2015 Annual Meeting President's Report (held 1/26/2016)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 1:58 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

Good evening, I’m Carol Lauvray, Board President of Beaufort History Museum, and it’s my pleasure to welcome all of you to this Annual Meeting and to share with you the Museum’s accomplishments over the past year and the exciting events and exhibits planned for 2016.


2015 was a pivotal year for Beaufort History Museum:

  • It marked the first full year of operations in the Arsenal since the Museum moved back after a long absence. 2015 also marked a dramatic increase in the number of visitors to the Museum and in resulting revenues, which our treasurer Steve Guida will discuss shortly. During 2015, 3,360 people visited the Museum at the Arsenal, coming from as far away as Switzerland, Tasmania, Brazil and South Africa.
  • Over the past year, our Docent Education staff conducted 3 sets of training classes for 15 new Docents, who lead tours of the Museum. Currently, the Museum has 34 Docents who volunteered 2,000 hours of their time to welcome and educate visitors during 2015. 
  • In September, to fill positions that became vacant during the year, the Board appointed four additional Board members—Norm Campbell, Steve Guida, Stuart Heath and Larry Koolkin. Shortly, you’ll be voting on a slate of Board members that includes Steve, Stuart and Larry to begin new, 3-year terms on the Board.
  • In addition, the Board has nominated Andrea Allen to become a new member of the BHM Board. She is nominated to fill the seat on the Board that is opening because Jeff Kidd’s 3-year term has ended. On behalf of everyone at Beaufort History Museum, I’d like to thank Jeff for his service on the Board. Earlier this month, the Board also appointed General Mitch Mitchell to fill an unexpired term on the BHM Board. I’d like to welcome Norm, Steve, Stuart, Larry, Andrea and Mitch to the Board of Directors and acknowledge Jeff for his work on the Board. Would all of you please stand to be recognized.
  • During 2015, the Museum produced a number of successful, high-profile special events and exhibits that promoted BHM within the community and drew new members:
    • The Museum’s first temporary exhibit at the Arsenal, “What They Wore: Fashion and Finery of the Victorian and Edwardian Eras” opened at the beginning of May with a Sunday afternoon party featuring historic re-enactors in period clothing.
    • BHM’s first Annual Victorian Tea at Dataw Island Club was held on May 12th and was a resounding success with 150 guests attending and which resulted in adding many new Museum members.
    • In September, the Museum partnered with Santa Elena Foundation to welcome to the Arsenal, Spanish Count Alvaro Armada, the descendant of Pedro Menendez de Aviles.
    • An exciting exhibit “Doctuh Buzzard’s Hoodoo Awakening,” sponsored by The Beaufort Gazette and The Island Packet, opened at the beginning of October with an evening preview party, with nearly 100 guests attending.
    • On October 31st, the Museum celebrated Pat Conroy’s 70th Birthday in style in the Arsenal Courtyard with 350 guests on hand to wish Beaufort’s own celebrity author a “Happy Birthday.”
    • In late November, our current exhibit, “A Place Called Home” opened, featuring striking photographs of St. Helena Island and Beaufort as they were over a hundred years ago and through the mid-20th century. It reflects the life-long work of Sonny Bishop and his daughter, Elizabeth Bishop Later.
  • During 2015, the Museum was awarded a total of $17,500.00 in Accommodations Tax money to fund the development of a new Reconstruction exhibit and to enhance its website.
  • The last half of the year saw significant revamping of the Museum’s electronic infrastructure and administrative processes to improve efficiency and reduce expenses.
  • In December, we welcomed our new, part-time administrative assistant, Katja Burnett. As an added bonus, Katja is a professional graphic designer and is assisting with the creation of the Museum’s new website!
  • Throughout the year, the Museum has been developing ongoing partnerships with many Beaufort County organizations to advance our respective missions. These include: the City of Beaufort, the Beaufort county Historical Society, the Beaufort County Library, FirstShore, the Friends of Fort Fremont, Historic Beaufort Foundation, Penn Center and Santa Elena Foundation.
  • During 2015, the Museum produced a number of successful, high-profile special events and exhibits that promoted BHM within the community and drew new members:

All of the Museum’s 2015 accomplishments, events, and exhibits were made possible only through the thousands of hours that our dedicated Docents and Board members volunteered to Beaufort History Museum last year.

Now I’d like to give you just a brief overview of some of the exciting things planned for 2016 at Beaufort History Museum:

  • February will see the launch of our new website developed on a membership management platform. The new website will be easier to navigate and display on mobile devices and will allow us to better manage the Museum’s membership, events and reservations. Larry Koolkin will be telling you a bit more about that in a few minutes.
  • On March 11th – 13th, the Museum will host a weekend-long living history encampment in the Arsenal Courtyard, featuring re-enactors who will portray: a Union Army company from Pennsylvania that was stationed in Beaufort during the Civil War; freed men and women; abolitionists; and missionaries. To plan the weekend’s educational events, the Museum is partnering with the Beaufort District Collection of the Beaufort County Library, Penn Center, and Historic Beaufort Foundation.
  • The Museum also will be participating in a Spring Tour of historic sites and organizations the last week of April in celebration of the 450th anniversary of Santa Elena’s founding and the grand opening of the Santa Elena History Center in the former courthouse on Bay Street.
  • On May 3rd, the second annual Beaufort History Museum Tea will again be held at the Dataw Island Club.
  • On June 10th – 11th,  the Museum will participate in The South Carolina Humanities Festival, which will showcase Beaufort County’s culture, arts, and history. We plan to unveil a new exhibit on the Reconstruction Period in Beaufort to coincide with the Festival. Larry Koolkin, our Board member who chairs the Exhibits Committee will be saying a few words about plans for the Reconstruction exhibit.

As volunteers and members of Beaufort History Museum, everyone in this room shares a common bond—our passion for the deep, rich history of Beaufort, and for telling the story of how all American history began right here, to paraphrase USCB Professor Emeritus, Dr. Lawrence Rowland.

I’d like to thank you all for being here tonight to celebrate how far Beaufort History Museum has come and to look forward to all that’s in store for the Museum in the coming year. As I close, I’d like to ask all of our Docents and Board Members—both past and present—here this evening to stand to be recognized for your contributions to the Museum! Thank you!

Respectfully submitted by

Carol Lauvray,

Beaufort History Museum Board President

Our mission is to preserve, portray, and promote 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. Mailing Address: PO Box 172, Beaufort, SC 29901 

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