BEAUFORT, S.C. – The Beaufort History Museum is ready to emerge from its pandemic-imposed cocoon, with new features at the refurbished Arsenal to greet visitors who want to learn more about Beaufort’s singular history.
“This is a special museum,” said Steve Guida, president of the museum’s board. “We are a hidden gem -- more people should know about our local museum and our local history.”
The museum recently mounted “wayfinding” signs (also referred to as "wayside" signs) in the courtyard of The Arsenal that tell the story of the Beaufort Arsenal and its militia units over the past 223 years. (If you are not familiar with the term wayfinding, it refers to signs that provide information and context.)
Click here to view signage project details.
Museum board member Bill Skipper and the Exhibit Committee, along with local history consultants Dr. Steve Wise and Dr. Larry Rowland, provided much of the research behind each of the signs, which describe aspects of Beaufort’s militia history as well as historic pictures of The Arsenal.
History Workshop of Charleston produced the signage, which was supported by a grant from the City of Beaufort and museum funds.
The museum itself, on the second floor of this historic building, relates Beaufort’s history starting with the Yamassee Indians, who moved into the Lowcountry in the latter part of the 17th century. It traces various European conquests, through the Colonial period, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
“Our differentiation comes from the fact that we are the only museum that covers the 500+ year history of the Beaufort District,” Guida said. “Other organizations tend to focus on one specific area or time frame while we provide the broad history of people, places and events of the region.”
Beaufort’s history is a rich one, and the museum board wants to share it not only with out-of-town visitors, but also those who have made their home in the area. Families looking to spend a couple of hours with their kids on an educational, but fun, excursion (check out the cannons!) will really enjoy visiting, Guida says.
Not many history museums can actually claim to have a home in a building with its own impressive past, but that is what the Beaufort History Museum has at The Arsenal. The Arsenal was built in 1798 to
house the Beaufort Volunteer Artillery after it fought with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. It was a military post until 1963.
“Beaufort’s arsenal represents the anchor of our community since it became a fledgling community,” said board Vice President Kathryn Mixon. “Both military installation and as well as an important social venue, it was the heart of the community. Over the next 80 years, The Arsenal gradually became less and less significant as a military installation and social outlet and finally was pretty much abandoned.
“Because this facility was so dear to the hearts of the local community, its use was repurposed to that of a museum housing artifacts from her long and illustrious history,” Mixon added. “We hope to make The Arsenal once again the belle of our town.”
Toward that end, last year the City of Beaufort completed a partial refurbishing of The Arsenal, replacing old windows, installing new bathrooms, and repairing the upper and lower roof.
The museum is in the midst of a series of exhibit upgrades, Guida said. Next, the board hopes to display more artifacts from Beaufort’s past. The museum also has a room devoted to changing exhibits. The current one showcases movies made in and around Beaufort.
“Our location in the historic Arsenal provides a nice starting point for anyone wishing to learn the history of our area,” Guida said. “We are an all-volunteer organization responsible for the safekeeping of the City’s collection of important and historic artifacts.”
Beaufort History Museum has evolved to focus specifically on the history of the Beaufort District. It strives to manage and display artifacts and documents held by the City of Beaufort, telling the compelling stories of this area from the early 16th century until modern times. The Arsenal is located at 713 Craven St., and the museum is accessed through the Visitors Center on the first floor. A small admission fee is charged, but donations are appreciated. Guided and self-guided tours are available. Normal hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday-Friday. Saturday hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Docent classes are conducted on an ongoing basis. Docents are on duty to provide information and conduct tours. Please visit www.beauforthistorymuseum.com or the BHM Facebook page for updates and news from the Museum. For information on becoming a Docent or Volunteer Greeter contact the Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843-379-3079.
The Beaufort History Museum has multiple openings for volunteer directors to join its board.
The museum is looking for board members who are civic minded and share a passion for local history. Due to recent retirements and term expirations, the museum has a specific need for candidates with a strong business and marketing background and/or experience with museum management and operations.
The Beaufort History Museum manages the City of Beaufort’s collection of artifacts, and traces its roots to the 1930s. Its aim is to preserve, promote and interpret the 500-year history of the city and surrounding areas, for the education and enjoyment of both visitors and residents alike. “We do this not only through the exhibit hall above The Arsenal in the heart of the city’s historic district, but also with a successful lecture series, living-history events and partnerships with other history-minded organizations,” said Steve Guida, president of the board.
The museum is nonprofit, all-volunteer organization, and the board of directors is a working board. “We’re looking for folks who like to roll up their sleeves and help tell Beaufort’s story,” Guida said. In particular, candidates should be able to attend monthly board meetings, serve on committees and help with various events. Most directors commit an average of three to five hours per week to support the museum’s objectives, he said.
To learn more about the museum visit its website, www.beauforthistorymuseum, and if interested in pursuing this opportunity send a brief summary of your qualifications and interest to email@example.com.
