The 2024 SAPFM Mid-Year Conference will be held at Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA from June 28th to July 2nd. Ursinus is a small Liberal Arts College founded in 1869 with a beautiful campus and excellent facilities for our conference.

Ursinus College

Ursinus College

In this write up you will see references to optional side trips on Friday, Monday, and Tuesday; optional, additional presentations on Sunday afternoon; and spouse activities on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

The original SAPFM “Mid-Year Conference" started with a Friday night banquet, Saturday presentations, a Saturday night banquet and it ended Sunday at noon. We have kept that same format over the years and that is still included in the basic conference price.

However, in response to requests from our members, we have added optional side trips on Friday, Monday, and Tuesday as well as additional presentations Sunday afternoon. Attendees may stick with just the basic conference or add, at an additional price, some or all of these optional events. This keeps the conference price low for those who wish to attend just the basic conference, while allowing additional opportunities for those who choose them.

So why did we pick Southeastern Pennsylvania and select Ursinus College as our venue? The Southeastern Pennsylvania area has a rich culture of making Period American Furniture and other decorative arts, primarily from the Germanic peoples who settled the fertile lands that reminded them of home.  They incorporated their own old-world furniture traditions and craftsmanship with influences from their British neighbors. 

Ursinus College presented a unique opportunity for attendees to view the presentations in stadium-type classrooms, so your ability to “see” the presentation will be much better than past years. The main conference room, where we start off Saturday morning and spend all day Sunday, was the conference room used for the TV show “How to Get Away with Murder.” Actress Viola Davis wrote that on the same blackboard at the beginning of the show; Overall, this is an excellent facility for our conference.

Lecture Hall

Ursinus College Lecture Hall



We have reserved a block of rooms with special rates at two hotels in the Collegeville area; The Residence Inn Collegeville and The Courtyard by Marriott, both conveniently near to Ursinus College. More information about hotel rooms will be shared on the conference registration page.


Schedule of Events

Friday Events

Friday will start off with the optional side trips. There is more detail about these trips below but Events Chairman Sam Rhodes jokingly told our committee that “we should pass out small paper bags, because our members will be hyperventilating when they see the private collections and historic houses.”

Friday night the Cartouche Banquet will be held at The Farmhouse at People’s Light in Malvern PA. We will be at this venue for both Friday night and Saturday night Receptions & Banquets. Receptions will start each night at 6:00 PM, with dinner beginning at about 7:00 PM.

The Banquet Venue
The Banquet Venue
Our events committee visited several locations and found a venue large enough to accommodate everyone who wants to attend. The Farmhouse at People’s Light is 20 miles from our Hotels in Collegeville, or about 30-minutes driving time for that time of day. Our events committee visited several locations and found a venue large enough to accommodate everyone who wants to attend. The Farmhouse at People’s Light is 20 miles from our Hotels in Collegeville, or about 30-minutes driving time for that time of day.
Marion Smith
Marion Smith
This year, SAPFM honors our 2024 Cartouche Winner, Marion Smith. Marion is a long-time member of the Peachtree Chapter in Atlanta. When he’s not building museum quality furniture he enjoys hunting and fishing.
Saturday Presentations

Saturday morning, we will all begin in the same Conference / Lecture Hall on the Ursinus campus. Coffee and pastries will be provided. After general introductions we’ll explain the rotating system whereas we divide our attendees into three groups. This allows a closer look at each presentation and you’ll see all three presentations.

We have an excellent line up for Saturday. Our presenters will be Al Breed, Chuck Bender and Jeremy Trichler. The general focus of our conference, particularly on Saturday, will be eastern Pennsylvania furniture; showing the influence of both German and English trained cabinetmakers. Lunch will be in the Ursinus College cafeteria and is included in the cost of the conference.

Al Breed
Al Breed
The Focus of the 2012 Cartouche winner, Al Breed’s, presentation will be carving a concave Philadelphia drawer front with some applied foliage. This is similar to ones found on Rococo dressing tables from the 1770 era.
Chuck Bender
Chuck Bender

Chuck Bender was SAPFM’s 2022 Cartouche award winner. He is one of the most highly regarded furniture makers in the country and the founder of the Acanthus Workshop. Chuck will focus his presentation on a furniture form that is immediately associated with southeastern Pennsylvania than the Chester County Spice Box. Long after spice boxes had gone out of style in other regions of the Colonies, they persisted in Chester County for many years and in greater variety. Explore, with Chuck Bender, the designs, decoration, and construction techniques of this iconic furniture form.
Jeremy Trichler
Jeremy Trichler

Jeremy Tritchler is a North Bennet Street School graduate currently working at the Anthony Hay Cabinetmaking Shop in Colonial Williamsburg. Jeremy will look at some turret top card tables from Philadelphia that he used to design his own version. He will talk about the design and construction techniques and demonstrate shaping and joinery.

