bank in Decatur.

“Furniture for Food” will begin at 2 p.m. with guest speaker Christopher Lang, former Master Cabinetmaker at the Walker Allen Cabinet Shop at Alabama Constitution Hall Village in Huntsville.

“Furniture of different time periods provides important clues as to how a society lives, works and entertains,” said Melinda Dunn, Old State Bank coordinator. “Each piece of furniture in a home can tell a story of the customs and values of the times and of its owner.”

Lang, who also worked at Colonial Williamsburg as a cabinetmaker and historical interpreter at the Anthony Hay Shop, will discuss furniture during this free program.

“The local audience will find it especially interesting that Lang has researched residents George Blair of Athens and William Davis of Decatur for their roles in the cabinetmaking tradition of North Alabama,” said Dunn.

The focus of his slide lecture will be primarily furniture of the 19th century, Dunn said, including “styles ranging from folk to fancy, and from sturdy biscuit tables to grand sideboards.”

In addition to providing interpretation and demonstrations on historical crafts and customs, Lang has served as curator of collections and exhibits at Huntsville’s Early Works Museum.

He has two decades of woodworking experience and specializes in the restoration and conservation of antique furniture.

Lang’s research into local historical furniture and early craftsmen has yielded articles that have been published in magazines such as Antiques, Alabama Heritage and Chronicle of Early American Industries.

A graduate of the College of Wooster with a double major in history and art, he trained in furniture conservation at the Smithsonian Institute and the Conservation Laboratory at Colonial Williamsburg.

This program is a part of the Alabama Humanities Foundation’s Roads Scholars’ speaker program. The AHF, state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, brings scholars and the public together to explore human values and meaning through the study of history, literature, religion, philosophy and other humanities.

Seating is limited at the Old Bank, located at 925 Bank St. N.E., so reservations are requested. Contact Dunn at 350-5060 or e-mail her at meldunn @decatur-al. gov.

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