Click here to view a video of the Beaufort History Museum Annual Membership Meeting on Facebook. Included is a recap of major events and accomplishments for 2020, a summary of the Museum's finances, and updates on the new and recently installed displays at The Beaufort Arsenal as well as new exhibits planned for 2021. The election of board members to new terms is also covered.
Press Release - Beaufort, SC – December 23, 2020 - Museum members are invited to attend the Annual Meeting of Beaufort History Museum (BHM) on Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 5:30 PM in the Beaufort City Council Chambers, located at 1911 Boundary Street inside City Hall. All who attend will be required to wear a face mask and observe social distancing protocols.
Pre- registration on the BHM website will be available from December 28, 2020 - January 28, 2021 and will be required. Attendance is limited to the first 40 people to sign up. The session will be recorded for viewing and posted on the website for those not able to attend in person.
At the meeting, milestones of the past year will be celebrated and plans for 2021 will be revealed, including a review of ongoing renovations of the Museum’s main exhibit hall and the plan for new exhibits. Current Museum members also will vote on Board of Directors nominees. The slate will be presented to BHM members in advance of the annual meeting via email.
The Beaufort History Museum, which was founded in 1939, has evolved to focus specifically on the deep and rich history of the Beaufort District. It strives to manage and display artifacts and documents held by the City of Beaufort, telling the compelling stories of this area from the early 16th Century until modern times. For information on all events, including the Annual Meeting, visit www.beauforthistorymuseum.com or follow the Museum’s Facebook page.
Click here to view a video of the 79th New York Highlanders Regiment November 7th, 2020, encampment event at the Beaufort Arsenal and Beaufort History Museum.
Beaufort, SC – November 7, 2020 - Beaufort History Museum will welcome the 79th New York Highlander Regiment re-enactors to the Arsenal Courtyard for an encampment featuring live presentations of Civil War era camp life, educational discussions, drills, marching, a Bagpiper and interactive activities for the whole family to enjoy. The event is planned for Saturday, November 7, 2020 from 9 AM to 4:30 PM.
Included are discussions and live presentations on the importance of music and bugle calls during the war, the variety and use of weapons, how medical support was deployed in the field, the role of women, camp “dining” and cooking as well as other fascinating topics. Admission to the Courtyard is free (donations welcome). The Museum is also offering reduced entry fee to the Exhibit Halls in the Arsenal with Adult admission at $5.00, Seniors at $4.00 and free admission for active military and children under 12. Social distancing according to CDC guidelines will be followed. Face masks will be required.
The 79th New York Volunteer Infantry, a Regiment of the New York State Militia, was originally organized as a social club in New York City in 1858. It was comprised primarily of emigrant Scots and Scottish-Americans. The militia was modeled after the famous Scottish regiment of the British Army, the 79th Cameron Highlanders of Scotland, but other than their name and tartan they had no official connection.
Their original duty was to parade, train as heavy artillery and provide a guard for the Prince of Wales when he visited the United States. But the 79th, without intention, set themselves up to take part in nearly every major engagement of the civil war and became one of the most known and traveled regiments in the Union Army.
Among their forays into battle in South Carolina, in December of 1861 the Highlanders were sent to the city of Beaufort to help occupy the town. At one point they set up camp near what is now the National Cemetery.
“There were seven Highlanders who lost their lives in battles near Beaufort,” said Kathy Mixon, BHM Board Vice President and Chairmen of the Encampment event. “One of the highlights of the day will be a Memorial Ceremony with a Bagpiper honoring the fallen Highlanders. We are looking forward to presenting the encampment to showcase these dedicated volunteers and re-enactors who carry on the tradition and history of the 79th Regiment in such a meaningful and authentic manner.”
“Our thanks go out especially to 79th Highlander Regiment leader Tom Vaselopulos. He has organized the volunteers who are traveling from many points in South Carolina and out of state,” she said. “He has created a dynamic and educational living history experience for people of all ages to enjoy.”
A full schedule with times for each of the activities and discussions will be posted on the Museum website at www.beauforthistorymusum.com. History buffs will also be able to source a brief history of the Highlanders, with more information about their military involvement in the Beaufort area, on the website.
Beaufort History Museum has evolved to focus specifically on the history of the Beaufort District. It strives to manage and display artifacts and documents held by the City of Beaufort, telling the compelling stories of this area from the early 16th Century until modern times. Docent classes are conducted on an ongoing basis.
The Arsenal address is 713 Craven Street. Normal BHM hours of operation are 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Tuesday – Saturday. Docents are on duty to provide information and conduct tours. Please visit www.beauforthistorymuseum.com or the BHM Facebook page for updates and news from the Museum.
Interested in becoming a member of the Beaufort History Museum? Click here to learn about our membership levels, the benefits of each, and how to join.
For information on becoming a Docent or Volunteer Greeter contact the Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843-379-3079.
From: Lillian Haist, President, Beaufort County Historical Society.
