AIKEN --- Hunting down the perfect antique for the living room or even the garden can also be an educational experience.
Antiques in the Heart of Aiken Show & Sale will kick off its 12th annual event Thursday with a preview party and continue throughout the weekend with guest lecturers.
The event partners well with host Aiken Center for the Arts' mission to provide educational and cultural experiences, said director Kristen Brown.
"We want to promote partnerships among various groups and volunteers," she said. "Antiques are the epitome of (our mission) because they are the result of so many different forms of art."
The Show and Sale will feature 23 dealers from New York to Texas. Items range from classic American to French and English pieces, and cut glass, estate jewelry, rare books, oil paintings and clocks.
Several hundred volunteers provide the backbone for the weekend, said Brown.
Guest lecturers Susan Kleinbub, garden designer, and Jeff Burden, historic architect, will also provide insights on staging purchases for gardens and in homes.
"(Jeff) will talk about taking classic and traditional design that can be appropriate in a modern environment of a more traditional home," said Brown.
Brown said dealers and educators such as Burden and Kleinbub are essential to keeping the event fresh each year.
"One of the special things about the antique show are our knowledgeable dealers. They're very helpful if you ask a question and can give you background on who produced a piece and where it's from. They have wonderful knowledge and are willing to share that. A few of our dealers have even been our expert guest lecturers. It adds real depth to the antique show and goes beyond just the visible."
Brown said many of the dealers have even formed friendships with community members after repeat purchases.
"If you're looking for something like that (an antique), you're looking for the trust factor first," she said. "I think those relationships show that our dealers aren't just knowledgeable, but trustworthy."