Since 1976 the Museum of Early southern Decorative Arts’ Summer Institute in coordination with the University of Virginia’s Art and Architectural History program has provided students with the unique opportunity and extensive education for better understanding early southern decorative arts and material culture. The 2012 Summer Institute focused on the Southern Backcountry. Areas of emphasis for this summer’s study included Tennessee, Kentucky and the piedmont and western regions of Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. Using a multidisciplinary methodology that included modern techniques in research, analysis, interpretation, preservation, and presentation students expanded their understanding of the Backcountry’s cultural, social, and economic history. The curriculum for this four-week course included: lectures, discussions, workshops, artifact studies, research projects, outside supplemental reading, and a six-day study trip into the Tennessee Backcountry. Three houses of graduate credit were awarded through the University of Virginia’s Graduate Program in the History of Art and Architecture after the course criteria were completed.