Pleasures past: Antiques forum kicks off

Published 12:04 am Thursday, October 20, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Melanie Miller Downer, right, talks to Donna and Jerry Benedict, of Kyle, Texas, during registration Wednesday afternoon at the Natchez Grand Hotel, about the events taking place at the Pilgrimage Garden Club’s Natchez Antiques Forum.

NATCHEZ — Approximately 100 antiques enthusiasts are making their way to Natchez for the 34th annual Natchez Antiques Forum.

Susan Graning, co-chairwoman of the forum, said guests are traveling from New York, New Orleans, Birmingham, Ala., Shreveport and Texas to hear and see renown speakers talk on the theme of this year’s forum — “Our American Heritage: Pleasures of the Past 1750-1850.”

Graning said there is a buzz surrounding all of the lectures presented by the forum, and one in particular. Michael K. Brown, curator of the Bayou Bend Collection, will discuss the American treasures Friday afternoon.

Graning said some Natchez residents are owners of pieces from the collection, which are known as fine examples of American design and craftsmanship that also reflect the tastes, values and aspirations of ordinary Americans.

A downtown antiques extravaganza, for registered forum participants only, will be a free event beginning at 5 p.m. at the businesses of many downtown antiques merchants.

Registration is from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. today at the Natchez Grand Hotel, with a cocktail reception for participants at Stanton Hall beginning at 7 p.m.

There is still time for late registration Friday and Saturday. A registration desk will be open in the upstairs lobby of the convention center.

Friday’s lectures begin with a welcome at 9 a.m. at the Natchez Convention Center’s St. Louis room.

Wendell Garrett, editor-at-large for The Magazine Antiques, has been involved with the forum for years. Garrett will talk at 9:15 a.m. on “the Golden Age — Personalities and Places.”

A coffee shop and bookstore, with literature pertaining to lecture topics, will open at 10:15 a.m. upstairs at the convention center.

Charles F. Hummel, a curator and professor, will discuss furniture for conservative clientele at 11:15 a.m., followed by a traditional Southern lunch at the Carriage House.

The forum picks back up at 2 p.m., with Angela Mack, of the Gibbe Museum of Art, discussing the arts in 18th Century. A short break will follow.

Brown will close Friday’s lectures at 3:15.

Saturday’s forum lectures begin at 9 a.m. with a talk on the celebrated seat of General Washington, by Carol B. Cadou of the Mount Vernon collections. Mimi Miller, of the Natchez Historic Foundation, will discuss two centuries of Natchez architecture at 10 a.m.

Chairman’s farewell tours with repast will be at Hope Farm, Hawthorne and Longwood from 11:30 to 2 p.m.