• Saturday, February 16, 2019 11:28 AM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    Beaufort History Museum Announces Spring Docent Training

    Classes begin March 6, 2019

                Beaufort, SC –February 16, 2019 – Beaufort History Museum is offering Docent Classes to train volunteers who lead Museum tours and serve as community liaisons. In the classes, directed by Docent Educator Lorrie Burleyknoles, participants learn how Beaufort shaped America from the early European settlements to current times.

    Classes will be held at the historic Arsenal at 713 Craven Street. Space in the class is limited and those interested in attending the five-week session are encouraged to register early. For more information on the Docent program, or other volunteer opportunities with the Museum, contact or call 559-362-3237.

    Spring Docent Training classes are scheduled from 9-11 AM on March 6, 13, 20, 27 and April 3, 2019 (all Wednesdays) in the first floor conference room of the Arsenal. To earn Docent certification all five classes must be completed.           

    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 to the modern era.   

    The Museum’s hours of operation are 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Monday – Saturday. Docents are on duty to provide information and conduct tours. Admission is $7.00 per visitor ($6.00 for Seniors). Children and active military are admitted free of charge.  Please visit or BHM’s Facebook page for updates and news from the Museum.

  • Friday, February 15, 2019 10:55 AM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    Beaufort History Museum Announces Living History Encampment

    Union Troops to Occupy the Beaufort Arsenal March 9

    Beaufort, SC – February 15, 2019 - Beaufort History Museum will present its fourth annual Living History Encampment on Saturday, March 9, 2019 from 9 AM – 5 PM in the Arsenal courtyard. Re-enactors coming to Beaufort from several states will portray Union troops from the Department of the South who were garrisoned in the Lowcountry and occupied the Beaufort Arsenal during the Civil War. The re-enactors will set up camp in the walled Arsenal courtyard and provide a unique educational opportunity for visitors of all ages, who will be able to interact with the soldiers to learn firsthand how life was lived in Beaufort during the Civil War years. A Civil War era cannon also will be on display in the Arsenal courtyard the day of the event.

    This year for the Encampment, the Museum is partnering with the National Park Service (NPS) and its Reconstruction Era National Monument visitors center, located in the old Firehouse building on Craven Street across from the Arsenal. The Museum’s highly acclaimed exhibit Reconstruction Beaufort is on display at NPS’ visitors center, which will be open the day of the Encampment. Beaufort is the place where Reconstruction first began, during the early years of the Civil War. The National Park Service plans special activities the day of the Encampment event for kids who want to earn their Junior Ranger badges.

     “Our annual Living History Encampment is one of the Museum’s most popular events, attracting hundreds of visitors in a single day”, said Carol Lauvray, BHM Board of Directors President. “We are very grateful to the encampment organizer, Lou Evans, to the other re-enactors, and to Scott Teodorski, Superintendent of the Park Service’s Reconstruction Era National Monument, for partnering with the Museum to make this remarkable event available to the public.” 

    Admission is free to the Encampment in the Arsenal courtyard, however donations to support the Museum are much appreciated. On the day of the Encampment event, admission to the Museum’s newly renovated Exhibition Hall on the second floor of the Arsenal will be specially priced at $5.00 per visitor ($4.00 for Seniors). Museum members, children, and active military and their families are admitted to the Museum free of charge at all times. Admission is free to the National Park Service’s Reconstruction Era National Monument visitors center.

    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.

  • Wednesday, January 16, 2019 5:19 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    Beaufort History Museum and Beaufort County Historical Society, both celebrating their 80th Anniversaries, are collaborating with the historic Tabernacle Baptist Church and Beaufort County Library to present a lecture by University of South Carolina Professor W. Lewis Burke.

    The lecture titled “William J. Whipper and Jonathan Jasper Wright: Beaufort and South Carolina’s first Civil Rights Lawyers”, will take place at 6:00 PM on February 7, 2019 at Tabernacle Baptist Church, located at 907 Craven Street. The cost is $10 for an on-line reservation and $15 at the door. Registration is currently open by clicking here.

    Burke’s current book, All for Civil Rights: African American Lawyers in South Carolina 1868-1968, will be available for purchase at a book signing and reception following his talk at the discounted price of $45. In addition, the Beaufort District Collection (BDC) of Beaufort County Library will present a slideshow of items from its holdings about lawyers William J. Whipper and Jonathan Jasper Wright, as well as about the Beaufort County Historical Society and Beaufort History Museum.

