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  • 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.

  • Monday, June 10, 2013 4:57 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    The Beaufort History Museum is displaying a retrospective exhibit on the Water Festival from its beginning in 1955 to the present. Come see a collection of memorabilia from past Festivals, from photo albums to T-shirts, programs and newspaper clippings. Drop by the museum in Beaufort City Hall to see for yourself.

  • Monday, December 24, 2012 5:00 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    The second annual Beaufort History Museum board of trustees meeting will be 6 p.m. Jan. 23 at Beaufort City Hall, 1911 Boundary St. Trustees will present the 2013 budget and business plan, and members will vote on officers for the year. While nominations will be accepted during the meeting, the proposed slate is Libby Holloway for secretary, Harry Chakides for treasurer, Gwen Myers for vice president and Katherine Lang for president.

  • Wednesday, December 05, 2012 5:00 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    Six months after opening, the Beaufort History Museum is preparing its first special exhibit. The “Goin’ Down the River” display, which focuses on the Lowcountry tradition of fish camps, was inspired by a new book of the same title by local author and photographer Janet Garrity. The display opens with a reception Dec. 13 at the museum, housed on the first floor of City Hall.

  • Tuesday, November 20, 2012 5:01 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    The Beaufort History Museum invites you to a Fish Camp Celebration at City Hall on Thursday, December 13! Janet Garrity’s new book, Goin’ Down the River has sparked an interest in a low country lifestyle that is almost as old as Beaufort. This interest can be seen up close and personal (and realistically closer than you’ll get to a real “smelling the pluff mud” fish camp) at a new exhibition that opens Thursday, December 13, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Beaufort History Museum at City Hall.

    History Museum opens in Beaufort City Hall
    Published 05/22/2012,
    Beaufort is over 300 years old and has a lot of history. To help keep the city’s history alive, there’s now a Beaufort History Museum in City Hall. After a lot of hard work, volunteers recently opened the doors to the museum. Inside, they have photographs and artifacts, including pottery and tools dating back to the Native Americans.

    Beaufort’s museum escapes from musty clutter, formaldehyde
    Published on 05/17/2012, The Beaufort Gazette
    If at first you don’t succeed, get rid of the shrunken heads. The Beaufort History Museum, minus the oddities … find home at Beaufort History Museum thats051812 …

    Forgotten artifacts find home at Beaufort History Museum
    Published on 05/11/2012, The Beaufort Gazette
    For years, a collection of historical artifacts lay tucked away and forgotten. Time and improper storage took a toll on many of the items, while other pieces disappeared.

  • Friday, May 11, 2012 5:04 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)
    Beaufort Gazette



    Published Friday, May 11, 2012  


    Roger Steele hangs an American flag at the Beaufort History Museum inside City Hall Thursday afternoon. A crew of volunteers were on hand putting the finishing touches on the museum. (Photo: Jonathan Dyer)


    The Beaufort History Museum at City Hall. (Photo: Jonathan Dyer)

    For years, a collection of historical artifacts lay tucked away and forgotten. Time and improper storage took a toll on many of the items, while other pieces disappeared.

    What remains, however, is about to go on display at the Beaufort History Museum at City Hall, thanks to the efforts of a small group of residents.

    The museum will celebrate its grand opening May 19 with six weeks of free admission, so visitors can wander through the exhibits that trace the area's history chronologically from the time of early American Indians to modern times.

    "This is a work in progress, and it will continue to be a work in progress after it opens," said museum board president Katherine Lang, gesturing Thursday toward display cases filling with artifacts and images being prepared for hanging.

    The museum effort started in early 2011, and volunteers worked with preservationists and archeologists to identify and care for the items in the collection. The group is raising money to restore items like a large-wheeled antique bicycle and for digitizing images so originals can be kept in light- and temperature-controlled storage while copies are put on display, Lang said.

    "The most valuable part of our collection is probably our documents," she said. "They really tell the story of Beaufort."

    The grand opening celebration will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. May 19 at 1911 Boundary St. The museum will be staffed by volunteers, so hours are not set, but Land said it will be open two or three weekdays from about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and most Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. Days and times will be updated on the museum website:

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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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