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PAST EXHIBIT – Early American Face Vessels from the George H. Meyer Collection


This exhibit is free with museum general admission or membership.

Adult (13-61): $8.95

Seniors (62 +): $7.95

Children (3-12): $6.95

Infants 2 and under: FREE

Not a member? Join today!

Early American Face Vessels from the George H. Meyer Collection

PAST EXHIBITION! Closed July 11, 2021

The traditional American stoneware face vessel has become an iconic art form, with important roots in South Carolina. George H. Meyer’s collection of over 100 early American face vessels provides us with the rare opportunity to see the tradition unfold in regions east of the Mississippi River and Texas, from the 1820s to 1940, including 20 early face vessels from South Carolina.

This exhibition shows that potters were not artists working in isolation, but rather interrelated craftsmen and often families sharing ideas and techniques. While these vessels have been the subject of increased scholarship in recent years, they remain somewhat enigmatic. These objects likely served many different functions and many of their makers remain unknown. The vessels in this exhibition demonstrate the artistry, variety, and power of this uniquely American art form.

Upcoming Event

Early Southern Face Vessels: A Symposium
Sat. – Sun., July 10 – 11 / Opening Reception Fri., July 9

The State Museum invites guests to enjoy a hybrid symposium exploring the history and art of Southern face vessels, an iconic American art form spanning 200 years. Click HERE to learn more.

Pottery Demonstrations
Sat., July 10 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The State Museum invites guests to enjoy artist demonstrations from:

Tuula Widdefield, Columbia, SC
Winton and Rosa Eugene, Cowpens, SC
Keith Brown Catawba Indian Pottery, Rock Hill, SC
Virginia Scotchie, Professor
Mike Thompson, Graduate of the USC Art Program
Patrick Burke, Graduate of the USC Art Program
Nina Croomer, Graduate of the USC Art Program

About George and Kay Meyer

The South Carolina State Museum is saddened to learn of the recent passing of George H. Meyer (1928 – 2021). Over the last nine months, the museum has been honored to host the exhibition Early American Face Vessels from the George H. Meyer Collection. We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with George and his wife, Kay, in bringing their amazing collection to South Carolina and making it available for the public to enjoy.

George began collecting early American face jugs about 35 years ago when David Good, an Ohio dealer he knew, showed up unexpectedly on Christmas day with a group of over twenty early American face jugs, which he bought immediately. Over the years, George carefully assembled the rest of the collection, while practicing law and publishing two books, Folk Artists Biographical Index, in 1988, and the award-winning American Folk Art Canes: Personal Sculpture, in 1992. He served on the board of trustees of the American Folk Art Museum in New York, and was President of the American Folk Art Society. After graduating from the University of Michigan and Harvard Law School and serving as a JAG officer in the Air Force, George moved to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he lived with his wife, Kay.

Kay White Meyer was not thrilled with the “guests” at her Christmas dinner but soon became fascinated with the stories of the potters and the inter-relationships in the different areas of the country. A graduate of Colby College, she was co-editor with George on their recent book, Early American Face Vessels, as well as an associate editor of George’s two previous publications. Kay served in the Peace Corps in Panama and now volunteers with several organizations in Michigan, including Oakland County’s crisis line where she has served on the board and answered crisis calls for 35 years.