    In his book Burke writes, “The history of the black lawyer in South Carolina is one of the most significant untold stories of the long and troubled struggle for equal rights in the state.” Beginning in Reconstruction and continuing to the modern civil rights era, 168 black lawyers were admitted to the South Carolina bar. All for Civil Rights is the first book-length study devoted to those lawyers’ struggles and achievements in the state that had the largest black population in the country, by percentage, until 1930—and that was a majority black state through 1920.

    Burke is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University of South Carolina School of Law. He also wrote At Freedom’s Door: African American Founding Fathers and Lawyers in Reconstruction South Carolina.

    This talk is a collaborative presentation by Beaufort County Historical Society, Beaufort History Museum and Tabernacle Baptist Church, in cooperation with Beaufort County Library. Beaufort History Museum, located in the historic Arsenal on Craven Street, was founded in 1939 and 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 more information visit the Museum’s website or Facebook page.

  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019 5:06 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    Featured in Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine

    Story by Carol Lauvray
    Photos by Susan DeLoach

    President Barack Obama issued a proclamation on January 12, 2017 establishing the Reconstruction Era National Monument in Beaufort County, South Carolina. The monument is a unit of the National Park Service consisting of historic sites from the Reconstruction Era—Penn Center’s Darrah Hall and Brick Baptist Church on St. Helena Island and the Camp Saxton site in Port Royal—along with the Old Beaufort Firehouse in the Beaufort National Historic Landmark District in downtown Beaufort.

    If you’ve passed the old firehouse on Craven Street, you may have noticed it’s now the Reconstruction Era National Monument visitor center, which has been closed much of the time. That will change beginning in January when Scott Teodorski, the NPS’ newly appointed permanent superintendent of the national monument, opens the visitor center on a more regular basis to tell the story of how the Reconstruction Era started right here in Beaufort!

    The Reconstruction Era National Monument—Decades In The Making
    Reconstruction is a story that began nearly 160 years ago in the Sea Islands of the Lowcountry in the early months of the Civil War. The story of the Reconstruction Era National Monument in Beaufort has unfolded over the past two decades, with the support of hundreds of people within this community and nationally.

    “The National Park Service’s involvement in creating the Reconstruction Era National Monument goes back to 2000, when former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt recognized that Reconstruction was a large part of this country’s history that was not being told by the Park Service,” Superintendent Teodorski says. “There’s not a better place than Beaufort to use as a platform to tell the story of Reconstruction.”

    Upon the President’s January 2017 proclamation establishing the Reconstruction Era National Monument in Beaufort, U.S. Representative James E. Clyburn released a statement reinforcing why Beaufort was chosen for the monument:

    … Reconstruction had some of its earliest and most significant impact in Beaufort County, South Carolina. For the last two decades, many communities in Beaufort County have worked to recognize and preserve their Reconstruction heritage and to create a unit of the National Park Service linking these historic sites together. Today’s announcement is a great tribute to their years of work and sacrifice on this endeavor.
    Penn Center, originally called Penn School, was established in 1862 as the first school in the South for former slaves.

    The Board of Trustees has donated Darrah Hall, the oldest building on Penn Center’s campus, to the National Park Service to be used as an interpretive center. I extend my thanks to Chairman Clifford Bush, Executive Director Rodell Lawrence, and the entire Board of Trustees and staff for their contributions to this important cause.

    Brick Baptist Church, adjacent to Penn Center, was built in 1855 by slaves.
    Before Penn School expanded to its current location, early classes were held in the Brick Baptist Church building, which still stands today. Under the leadership of Rev. Abraham Murray, the church is now part of the national monument, and the congregation donated a historic preservation easement to the National Park Service to ensure this structure will be preserved in perpetuity.

    Downtown Beaufort features many historic sites from the era, and the national monument will include the old firehouse building to be used as a visitor center for the many significant Reconstruction Era sites in the area. I want to thank Mayor Billy Keyserling for his family’s donation of the building and for all of his advocacy and efforts to galvanize community support for this designation.

    The monument also features the Camp Saxton Site in Port Royal where on January 1, 1863, Union General Rufus Saxton assembled 3,000 slaves from the surrounding Sea Islands to read the Emancipation Proclamation, the first such reading in the South. On the grounds of the U.S. Naval Hospital Beaufort, this site will be opened up to the public once an agreement between the Navy and the National Park Service is finalized …

    In his statement, Rep. Clyburn also thanked Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, and the staffs of the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service, as well as former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and the Conservation Lands Foundation, for their support of the Reconstruction Era National Monument.