Reception & Banquet Dinner

On Saturday night we are back at The Farmhouse at People’s Light for our SAPFM Conference Banquet. Once again, the reception starts at 6:00 with dinner about 7:00.

Lisa Minardi
Lisa Minardi
Our Guest Speaker, Lisa Minardi, is the executive director of Historic Trappe and president of Philip Bradley Antiques. Lisa is the author of several Books including: Paint Pattern and People, Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1725-1850 and Drawn with Spirit; Pennsylvania German Fraktur. Her house, which will be part of the optional tours, was featured in The Magazine Antiques. You can read all about it here: https://www.themagazineantiques.com/article/living-with-antiques-a-labor-of-love/

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning we’ll be back at Ursinus College in the same room where we started on Saturday.  Sunday's morning presenters are Dave Heller and Steve Brown. 

Lunch will be served in the Ursinus cafeteria after Steve’s presentation.

Dave Heller
Dave Heller
Sunday morning we’ll be back at Ursinus College in the same room where we started on Saturday. Our first presenter is Dave Heller who will be discussing “working with solid woods and veneers” in complex cabinetry to take advantage of their strengths and decorative capabilities.
Steve Brown
Steve Brown
Steve will discuss and demonstrate the design, layout and fabrication of a cabriole leg based on careful analysis of the legs found on a Boston Dressing table made by Benjamin Frothingham in the 1700s. This analysis was part of a 2017 American Furniture Journal co-written by Will Neptune.

---------- This ends the basic conference ----------

Sunday Afternoon

The Sunday afternoon sessions are optional for paid attendees who have previously registered. 

Bess Naylor from The Olde Mill Cabinet Shoppe and Matt Bickford, plane maker are our Sunday afternoon presenters.

Bess Naylor
Bess has been involved in retail sales of hard-to-find finishing supplies for over forty years, with deep fascination regarding period correct techniques and materials for painting, coloring, and finishing wood. At the same time, she has sponsored many woodworking seminars with famous and not-so-famous instructors who were/are outstanding in their field of expertise. She extensively worked with Andrew Marlow, George Frank, Charles Hummel and Gene Landon to mention just a few. While continuing to study and practice finishing in its many aspects, she also pursued the building of Period American Furniture utilizing period-correct techniques and tools, focusing deeply on Pennsylvania furniture (such as Line and Berry decorated), Pennsylvania German furniture, Philadelphia QA furniture and Pennsylvania William and Mary furniture. This will be the focus of her presentation.
Matt Bickford
Matt Bickford is a well-known Plane maker and the author of books and videos on the subject. "Hollows and rounds create a specific arc, not a specific profile.” They are ideal tools for making small amounts of ultra-specific shapes. Matt Bickford will demonstrate the use of hollows and rounds to reproduce period moldings. He will start with a few simple shapes and work his way up to complex profiles from period Pennsylvania furniture. The profiles he makes will be predetermined. The process will be directly translatable to your work and your shop, regardless of whether your interests are William & Mary or Chippendale.

Optional Tours

Our Friday 28 June, Monday 1 July, and Tuesday 2 July optional tours will highlight some of the very best antique furniture that is either in private collections or first-rate antique shops, or found in important public collections that may be often overlooked. There is so much to see in this immediate area of Southeastern Pennsylvania that for the first time ever, we decided to add additional tours on Tuesday 2 July.

On Friday we will visit a very special private collection in the Collegeville, PA area: the home of our keynote speaker, Lisa Minardi, which features a significant collection of early Pennsylvania furniture and decorative arts, set within a meticulously restored period house, that also includes significant built-in furniture from when it was constructed in 1757. https://www.themagazineantiques.com/article/living-with-antiques-a-labor-of-love/  

Following the house tour, we will also have a chance to explore more early Pennsylvania furniture in the adjacent shop of Philip Bradley Antiques.