Members of the Beaufort County Historical Society and the community at large are invited to view the first of our 2020-21 “Historically Speaking” Lecture Series. Suzie Parker Devos will present the stories of 3 remarkable women—Susie King Taylor, Charlotte Forten and Laura Towne—who played important roles in Beaufort and the Sea Islands during the Reconstruction Era.
Click here to view the lecture on the Beaufort County Library’s You Tube Channel.
The program is co-sponsored by the County Library’s Beaufort District Collection with the support of South Carolina Humanities, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich history and culture of South Carolina.
The content of the lecture is copyrighted by Suzie Parker Devoe.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Beaufort, SC – July 17, 2020 - Visitors to Beaufort History Museum are invited to explore the history of Fort Fremont, a fortification built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Saint Helena Island in 1898, by viewing a special exhibit that displays award-winning images and a modern instructional video featuring exclusive drone photography of the site.
The Exhibit was officially introduced to Beaufort History Museum Board Members and Friends of Fort Freemont at an open house on July 15. The images featured are loaned to the Museum by noted Savannah photographer Mike Tillison. BHM Board Member Jeff Kidd created the video, a preview of which may be accessed at: https://www.facebook.com/Beaufort.History.Museum/videos/393167394933323/
Fort Fremont was constructed in response to the Spanish American War to defend the coaling station and dry dock at the Port Royal Naval Station located on Parris Island. It was one of six fortifications designated to protect the southeast coast during the war. It honors Major General John C. Fremont who was a Republican Presidential Candidate and Union Civil War General. The Fort was officially deactivated in 1912.
Those touring the Exhibits are asked to observe the commonly accepted CDC protocols for social distancing while at the Museum. The use of facemasks is required.
Beaufort, SC – June 13, 2020 - South Carolina’s cultural institutions, like other public spaces and businesses, closed temporarily during the past few months while coping with Covid-19 restrictions. This has resulted in critical revenue losses while operating expenses continue. Beaufort History Museum will be receiving assistance to bridge the gap in lost funds and help it emerge from closure in a healthier financial position.
The Museum received a Bridge Grant from South Carolina Humanities www.schumanities.org. Funding for the Bridge Grants has been provided by The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan. The Museum, located in the historic Arsenal on Craven Street, was awarded $2,500 that will be allocated to offset lost revenue and pay for ongoing operating expenses.
“We closed our doors in mid-March in keeping with the Governor’s directives and according to CDC recommendations so that we could keep our staff, visitors and the collection safe,” said BHM Board President, Steve Guida. “We also had to cancel our largest fund-raising event, so we are facing a significant loss of income. The grant from South Carolina Humanities is timely assistance for which we are very thankful.” The Museum recently announced that it will be re-opening on Tuesday, June 16 and it is offering free admission through June 30.
Since its inception in 1939, Beaufort History Museum’s mission has been to educate the community and visitors about the district’s extraordinary 500-year history, which has shaped the evolution of America from it’s beginning. The organization offers docent–led and self guided tours of its valuable collection and exhibits.
The Museum’s Board of Directors is currently managing a multi-year initiative to expand and update exhibits, to display additional artifacts and provide a more interactive, engaging experience. Coming soon are a series of signs in the Arsenal Courtyard displaying the history of Beaufort Arsenal (1798) and Beaufort Volunteer Artillery (BVA), its first occupants. An in-depth exhibit describing how Port Royal Sound’s unique geography, climate and ecology have shaped Beaufort’s history since the 1500’s is slated to open this fall.
The Museum is an all-volunteer organization that depends on support from various local businesses, members and donors. It does not receive direct financial support from the city. Those wishing to donate may visit the website at www.beauforthistorymuseum.com.
The Arsenal address is 713 Craven Street. Normal BHM hours of operation are 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Tuesday – Saturday. Docents are on duty to provide information and conduct tours. Please visit www.beauforthistorymuseum.com or the BHM Facebook page for updates and news from the Museum. For information on becoming a Docent or Volunteer Greeter visit the website or call 843-379-3079.
Beaufort, SC – June 4, 2020 - Beaufort History Museum, located in the historic Arsenal on Craven St., will re-open to the public on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Admission will be free for a two-week period following the opening. Docent-led and self-guided tours of the Exhibit Halls will be available.
In a preemptive measure to protect visitors, staff, volunteers and the collection from then evolving exposure to COVID-19, the Museum closed in mid-March and suspended all public programming. To date the Museum has not had any reported cases of infection on its premises.
Board of Directors President, Steve Guida, made the announcement of the opening. “We are looking forward to welcoming people back to the Museum and are pleased to offer free admission for a period of two weeks, from Tuesday, June 16 to Tuesday, June 30, “ he said. “This is a chance for our patrons to return and for those who have not yet experienced all we have to offer to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Visitors will be asked to observe the commonly accepted CDC protocols for social distancing while touring the Museum. The use of facemasks is required while visiting the Museum gallery.
Our mission is to preserve, promote and interpret the experiences of our past that influence us now and in the future.
The Beaufort History Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 713 Craven Street, Beaufort, SC 29902