    Community Support For The Reconstruction Era National Monument
    During a public meeting held at Brick Church in December 2016, Rep. Clyburn and National Park Service Director Jarvis witnessed unanimous community support for the proposed monument from an overflowing crowd.

    Scott Teodorski says, “A big part of what brought me to Beaufort to act as superintendent of the monument is this community. Everyone here is so excited about and supportive of the Reconstruction Era National Monument,” he emphasized. “Mayor Billy Keyserling was on the cutting edge of the efforts to create the monument here and it’s been a community-driven effort from the beginning. The monument is in Beaufort as a result of bi-partisan Congressional support and the amazing efforts of local officials, the Park Service’s community partners, and the Beaufort community.”

    Community partners who are making the Reconstruction Era National Monument possible include: Penn Center; Rev. Abraham Murray and the congregation of Brick Church; Port Royal Mayor Sam Murray and the U.S. Naval Hospital Beaufort; and Mayor Billy Keyserling and Paul Keyserling, who donated the Old Beaufort Firehouse for the monument.
    Penn Center board chair and acting interim director Marion Burns says Darrah Hall, built in the late 1800s, is the oldest existing building on the Penn Center campus. Superintendent Teodorski emphasized that Penn Center’s donation of Darrah Hall is a “game changer.” Traditionally used as a community center, it will be used by the Park Service as an information and education center for the monument and continue to be available for special events.
    Teodorski calls Brick Baptist Church “ground zero” for Reconstruction saying, “It was built by hand by slaves and some of the early classes for freedmen were taught in the church.” The congregation has donated a facade easement, allowing the Park Service to maintain the church’s exterior as well as its grounds, which Rev. Murray says include separate cemeteries for slaves and their white masters.

    The Camp Saxton site on the grounds of the Naval Hospital in Port Royal is not currently open to the public, however, Teodorski says the Park Service is working with the Navy and town to make the site accessible, so visitors can stand where Union troops came ashore at the camp. Mayor Sam Murray shared plans to move the historic Porters Chapel to the Naval Heritage Park to serve as an interpretive center for the monument.

    Teodorski also praised Beaufort History Museum, located in the historic Arsenal, for its partnership with the Park Service and its long-term loan of BHM’s Reconstruction Beaufort exhibit, now on display in the NPS visitor center.

    Reconstruction Began In Beaufort
    President Obama’s Proclamation making Beaufort County the Reconstruction Era National Monument provides insight into why Reconstruction began in Beaufort:

    The Reconstruction Era, a period spanning the early Civil War years until the start of Jim Crow racial segregation in the 1890s, was a time of significant transformation in the United States, as the Nation grappled with the challenge of integrating millions of newly freed African Americans into its social, political, and economic life. It was in many ways the Nation’s Second Founding, as Americans abolished slavery and struggled earnestly, if not always successfully, to build a nation of free and equal citizens. During Reconstruction, Congress passed the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth constitutional amendments that abolished slavery, guaranteed due process and equal protection under the law, and gave all males the ability to vote by prohibiting voter discrimination based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Ultimately, the unmet promises of Reconstruction led to the modern civil rights movement a century later.

    The Reconstruction Era began when the first United States soldiers arrived in slaveholding territories, and enslaved people on plantations and farms and in cities escaped from their owners and sought refuge with Union forces or in free states. This happened in November 1861 in the Sea Islands or “Lowcountry” of southeastern South Carolina, and Beaufort County in particular.

    Beaufort County became one of the first places in the United States where formerly enslaved people could begin integrating themselves into free society. While the Civil War raged in the background, Beaufort County became the birthplace of Reconstruction … [and] a novel social experiment, known as the Port Royal Experiment, to help former slaves become self-sufficient.

    In and around Beaufort County during Reconstruction, the first African Americans enlisted as soldiers, the first African American schools were founded, early efforts to distribute land to former slaves took place, and many of the Reconstruction Era’s most significant African American politicians, including Robert Smalls, came to prominence. African American political influence and land ownership endured there long after setbacks in other regions. In short, events and people from Beaufort County illustrate the most important challenges of Reconstruction—crucial questions related to land, labor, education, and politics after the destruction of slavery—and some early hopeful efforts to address them. The significant historical events that transpired in Beaufort County make it an ideal place to tell stories of experimentation, potential transformation, hope, accomplishment, and disappointment. In Beaufort County, including St. Helena Island, the town of Port Royal, and the city of Beaufort, many existing historic objects demonstrate the transformative effect of emancipation and Reconstruction.