Then, we will tour Historic Trappe's Center for Pennsylvania German Studies and historic houses, with extensive furniture displays featuring carved, inlaid, and painted decoration as well as pre-1800 Philadelphia furniture, organized by Executive Director, Lisa Minardi. https://historictrappe.org/

We are still working on scheduling all these wonderful visit opportunities, as there is so much to see, but if time permits we will visit the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center https://www.schwenkfelder.org/ that chronicles the settlement in the Perkiomen area of six families of Protestants fleeing religious persecution in Silesia in the 1730s. Longtime curator Candace Perry will display numerous blanket chests in the center of the open gallery specifically so woodworkers can study the construction from all sides.

The Monday bus trip will leave from the lobby of the Residence Inn in Collegeville at 7:30 AM. An early departure is necessary because our two locations are about 1 hour away.

We are planning for two full-sized busses. Each will go to one of the two locations in the morning and switch in the afternoon. We’ll all be together for a box lunch (included in the tour price) and then head off for our afternoon location. We are currently scheduled to return to the hotel by 5:00 PM.

One of our two Monday locations will be Historic Rock Ford which will provide private tours of its relatively new gallery of more than 230 objects of Lancaster County decorative arts from c1765 – 1810 https://www.historicrockford.org/.  As with the Landis Valley Museum shown below, Rock Ford is normally closed on Monday but will be open to us for our exclusive tours.

The other location will be the Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, a nationally significant living history museum that collects, conserves, exhibits and interprets Pennsylvania German material culture and heritage between 1750-1940.  The staff plans to move representative furniture examples from storage and arrange them for our examination while the curators provide rotating tours to groups of 10 of the furniture collection and antique tools.  Published staff experts will provide a lecture on Pennsylvania German culture.

The museum staff will provide a special visit for spouses that includes a behind the scenes discussion in the heritage seed house and a tour of the special exhibit on Pennsylvania Germans:  Their Lives Through Color.

Here are a couple of photos from the Landis Valley collection:

   Landis Valley 1   Landis Valley 2

We are planning additional tours on TUESDAY, particularly a return to the Chester County History Center for the first time since the 2016 Mid-Year.  Here are a couple of the spice boxes we examined in 2016.

Chester County 1 Chester Country 2


Spouse Events


The 2024 SAPFM conference will be in a great area!  There is SO much to see of Historic, Cultural, and Crafting that it is impossible to see it all! We encourage members to add one or more extra days to explore some of these riches. There are great homes and historic sites to visit.  We have planned 2 days of Spouse/Guest events that should be sure to please.  In addition, Spouse/Guests will be permitted (space available) to sign up and attend the main side trips scheduled for Friday.

SATURDAY:  Lancaster County is about an hour from Collegeville and home to the Amish/Mennonite population of Pennsylvania, known for their Farms, Quilting, Crafts and Cooking.  We are planning an 8-hour bus tour to well-known Quilting Shops, such as Riehl’s and The Country Shoppe, with a stop at an Amish Family Restaurant.  We will depart the Residence Inn at 8:30 AM and return in time to attend the Conference dinner.  Minimum participation requirements will be noted on registration.

 On SUNDAY, 30 June, while we are not visiting nearby Winterthur and its Magnificent (!!!) grounds, it is certainly worth a trip.  However, we will be visiting Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square!  This is also a DuPont Property and is known for its Conservatories, Arboretum, Water Gardens and Fountains. There will be a lot of walking.  Cost will be for a bus and an entry Ticket. This trip will also require minimum participation.

We will also provide a listing of links for self-driving activities, shops, museums and collections in the area that can be seen.

There are too many area attractions of interest to our members and spouses to include as part of the conference side trips.  We encourage members to add extra time to explore some of these riches. We will provide links for self-driving activities.  Here is a small sampling of interesting venues to visit within 45 minutes of our hotels. 

  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Winterthur Museum
  • Hagley Museum
  • Warton Esherick Museum
  • Hearne Hardwood and Goff & Goff Lumber
  • Peter Wentz Farmstead
  • Valley Forge National Historical Park and Washington’s Headquarters
  • Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle
  • Baldwin’s Book Barn

Travel and Lodging

Ursinus College

601 E Main St, Collegeville, PA 19426

View in Google Maps

University of Mary Combs Hall Map


SAPFM has reserved a block of rooms with special rates at two hotels in the Collegeville area: The Residence Inn Collegeville and The Courtyard by Marriott, both conveniently near to Ursinus College..

Courtyard by Marriott
600 Campus Drive, Collegeville, PA 19426   
Residence Inn
500 Campus Drive, Collegeville, PA 19426



Still have questions? Please contact Keith Smith (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)