2015 Forum: “At Home and Abroad: Natchezians on the Grand Tour"


The Natchez Antiques Forum is sponsored by the Pilgrimage Historical Association with the assistance of the Pilgrimage Garden Club. Registration proceeds support the preservation of National Historic Landmarks Longwood and Stanton Hall as well as additional preservation projects in the larger Natchez community.

During the antebellum period, Natchez, Mississippi, was home to more millionaires per capita than any other city in the United States. The homes they built for their families contained some of the finest, most opulent furnishings and artwork in the nation. Each year the Forum takes on a new topic from a distinctly Southern point of view. Past themes have spanned centuries and have ranged from “The Culture of the Deep South from Revolution to Secession” (1975) and “The American Dream” (1983), to “Grecian Fever in American Decorative Arts” (1987) and “The Nineteenth Century Age of Aspiration (1994).

The 2015 Forum theme is “At Home and Abroad: Natchezians on the Grand Tour.” The Grand Tour originated in the 18th century when the children of wealthy British families were sent to Europe to be educated, study the arts, and broaden their horizons. By the mid-19th century, however, a tour of the European continent had become as fashionable for Americans as it had been for the British in the 1700s. Engaging with material culture ranging from textiles and top hats to buildings and busts, the 38th Natchez Antiques Forum will investigate the relationship between the American South and the cultural phenomenon of the European Grand Tour.

All Forum participants have opportunities to associate with noted experts during the conference at social events and tours, including a cocktail reception at Stanton Hall. The annual schedule includes museum directors, curators, conservators, and other scholars working in art history, decorative arts, and associated fields.

As Natchez is known as the bed-and-breakfast capital of the South, attendees can choose from a wide variety of charming antebellum homes for accommodations – or opt to stay in one of the city’s more modern hotels or motels.