    The Future of the Reconstruction Era National Monument
    “How to Remember Reconstruction,” an article written by Gregory P. Downs and Kate Masur, authors of the National Historical Landmark Theme Study and Fact Book on Reconstruction, was published in November in The New York Times. In their article, Drs. Downs and Masur called on Congress to pass the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park Act. They say the act “would empower the National Park Service to connect Reconstruction sites all around the country; encourage visitors to talk about Reconstruction at local historical sites; and help convey the full story of how America was remade after the Civil War.”

    Mayor Keyserling says the legislation, introduced by Rep. James Clyburn and co-sponsored by Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, would: 1) change the name of the monument to the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park; 2) expand the park’s boundaries to encompass the entire downtown Beaufort Historic National Landmark District (including sites like Tabernacle Baptist Church where Robert Smalls is buried and Smalls’ house on Prince Street) and include all of St. Helena Island; and 3) authorize the NPS to launch a national network of Reconstruction Era sites overseen from the national park in Beaufort County.

    Scott Teodorski thinks the future of the Reconstruction Era National Monument is bright, with Beaufort’s unrivaled Reconstruction Era sites and history, and the enthusiastic support of this community. “I’m excited about hiring park rangers and staff. My first priority is to open the sites so visitors can experience first-hand the stories of the Reconstruction Era!”

  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019 4:58 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    Featured in Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine

    Story by Carol Lauvray
    Photos by Susan DeLoach

    The Road Leading to Beaufort
    “I’m definitely a glass-half-full kind of person and believe that serendipity has been prominent in many aspects of my life,” Larry Koolkin says smiling.

    Larry and his wife Lainie had been living in the Northeast for much of the past several decades when they found Beaufort by chance, while looking for someplace warmer to call home in retirement. He recalls that during the winters of 2012 and 2013, they embarked from their Vermont home on an adventure down the east coast and across to Galveston, Texas, where they had previously lived. “We were exploring to find the right place—a place that would speak to us,” he says. “We camped in South Carolina at Huntington Beach, Edisto and Hunting Island, in Georgia, and along the panhandle of Florida.” Larry says they thought about moving to Edisto or Charleston, but instead said to each other, “Let’s move to Beaufort—and that was that!”

    The Path to Beaufort’s History
    “I’ve collected vintage books involving pirates, treasure, adventure, exploration and the Age of Discovery for the last 40 years,” says Larry.  “When we moved to Beaufort in 2014, I had no idea of the depth of local history—the European exploration, pre-Colonial and Revolutionary War history, the antebellum period, the Civil War, the Reconstruction Era, and the Civil Rights history that happened right here in Beaufort.”

    Larry related that shortly after arriving in Beaufort, he saw an article about the archeological discovery of the Spanish colony of Santa Elena on what is now Parris Island. “Sixteenth Century history is really my sweet spot, so I contacted Andy Beall, who was referenced in the article, to talk with him and learn more.” Larry met with Beall and Michael Marks, the former director of the Coastal Discovery Museum, to learn about the new Santa Elena Foundation and its plans. Larry says, “I left that meeting as a co-chair, along with Michael, of Santa Elena’s Building and Exhibits Committee, with the responsibility of planning and developing the exhibit for the new Santa Elena History Center.”

    During the 18-month project to develop Santa Elena’s new exhibits, Larry says he worked closely with Carol Poplin from the Charleston-based exhibit design firm HW Exhibits (formerly known as The History Workshop). “During the project, I also developed a wonderful friendship with Dr. Chester DePratter, discoverer of French Charlesfort and the archaeologist who conducted extensive excavations at the Santa Elena site on Parris Island.” The grand opening of the Santa Elena History Center and its inaugural exhibit was celebrated on April 30, 2016.

    Serendipity—being in the right place at the right time—and possessing the experience, skills and keen interest in 16th Century history to take on this kind of project, led Larry to this exciting volunteer opportunity in his new home town. His life experiences had prepared him to successfully manage the development of Santa Elena History Center’s project.

