Oglebay Institute's 57th annual Antiques Show and Sale opens its doors at Wilson Lodge in Oglebay Park next weekend, featuring more than 50 premier dealers from 10 states. Special programs are on the schedule this year to engage and inspire young collectors.
This annual fundraiser for the Museums of Oglebay Institute features thousands of items in a variety of price ranges. Organizers say the show appeals to a variety of people - from those searching for artistic, decorative and collectible items to those seeking functional items to incorporate into their modern-day homes and lifestyles.
"Everyone can walk away with an exciting find," Museums Director Christin Byrum said.
General show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 2, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 3, with a general admission fee charged. Special preview events, including the popular Dessert with Antiques party, kick off the show Friday, April 1.
Byrum said that the antiques marketplace has experienced a shift in recent years and young buyers seem to be more interested in function over form. As a result, the antiques show planning committee added an education program to the weekend's schedule of events, aimed at helping people blend the old with the new.
Andrew Richmond and Hollie Davis, co-authors of The Young Collector column for Maine Antiques Digest, will visit the show and offer shoppers tips on how to incorporate antiques into a 21st-century home. "Reinventing and Re-imagining: Really Living With Antiques" takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 2, and 1 p.m. Sunday, April 3, and is included with the cost of show admission.
Richmond and Davis said the biggest misconception younger generations have about decorating with antiques is that "it's like living in a museum," but these expert antiques enthusiasts say there is a big difference between living around antiques and living with antiques.
"If you're living around your antiques, you're treating them more as art objects rather than functional pieces of furniture," Davis said.
She and Richmond said they actively use most of the antiques they have in their home, such as using stoneware as wastebaskets, placing candlesticks on the dining room table and sitting in their antique chairs.
Davis said other misconceptions about antiques are that "everything is fragile and everything is expensive."
"Both can be true, but it's about what you choose. Obviously, everything's not fragile - it all survived decades and decades to be here today. The average antique chair might have survived decades of active use, storage in a barn, transport in a multitude of imperfect ways, kids and animals and weather. If it's sturdy when you buy it, it can withstand being used a few times a week in your kitchen. As for expensive, there's a whole range of possibilities and once you open up to that, finding things you can really live with and enjoy gets so much easier," she said.
Richmond explained that in addition to being better quality, more affordable and eco-friendly, antiques can bring benefits to home decor that mass-produced, cookie-cutter furnishings can't.
"Antiques are just so distinctive, warm and inviting. They make a place feel homey, make you feel like you could walk right in and take your shoes off and curl up with a book and a cup of coffee," he said.
Davis added, "With antiques, because they're imperfect, it also sends a message of acceptance. Here's a place that accepts imperfection, including imperfect people, a place that's forgiving and welcoming. Antiques make a home feel special."
Davis and Richmond said their educational program will show people how versatile antiques can be and encourage them to think about what they can do in their own homes. They will share ideas from their own home and show actual examples from the show of objects that can be used in different ways.
"We hope to send people home with fresh eyes when it comes to seeing the potential in objects," Richmond said.
Antiques shopping and educational programs are just a few of the highlights of the Antiques Show and Sale. The popular Dessert With Antiques Preview Party Friday, April 1, offers guests an enticing array of sweets and coffees and an opportunity to mingle among a wide array of antiques, talk with dealers and get a sneak peak of the show. A cash bar is available. The ticket price includes repeat admission to the show on Saturday and Sunday, April 2-3.
Other show highlights include dealer booth talks on a variety of specialty areas and prize drawings. Parking is free. A guided show tour, a cocktail party, dealer meet and greet and a special children's show tour are offered for an additional fee.
A special overnight package is available at Wilson Lodge and includes two nights' lodging, breakfast buffets, admission to the dessert party and show. Reservations for the overnight package can be made by calling 800-624-6988.
A fundraiser of the Museums of Oglebay Institute, this weekend show is put together by the hard-working committee of the museums. Money raised supports the preservation and interpretation of local heritage. For more information, call the Museums of Oglebay Institute at 304-242-7272.
Richmond and Davis offer these tips for antiques show newcomers: