• Tuesday, June 03, 2014 4:36 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    Docents Mary Mollison and Carol Lauvray with featured art.

    Docents Mary Mollison and Carol Lauvray with featured art.

    The Beaufort History Museum is preparing for its move back home to The Arsenal, but we’ve got time for one more big bash before departing our current home at Beaufort City Hall. The museum is displaying a special retrospective to honor the work of the museum’s Fine Arts Committee, featuring pieces of local interest and art by notable local artists.

    The exhibit opened June 9 with a gala for invited guests and remains open to the public during regular hours through June 24.

    “We are extremely excited by this opportunity to host an event to honor the Fine Arts Committee, which was so instrumental in procuring pieces of art for the museum’s permanent collection,” board president Anna Schaffer said.  “This is especially important since it is the final exhibit at the museum’s current location before we move to our new space at The Arsenal in Beaufort’s historic district.”

    Schaffer said that the Museum will display local art and art with a local influence for a period of 12 business days at the City Hall location before the museum’s move.  Invitations to an opening event were sent to area art associations and galleries, as well as families associated with the art on display.

    Visitors from the community will be welcome at the museum during regular museum hours.

    The board also will host a mid-week social for the Young Friends of the Museum at Wined it Up, the Bay Street wine bar.  Selected pieces of art will be displayed.

    The special exhibit is a nod to an important part of the museum’s own history. In the 1960s, the Fine Arts Committee was formed to procure pieces of art for the museum’s permanent collection. Many community leaders served on this committee. Even as the museum suffered otherwise lean years in the 1970s, the Fine Arts Committee remained strong, with active volunteers who continued to put on quality exhibits with guest artists and the museum’s own collection.

    In addition to artists throughout the country, the Fine Arts Committee also actively sought local artists to donate to the collection as well. Many of the pieces in the current collection are the results of the efforts of this committee. More than 50 pieces of art are currently being stored in the museum.

    The Beaufort History Museum was originally chartered in 1939. It 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. Through community engagement, children’s programs, educational opportunities and social events the museum provides many services to visitors and local residents. It is located at 1911 Boundary St., on the first floor of Beaufort City Hall, but will relocate sometime after July 14 to The Arsenal at 713 Craven Street.

    Click here to view WJCL coverage of the event...

    Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with docents on duty to provide information and conduct tours. A donation of $3 per adult visitor is suggested.  

  • Friday, January 24, 2014 4:42 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)


    Stan Deaton of the Georgia Historical Society, delivers the keynote address during the Beaufort History Museum’s annual meeting Jan. 23, 2014, at its future home in The Arsenal on Craven Street.


    Museum directors, historians and archivists cannot content themselves to work with relics, dusty manuscripts and crumbling buildings.

    They must engage their communities and explain why knowledge and preservation of the past is relevant to the future, according to Stan Deaton, senior historian for the Georgia Historical Society.

    Otherwise, those make the past their vocation might become relics themselves.

    “All of us in the field of history, as opposed to propagandists, had better be able to tell a room full of  bankers and businessmen and women  why it’s important,” Deaton said Jan. 23 at the Beaufort History Museum’s annual meeting. “We need to be able to explain to foundation boards and corporation and politicians why we in the public-history realm are indispensable to a free and democratic society.

    “Because we are.”

    Deaton, the evening’s featured speaker, noted that those who deal in history have often leaned on government funding to do their work, but that work often is first on the chopping block during lean budget times, as has been the case in recent years.

    “Scientists can always tell you why what they do is important and it’s always about the future,” he added.

    But the arts and humanities are equally important to the future, Deaton argues, a fact sometimes realized only by propagandists who seek to control the future by manipulating the past.

    “No one will every be served by factually inaccurate pejorative distortion of the American past,” Deaton said. “Indifference to history isn’t just ignorant, it’s dangerous.”

    His prescription?

    “We must prove constantly that we’re not just relevant but vital.”

    Educational programs, pursuit of private funding, and ensuring documents and artifacts are seen, not squirreled away in archives, are part of that effort. So is historical interpretation grounded in honest assessments of primary documents.

    Deaton spoke to an audience of about 40 people at the museum’s future home, The Arsenal on Craven Street. He is the writer and host of “Today in Georgia History,” a joint television and radio production of the historical society and Georgia Public Broadcasting. He also is managing editor and book review editor for the Georgia Historical Society’s “The Georgia Historical Quarterly.”

    Deaton helps secure materials for the society’s archives and library, leads teacher-training workshops and helps write historical markers.

    Also at the meeting, the museum’s board of directors elected officers, including new president Anna Powell Schaffer. She replaces Katherine Lang, a founding member of the board that reinstituted the dormant museum three years ago.

    Schaffer is a native of eastern North Carolina who moved to Beaufort in June 2011 after completing her bachelor’s of arts in history and political science at Elon University, where her capstone project was a study of the decline of African American farmers in the southeastern United States. Schaffer joined the museum board in 2013, and organized and conducted the museum’s first docent-training program.

    Libby Holloway was reelected board secretary, and Gwen Myers returns as board vice president.

    The board selected its officers after the general membership seated new board members.

    Lang returns for a second, three-year board term. During her tenure, the museum reopened in Beaufort City Hall and negotiated with the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce and the city of Beaufort to return to its former home. The museum in City Hall remains open, but a move to the second floor of The Arsenal is anticipated this spring.

    D.C. Gilley and Mary Lou Brewton also were reelected to three-year terms, and the board welcomed two new members.

    Jeff Evans moved to Beaufort County in 1992 and the city of Beaufort in 1999. He owns the video company SeaGate Productions and Lowcountry Weekly. He has served six years on the board of the Arts Council of Beaufort County, has produced 15 of Shakespeare’s plays in Waterfront Park and the University of South Carolina Beaufort’s Performing Arts Center, and recently finished a seven-year chairmanship of the Beaufort City ATAX Committee.

    David Lott is a retired businessman from Chicago who, along with his wife, have lived in the Pigeon Point neighborhood for the past few years. He has a passionate interest in Beaufort history and has given talks about local history. He currently serves as chairman of the Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority board.

    The candidates for board and board offices were recommended by a board committee before the meeting. After no nominations were made from the floor, the slate of board members and officers were accepted by acclamation.

  • Saturday, January 11, 2014 4:44 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    Members and prospective members can get a sneak peek at the Beaufort History Museum’s future home, listen to a notable lecturer and participate in the selection of board members during the museum’s annual meeting Jan. 23 at The Arsenal in downtown Beaufort.

    The first 30 people to reserve a spot also can top the evening with prix fixe dinner at the Beaufort Inn for $20 per person.

    The event will start at 6 p.m. at The Arsenal, the former home of the Beaufort History Museum. Late last year, museum and Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce officials announced the museum will return to a second-story space in the historic building sometime this spring, with a space in the building that also serves as the chamber’s visitors center at 701 Craven St.

    The night’s featured speaker will be Stan Deaton, senior historian for the Georgia Historical Society. He is the writer and host of “Today in Georgia History,” a joint television and radio production of the historical society and Georgia Public Broadcasting. he also is managing editor and book review editor for the Georgia Historical Society’s “The Georgia Historical Quarterly,” according to the society’s website.

    Deaton helps secure materials for the society’s archives and library, leads teacher-training workshops and helps write historical markers.

    Museum memberships can be acquired or renewed at the annual meeting, and members also can participate in the annual election of board members. The current board has approved a slate of four candidates — Katherine Lang, D.C. Gilley and Mary Lou Brewton, who would return to the board, and newcomers Jeff Evans and David Lott.

    Additional nominations will be taken from the floor during the annual meeting. Those interested can learn more about the requirements by reading our bylaws or by contacting board secretary Libby Holloway at

    The newly seated board will then elect its officers for 2014. The nominating committee also recommended Anna Powell Schaffer as president, Gwen Myers as vice president and Libby Holloway as secretary.

    After the meeting, 30 spots will be available for a 7:30 p.m. seating at the Beaufort Inn a block away. Diners can choose between amuse-bouche, indulgent popovers with maple butter, balsamic roasted chicken with smoked gouda grits and sautéed green beans; or shrimp and angel hair pasta featuring heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil. A desert trio will include chocolate creme brûlée, white chocolate banana pudding and hummingbird cake.

    This menu has been put together in support of the Beaufort History Museum and is available only after its annual meeting.  The restaurant also will waive its corkage fee for those who wish to bring their own bottle of wine. The meal is $20 per plate, and reservations must be made by Jan. 17.

  • Friday, December 13, 2013 4:45 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)
    Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce board president Stephen Murray, Beaufort History Museum board president Katherine Lang, chamber president and CEO Blakely Williams, and museum board member D.C. Gilley celebrate the signing of the lease that will bring the museum back to The Arsenal. It will move from City Hall on Boundary Street to the spot on Craven Street sometime in the spring, after renovations to the second-story space at The Arsenal are made.
    Courtesy, The Beaufort Gazette

    The Beaufort History Museum is moving back home.

    In early spring, the museum will leave City Hall to return to The Arsenal, which houses the city’s official visitor center at the corner of Craven and Carteret streets, said Blakely Williams, president of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.

    “From our point of view, it’s going to really enhance the visitor’s experience, to be able to come in and get all sorts of good information and then go upstairs and visit the museum,” she said.

    The chamber has a $1-per-year lease for 99 years with the city for The Arsenal. The chamber’s sublease with the museum also will be for $1 a year and is for five years, with a renewal option for another five, Williams said. It was signed Thursday after months of negotiations between chamber and museum boards.

    Museum board president Katherine Lang has long said her ultimate goal was to see the museum return to The Arsenal, where it is more accessible to residents and tourists.

    The exhibit and storage space will be smaller than it is now — from 3,500 square feet to 2,470 square feet. But it will allow a different configuration that will provide new display opportunities, she said. The museum board is commissioning a study to develop a long-range plan for museum improvements.

    Click here for the full Beaufort Gazette article.

  • Wednesday, October 16, 2013 4:47 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)
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    The Beaufort History Museum’s first class of volunteer docents will allow the museum to expand its hours and provide visitors with a more enjoyable and educational experience. Pictured, from left, are board member and docent training coordinator Anna Schaffer; Debra Sunderwirth; Julie Michau; board member and newly minted docent Gwen Myers; Nancy Andrepont; Carol Lauvray; Ray Gilligan; Lorrie Burleyknoles; and Leigh Spencer. Not pictured: Carla Marsh, Alex Marsh, Robbie Robertson, Louise Biedermann and board member and docent Alvesta Robertson.

    (Editor’s note: New classes of docents are trained regularly. For information about our fall 2014 sessions, download the information packet here.)

    Many visitors to the Beaufort History Museum are content to wander through the collection unguided, soaking up the experience on their own. But many appreciate the help of a docent, who can bring the exhibits to life by providing background, telling stories and answering questions.

    In fact, experiencing the museum with a docent is exactly what we recommend, and soon, that will be easier for our members and patrons.

    The first class of trained docents graduated Oct. 17, giving us 13 additional volunteers to make your visit more enjoyable and informative. Best of all, the additional staffing means we can expand hours and — for the first time since the museum re-opened in Beaufort City Hall in early 2011 — we will offer weekend hours.

    Starting Nov. 1, the museum at 1911 Boundary St. in Beaufort will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

    “Any small-town museum is only as strong as its volunteer corps,” said Beaufort History Museum board president Katherine Lang. “Having a vibrant docent group allows this museum to be sustainable.”

    The docent training program was coordinated by Anna Schaffer, another member of our all volunteer Board.  Applicants attended five, two-hour sessions, during which they learned about Beaufort’s rich history, from ancient times to the arrival of Europeans to the creation of the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

    “From this group, I really sensed we have not just a group of volunteers, but a group of active volunteers,” Schaffer said. “They all came in with research they have done on their own; they all came in with interest in local history and ideas about field trips we could take other than the ones scheduled.

    “This was really a roundtable experience with very knowledgable people. … And they now have an outlet to do what they love.”

    The group includes:

    Henry “Robbie” Robertson, who started a second career as a nurse after a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps.

    Louise Beiderman, who was a member of the Friends of the Beaufort Museum in the 1990s.

    Ray Gilligan, a salesman by trade and a lifetime sailor, Gilligan is a Bluffton resident with a abiding interest in area history.

    Dataw residents Alex Marsh, a retired marine biologist, and his wife, Carla, who is on the board of an historical organization in Boca Raton, Fla., their other home.

    Nancy Andrepont, who is a kayaker and the mother of some of Beaufort’s strongest swimmers;

    Gwen Myers, the Beaufort History Museum board vice president and owner of the Beaufort Clothing Company.

    Carol Lauvray, who hails from Ohio , where she worked in public relations and marketing, and was one of the first people to move to the Midtown development in Beaufort’s Northwest Quadrant neighborhood.

    Julie Michau, a long-time resident of the Old Point neighborhood.

    Lorrie Burleyknoles, a military wife and former manager at Whitehall.

    Lee Spencer, a recent transplant from Denver, Colo.

    Alvesta Robertson, also a museum board member. She is the historian of her church and taught at the historic Mather School in the late 1960s.

    Debra Sunderwirth works full-time as a dental hygienist at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

    For all their diversity, these newest contributors and members of the Beaufort History Museum family have in common a love of Beaufort, history, and learning, a desire to contribute to their community, and a sense of adventure. They are having fun together, going on field trips and planning new ones, and adding their own knowledge to the group.

    Sunderwirth will be at the museum on Sunday afternoons, the one day, as she puts it “she can do something for herself.” Lauvray says she came to Beaufort because it is not only beautiful, but a “real place.” Robbie Robertson says he has never done anything in his life that he didn’t love, and we’re confident that will include helping museum visitors get the most out of our exhibits.

    Sound like fun to you, too?

    The first training session went so well, Schaffer has decided to follow quickly with a second session. An informational meeting is set for 10 a.m. Oct. 31 at the museum. To fit our volunteers’ schedules, they can choose sessions from 10 a.m. to noon or from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dates are Nov. 7, 14, 21 (no classes Thanksgiving week) and Dec. 5, 12. Don’t let a schedule conflict deter you from volunteering, either — make-up sessions Dec. 8 and 15 will accommodate those who miss one of the regular classes or who want to complete the training on the weekends. Docents are required to become museum members, if they are not already. In addition, there is a $25 charge to cover the cost of training materials and other supplies.

  • Sunday, October 13, 2013 4:50 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)
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    On Oct. 29, you can have your John Coctostan AND help the Beaufort History Museum.

    Moe’s Southwest Grill will donate a percentage of its proceeds to the museum during a special promotion from 5 to 9 p.m. that evening. That means you can order the popular quesadilla — or the Overachiever taco or the Homewrecker burrito or whatever menu item your heart desires — and contribute to the growth of Beaufort’s museum.

    Moe’s is located at 2015 Boundary St., in Beaufort Town Center. Just tell the cashier you’re there to help the Beaufort History Museum.

  • Tuesday, September 03, 2013 4:51 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    Like much of the history of South Carolina’s black community, stories of the 1st S.C. Volunteers — the first official black regiment of the Union Army — have been largely by word of mouth.

    ”Sometimes, you sit down and talk about things that have occurred here, and when you bring in people who are visiting or have moved into the area, they are truly amazed at what occurred,” said Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen, whose great-great-grandfather was a soldier in the regiment.

    “It’s one of those things I’m proud that at least my ancestors passed on to me.” Part of that history will take more concrete form Thursday when the Beaufort History Museum unveils its “1st S.C. Volunteers: From Slaves to Soldiers to Citizens” exhibit.

  • Thursday, August 08, 2013 4:53 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)
    1st S.C. Volunteers muster This is Sgt. Henry Simmons of the 1st SC Colored Troops. This is Sgt. Henry Simmons of the 1st SC Colored Troops.


    The 1st S.C. Volunteers, who were also known as the 1st S.C. Colored Troops, were officially mustered the same day they were granted their freedom — when the Emancipation Proclamation was read in Beaufort, S.C., Jan. 1, 1863. Until that day, they were “contraband,” to be considered spoils of the war between the Union and the Confederacy. With an exhibit that follows the soldiers from slavery to Civil War to Reconstruction, we tell their story.

    Though technically still slaves until that point, the men had been fighting for the Union since November 1862. But It took a visit from native Beaufortonian Robert Smalls to convince President Abraham Lincoln — in part by his own, heroic example — that slaves could make good soldiers. Evidence suggests that this visit, coupled with the self-evident fact that slaves here already were fighting, might have hastened the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

    The exhibit to honor their part in Beaufort’s history will run from September through December, along with these events:

    Thursday, Sept. 5: Exhibit opening gala at museum, with food, music and libations. The event will feature Select Quartets of the Junior Symphony Orchestra Ami Rabinowitz & David Laughlin. Times are 6 to 9 p.m. at the museum in Beaufort City Hall on Boundary Street. Tickets for museum members are $25; tickets for non-members are $35. Both tickets and memberships will be available at the door.

    Friday, Sept. 13: “The Interruption of Thomas Darrow.”  Tim Johnston of Short Story America will read his story about a Union soldier who is on duty for the execution of the co-conspirators in the assassination of President Lincoln.

    Friday, Sept. 20: “Glory.” Joseph McGill, historian and 54th Massachusetts re-enactor, will present the movie at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts.

    Saturday, Sept. 21: Encampment of 1st S.C. Volunteers, led by Joseph McGill, at Naval Heritage Park in Port Royal.

    Also during September is the Beaufort Public Library’s “Reading the Civil War” series of events and Artworks’ presentation of Natalie Daise in “Becoming Harriet Tubman,” Sept. 6-8, 2013. Other related events are planned throughout Beaufort County.

    1st SC VOL INF MUSTER and Emanc Proc - Copy 1st SC VOL INF in formation - Copy
  • Saturday, July 13, 2013 4:56 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    “The Interruption of Thomas Darrow”

    The Beaufort History Museum presents Tim Johnston reading his original short story about a Union soldier who has been assigned to work at the execution of the convicted co-conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.   The story has been published in two short story collections, most recently in the first volume of Short Story America,which will be available for purchase.

    Time and date: 7 p.m. Friday, September 13, 2013

    Location:  City Council Chambers, 2d floor, Beaufort City Hall, 1911 Boundary St., Beaufort, SC  29902

    Price:  To be determined

    Contact information: Katherine Lang, Beaufort History Museum,

  • Saturday, July 13, 2013 4:55 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    The Beaufort History Museum is mounting an exhibit about the first former slaves to be officially recognized as Union soldiers in the Civil War.  These soldiers were mustered in on the same day they were given their freedom, as part of a jubilee at the reading here of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.  Robert Smalls helped convince President Abraham Lincoln that they would be able troops, and there is evidence that the proclamation was hurried to accommodate their enlistment. In addition, the museum will help conduct a showing of the movie “Glory,” which closely follows the story of the 54th and 1st S.C. Volunteers.


    Time and date: Opening Gala, September 5, 2013.

    Exhibit open Tuesday through Thursday, 10-12 p.m., 2-4 p.m., September -December.

    Location:  Beaufort History Museum at City Hall, 1911 Boundary St., Beaufort, SC  29902

    Price:  $3 per person for exhibit; price for opening to be announced.

    Contact  info:  Call Katherine Lang, Beaufort History Museum. 


    Description:   Historian and 54th Massachusetts Regiment re-enactor Joseph McGill will introduce the movie, “Glory,” and discuss how closely it follows what we know about the 54th & the 1st SC Volunteers.

    Time and Date:  7 p.m., Friday, September 20, 2013

    Location:  City Council Chamber, Beaufort City Hall, Beaufort, SC  29902

    Price:  To be determined

    Contact info:  Katherine Lang, Beaufort History Museum.


    Description:  Joseph McGill and between 5 and 10 other re-enactors will create an encampment as the 1st SC Volunteers

    Time and date: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, September 21, 2013

    Location:  Naval Hospital Park (near the Port Royal Farmers’ Market), off Ribaut Road, Port Royal, SC.

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

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