    “I’ve had broad experience and success in applied information technology, finance, international business, and museums, as an entrepreneur who has helped to successfully launch and manage a half dozen companies,” Larry said. “Along the way, I’ve held senior positions at MIT’s Project Athena, Ernst & Young International and Ross Capital Markets (both in Bermuda), Springboard Technology Ventures in Prague, and the Boston Museum of Science—and earned graduate degrees in both Museum Studies and Applied Computer Science.” He continued, “After enjoying a 35-year entrepreneurial technology career, volunteering led to working on staff at Boston’s Museum of Science and developed into a new career when I joined their Exhibits Department.”

    In September of 2015, while Larry was still in the midst of managing the development and installation of Santa Elena’s inaugural exhibit, the board of directors of Beaufort History Museum (BHM) asked him to consider joining their board. The museum manages the city of Beaufort’s collections of artifacts, photos and documents and is located in the historic Arsenal. BHM was looking for board members who possessed expertise in the areas of both technology and museum exhibits, so Larry’s background was a perfect fit and truly serendipitous for the museum. Because BHM is an all-volunteer organization, the members of its board are directly involved in all aspects of the museum’s management, projects and events.

    Since joining Beaufort History Museum’s board, Larry has updated and streamlined every aspect of the museum’s technology infrastructure—from creating a new engaging website built atop an organizational membership management platform … to serving as the museum’s Webmaster … to researching, planning and installing systems to monitor the environment and security of the museum’s exhibits and collections.

    Larry was also instrumental in leading the development of the museum’s exhibits over the past three years in his role of co-chairman of the museum’s Exhibits Committee. With the assistance of BHM board member Steve Guida, Larry managed the project to develop the museum’s exhibit, Reconstruction Beaufort: Islands of Hope in a Sea of Distress. That exhibit, funded by accommodations tax grants from the city of Beaufort and Beaufort County, opened at Beaufort History Museum in the summer of 2016. It was a visionary project of the museum to educate the community and visitors about the importance of the Reconstruction Era in Beaufort. The exhibit was developed in large part through the work of many of BHM’s volunteer board members, including Katherine Lang and Paul Keyserling, two members of the original board when the museum was re-formed in 2011. The museum’s Reconstruction Beaufort exhibit is now on long-term loan to the National Park Service’s Reconstruction Era National Monument visitor center, located on Craven Street across from the Arsenal.
    Larry explains that to promote the history of Beaufort, the museum has formed partnerships with many local history-oriented organizations. Among these are Santa Elena History Center, Historic Beaufort Foundation’s Verdier House, Fort Fremont, Penn Center, and the National Park Service’s Reconstruction Era National Monument.

    As co-chair of the museum’s Exhibits Committee, Larry has also led a multi-year, phased project to completely transform Beaufort History Museum’s main exhibit gallery space, working with BHM’s committee members and HW Exhibits of Charleston. He explains that the first phase of the newly renovated exhibit hall, which opened in May 2018, features colorful and engaging exhibit panels that chronologically detail Beaufort’s pre-historic period through its dramatic 500-year history. Larry states that the second phase of the museum’s renovation project will include additional artifacts, as well as interactive technologies, to engage visitors of all ages and tell Beaufort’s story.

    “I’m proud of what I’ve been involved in accomplishing these past three years at Beaufort History Museum in the realms of administration, technology, security, exhibits and collections,” he says. “We’ve achieved a great deal of success in BHM’s exhibits, reflecting our mission of educating visitors about the history of Beaufort County.”
    With a wry smile Larry adds, “Some visitors still remember the shrunken head and two-headed snake from the museum years ago and ask where they went!”

    The Future
    Larry lost his wife Lainie to cancer in 2016, after 43 years together. “In 2018, I was invited to join the board of the Friends of Caroline Hospice, a cause close to my heart. I want to continue to focus my volunteering where it can have an impact,” he explains. “I’m enjoying time with friends and family and traveling again, especially visiting with my daughter Kristin, granddaughter Madeleine and son-in-law Mark, still up in Vermont—not to mention my brother Bob who moved to Beaufort last year!”

    He adds, “Although I won’t be serving as a board member after my term expires in January, I look forward to continuing my active support of Beaufort History Museum as its Webmaster and to participating as a member of its Exhibits Committee, as we complete the second phase of the museum’s total exhibition hall renovation.”

  • Sunday, December 30, 2018 2:09 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)


    ANNUAL MEMBERS’ MEETING, Members and Public Invited

    You are cordially invited to attend Beaufort History Museum's Annual Members' Meeting on Thursday, January 31, 2019 at 6:00 PM at Beth Israel Synagogue's Social Hall, 401 Scott Street, Beaufort, SC 29902.

