Sorting the Past: the Social Function of Antique Stores as Centers for the Production of Local History

As centers of material culture and storytelling, antique stores are useful sources for writing local history. Through interviews with store owners in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, this article attempts to understand the purpose and function of antique stores, and to serve as a guide for how local and regional historians might consider using antique stores to aid their own research. It argues that material objects, buildings, places and stories are necessarily linked in telling local history.