For many, the piece of furniture called a “food safe” conjures nostalgic memories of days gone by. Often called “pie safes,” these rustic pieces of American furniture with punched-tin panels represent country charm and awaken memories of a simpler time. In the 1800s, the food safe had a valued place in most Shenandoah Valley homes. Yet as common as food safes were, scholarship regarding these unique cabinets has been limited. Safes of the Valley shed new light on the food safe and documented the important regional role it has played in the history and culture of the Shenandoah Valley. Organized by the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV), Safes of the Valley explored the regional variations that the food safe displayed throughout the Valley, as well as its many forms and decorative, punched-tin patterns.
On view from May 11, 2014, through March 29, 2015, the exhibition was guest-curated by two Valley-furniture experts, Jeffrey S. Evans and Kurt Russ. Safes of the Valley presented 45 safes, many of which were on first-time public display in the exhibition.
Buy the publication Opening the Door: Safes of the Shenandoah Valley
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley has announced publication of its long-awaited book, Opening the Door: Safes of the Shenandoah Valley.
Coauthored by Valley scholars Kurt C. Russ and Jeffrey S. Evans, the publication is based on the research of The Virginia Safe Project, which the authors launched in 2010. The ground-breaking volume documents and greatly expands on the content presented in the exhibition Safes of the Valley, which took place at the MSV in 2014–15.
At 136 pages, Opening the Door: Safes of the Valley is the fourth book the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley has published. Richly illustrated with images of safes and their distinctive tin patterns, it is now available for purchase in the MSV Store for $44.95.