    After the meeting, please join us for a reception featuring hors d' oeuvres and wines in the Museum on the second floor of the Arsenal at 713 Craven Street.  Come to see the Museum's newly renovated main Exhibit Hall and the special exhibit Beaufort in Films, now being presented in partnership with Ron and Rebecca Tucker of the Beaufort International Film Festival.

    Click Here to see the complete agenda, program, and full financial reports.

                Beaufort, SC – December 31, 2018 - Museum members and the public are invited to attend the Annual Meeting of Beaufort History Museum (BHM) on Thursday, January 31, 2018 at 6:00 PM in the Social Hall of Beth Israel Synagogue, located at 401 Scott St. (entrance at the side door), adjacent to the Arsenal. .

    At the meeting, milestones of the past year will be celebrated and plans for 2019 will be revealed, including a recap of Phase I of the renovation of the Museum’s main exhibit hall, which opened to the public in May, and updates on Phase II, which is now being planned. Current Museum members also will vote on a slate of Board of Directors nominees. The slate will be presented to BHM members in advance of the annual meeting via email.

    Board President Carol Lauvray announced the annual meeting and also provided a preview of events sponsored by the Museum that will take place in the coming months. Included are:

    • January 10, 2019, 4 PM – 6 PM:  A reception with popcorn and soft drinks will be held at the Museum to celebrate a special exhibit, Beaufort In Films, being presented in partnership with Ron and Rebecca Tucker of the Beaufort Film Society. The exhibit, featuring movie posters and memorabilia from films made in Beaufort, will be on display at the Museum through February 28, 2019. The annual Beaufort International Film Festival will be held February 19 – 24, 2019.
    • February – April 2019:  Ongoing presentation of the popular History Lecture Series.  This series, developed in partnership with the Beaufort Public Library, has presented lectures on Beaufort District history, which have been filled to capacity.  The next lecture in the series is scheduled for February 7, 2019 (visit for details).
    •  March, 2019 (Dates to be announced): The fourth annual Living History Encampment in the Arsenal Courtyard featuring Civil War era re-enactors in period dress.
    • Tuesday, May 7, 2019: The fifth annual Beaufort History Museum Tea, a fundraiser, Pearls of Wisdom, to be held at the Dataw Island Club.

    Refreshments to follow:

    Following the annual meeting, a reception featuring hors d’oeuvres and wines will be held at 7:00 PM at the Museum on the second floor of the Arsenal, located at 713 Craven St.

    Those who wish to renew their Museum memberships or to become new members, may do so at the meeting or via the Museum’s website at

    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. 

  • Friday, December 14, 2018 8:44 AM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    By Jeff Kidd

    Retired University of South Carolina Beaufort Chancellor Jane Upshaw remembers well the hectic day of travel between Columbia and Beaufort in December 2002 -- arguably the most important day in the school’s history.

    In the morning, she traveled to Columbia, where she had to convince the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees to endorse the Beaufort branch’s bid to award four-year baccalaureate degrees. If they agreed, that evening she would go before Beaufort County Council to sell them on a tax plan to fund construction of a new campus in Southern Beaufort County.

    Fortunately, Upshaw says, she did not travel alone that day.

    With her was the influential Brantley Harvey Jr., a former state legislator and lieutenant governor who played an outsized role in shaping education, roadways and the arts in Beaufort County.

    Harvey died Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, at Beaufort Memorial Hospital after a short illness. He was 88.

    Recalling the pivotal day in USCB history and Harvey's role in it, Upshaw said in an interview earlier this month: “I’ll tell you this -- Brantley was the one I could always count on to come and speak when it mattered most, and the statements he made were always taken to heart because of his standing as a leader in the state of South Carolina."

    County Council had made it clear that without the USC board’s support in making USCB a four-year institution, school leaders could forget about help financing a new campus. So at the meeting that morning, Harvey’s wife Helen – a power in her own right and member of the Board of Trustees – helped sway her colleagues to support USCB’s bid. Meanwhile, Harvey worked with the board to craft a resolution  that would satisfy County Council’s demands.

    That evening, Harvey helped sway County Council to accept a tax-increment finance plan to build the Hilton Head Island Gateway campus in Okatie. It opened in 2004.

    “He was such a willing speaker, and it’s almost impossible to exaggerate the importance of Brantley and Helen Harvey in helping make USCB what it is today,” said Upshaw, who retired as chancellor in 2015. 

