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Behind the Veneer: Thomas Day, Master Cabinetmaker

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By Amy Strecker, on May 26, 2010

Behind the Veneer: Thomas Day, Master Cabinetmaker opens to the public this week at the North Carolina Museum of History.  Progress Energy* proudly sponsored the exhibit that highlights Day’s unique life and legacy in conjunction with the release of Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color, a book by Patricia Phillips Marshall and Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll (book pictured on right).

As my first assignment last week, I prepared the remarks Progress Energy shared and was graciously invited to attend the opening gala with three other company representatives.  The exhibit was artfully coordinated and displayed stunning examples of Day’s work.  I had the opportunity to meet Linda Carlisle, Secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources and enjoyed my conversation with her.

Chalmers Hinton, manager of distribution operations, spoke on behalf of Progress Energy saying, “Thomas Day’s extraordinary life profoundly impacted our state and the furniture industry.  His superb craftsmanship and dedication to his art triumphed over the extraordinary challenges of his time.  Mr. Day’s story continues to inspire as an excellent example of the vitality and innovative spirit of North Carolinians.”

Hinton went on to explain what Progress Energy employees can learn from Day’s life, “It is our hope that Progress Energy employees and all North Carolinians will embrace Mr. Day’s model by persevering in the face of obstacles, developing excellence within themselves and making contributions that last beyond our lifetimes.”

(Pictured on left — Side chair, mahogany, mahogany veneer, rosewood veneer, and poplar made by Thomas Day for the James Poteat family, Yanceyville, Caswell County, 1855-1860. The upholstery is not original. Photo from the NC Museum of History.)

The Museum will host the exhibit throughout the next year.  Visitor information can be found on the Museum’s website.

*The views expressed on this blog posting are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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