    It wasn’t merely Harvey’s political and legal experience that gave his words force: A few years before that frenetic Monday in 2002, he and his wife donated $1 million for a scholarship fund and development of the southern Beaufort County campus. 

    The donation was but one of Harvey’s bona fides as a civic leader. In addition to holding elective office, he served stints on state and regional boards governing education, highways and tourism. The Beaufort Marine Institute and the Beaufort Symphony Orchestra were among his many philanthropic interests. He was active in Beaufort's First Presbyterian Church.

    “Brantley was a giant in every way — personally, professionally and politically,” state Sen. Tom Davis, a partner in Harvey’s law firm, said in a Facebook post Dec. 13, 2018. “He was an excellent lawyer, a fine statesman, a true and loyal friend, and a loving father and husband. I will miss him very much.”

    Harvey was born in Walterboro in 1930 — Beaufort didn’t have a hospital at the time — and grew up on The Point. The neighborhood was a veritable cradle of future city leaders — Henry and Ben Chambers, Willie Scheper, Wyatt Pringle, Neal Aimar, Sherwood Harris. They grew up crabbing and fishing together. They handcrafted boats from packing crates and coated them with red lead paint to keep them from rotting. They paddled them until they fell apart, then build replacements. These childhood voyages instilled a lifetime love of the water, and Harvey grew into an accomplished sailor, competing in regattas and frequently sailing along the East Coast. 

    He attended public schools and was valedictorian of Beaufort High School’s 1947 class. He went on to graduate magna cum laude from The Citadel, spent two years as an officer in the U.S. Army, then earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1955. He joined his father’s law firm, known today as Harvey & Battey, at a time when both the practice and the area were primed for rapid growth. Harvey’s real estate title work helped the U.S. Department of the Navy acquire land for the Laurel Bay military housing community and expand the reactivated Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, which had been mothballed for about 10 years after World War II.

    Harvey followed his father into law and into politics, as well. Brantley Harvey Sr. had served in the state Senate, and Brantley Jr. was elected to the House of Representatives in 1958. A lifelong Democrat, Harvey courted the African-American vote at a time when race and segregation issues ripped at the fabric of the party, which had dominated South Carolina politics since Reconstruction.

    “My father helped me because he was respected and he worked with all kinds of people,” Harvey recalled in his memoirs, published in 2015. “That was my introduction to politics. I liked the people I met, and I loved public service. It was good to feel that I was doing something for my country and my state.”

    Harvey served in the House of Representatives until 1974, when he was elected lieutenant governor. In the same election cycle, Jim Edwards was elected governor, the first Republican to win that office since Reconstruction. Despite their different party affiliations, Harvey said he worked well with Edwards, who frequently sent him abroad to recruit business to South Carolina. 

    Harvey ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1978, garnering the most votes in the Democratic primary but losing in a runoff to Richard Riley, who went on to win the general election.

    Though that marked the end of his political career, the gubernatorial election was but a midpoint of his life in public service.

    As with education, Harvey’s impact on Beaufort County transportation is substantial. As a legislator, he helped remove the tolls from the bridges to Hilton Head and Fripp islands. Then, as a S.C. Department of Transportation commissioner, he was instrumental in obtaining the funding and approval for the Hilton Head Cross-Island Parkway, and the widening of U.S. 21 and U.S. 278. As organizing chairman of the Beaufort County Transportation Committee for almost eight years, he helped direct state gasoline-tax funds to improve and pave secondary roads throughout Beaufort County. 

    Harvey served on the Board of the Beaufort Marine Institute and, for a period, as its chairman. He held a leadership position with the Coastal Carolina Council of the Boy Scouts of America, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service to Boyhood award. He helped create industrial parks in northern Beaufort County and in Yemassee. He has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce; the United Way; the Historic Beaufort Foundation; the Beaufort Orchestra (as a violinist); Beaufort Performing Arts Center; the Salvation Army; and Beaufort Rotary Club. He and Helen attended Beaufort's First Presbyterian Church, where he was ordained and served as an elder.

    Helen Harvey passed away in 2010.

    In 2012, Harvey married Alice Deforest Klatt, a longtime friend and ordained Lutheran minister who moved back to Beaufort after her husband’s death. The couple lived in Marshlands, a historic home in The Point that Harvey and Helen purchased in 1974. 

  • Tuesday, October 30, 2018 8:16 AM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    Beaufort History Museum Lecture Scheduled for Thursday November 8...


                Beaufort, SC – October 30, 2018 - Noted authority Theodore Rosengarten will present a lecture titled “Tombee Revisited – Managing Enslaved Labor on a Sea Island Cotton Plantation,” at 2:00 PM on Thursday, November 8, at the Beaufort Branch Library, located at 311 Scott Street.  This is the second lecture in the Beaufort History Museum/Beaufort County Library 2018 Fall Local History Series.

                Admission to the lecture is free.  A donation of $5 is suggested and reservations are required.  To sign up CLICK HERE. Please print out the ticket and bring to the event.  Registration is currently open.    (Lectures sell out.  Those with tickets will be admitted first.)  Funds collected will be used to support ongoing Museum programs and the ongoing renovation of the Exhibit Hall currently underway. Phase I of the renovation was recently unveiled and planning for Phase II will begin in 2019

                Rosengarten received his A.B. from Amherst College and Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University. While his primary field of research and writing is African-American history, he has been a student of the Holocaust for more than 50 years and teaches courses on the subject at the College of Charleston and the Honors College at the University of South Carolina. He also directs workshops for middle and high school teachers and leads semi-annual study-abroad trips to Poland and Germany.

                The Beaufort County Library System is a free and accessible center of ideas, information, and resources that foster learning, community, and literacy. The Library provides open and guided access to a wide variety of media and programs to inform, inspire, and empower people in their pursuit of lifelong learning, personal enrichment, and cultural understanding.

                Beaufort History Museum, located in the historic Arsenal on Craven Street, 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 Museum’s hours of operation are 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Monday – Saturday.   Information on other events, volunteer opportunities and membership may be found on the website.

  • Saturday, October 20, 2018 2:50 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    Beaufort History Museum to Host Open House

    New Exhibits Featured

                            Beaufort, SC – October 5, 2018 - Beaufort History Museum will open its doors and welcome the public free of charge to an open house on Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 10:00 AM – 4 PM.  The newly renovated Exhibit Hall, which is located in the historic Arsenal on Craven Street, will be on display and Docents will be on hand to welcome visitors and answer questions.  Guests will also learn about the Museum’s volunteer opportunities and have an opportunity to obtain a Museum membership.

                In addition, as part of the Museum’s partnership with the National Park Service, the Reconstruction Era National Monument Visitor’s Center, which is just across the street from the Arsenal, will also be open to welcome visitors that day.  BHM’s informative exhibit Reconstruction Beaufort: Islands of hope in a Sea of Distress, is currently loaned and on display at NPS’ Visitors Center.

                “We are very pleased to welcome local residents and visitors to tour the new exhibits. Telling the stories of our 500 - year history and the dramatic impact it has had on the development of this country is our most important mission,” said BHM Board President Carol Lauvray.

                “Through our partnership with the National Park Service people will also have a chance to learn more about Reconstruction and experience our heritage on many different levels.  We are excited to share our history in ways that everyone can enjoy.”  

                HW Exhibits, a Charleston-based design firm, working with members of the Museum’s Exhibit Committee, created the recently completed exhibits based on the Museum’s impressive collection of artifacts and images. BHM’s materials display the history of the Beaufort District in storyboards organized into separate subject areas such as First People, European Exploration, Rice and Cotton, the Civil War, 20th Century Tourism and more.

                The principal Exhibit Hall will include three sections:

    • Ecology – examining how Beaufort District’s history is tied to the region’s geography, climate, landscape and ecology
    • Discovery and early settlement – exploring American Indian life ways through early exploration European settlement, the plantations era and the Civil War.
    • Modernization and growth – focusing on 20th century industries such as oystering phosphates, the military, truck farming and tourism.

          The recently redesigned exhibits comprise the first phase of a comprehensive two phase renovation of the Exhibit Hall.  Plans are underway for the second phase of the renovation, which will feature additional displays and integrated technological elements. The final phase of the renovation will be underway during 2019.

                Beaufort History Museum is located in the historic Arsenal at 713 Craven Street. Normal BHM hours of operation are 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Monday – Saturday. Docents are on duty to provide information and conduct tours. Please visit or the BHM Facebook page for updates and news from the Museum.   

  • Saturday, September 29, 2018 6:12 PM | Webmaster BHM (Administrator)

    "Take it all in at the Beaufort History Museum.There’s no better place to start reliving this area’s rich history than inside the historic, yellow-tinted Arsenal. Its roots go all the way back to 1939. Today, the museum’s new exhibit highlights the ecology, discovery, early settlement, and modernization of the small town..."

    Read the full story here!

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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