Horry County Museum

School groups discover the history of the Grand Strand

08/21/2013
Experiential Learning

Visit Horry County, South Carolina for beach vacations, camp grounds, golf trips, fine dining, outlets stores, theme parks and the most modern tourism amenities available on the east coast. If these are the things that come to mind when you think of Horry County then you have got it right. But, when you think of Horry County do you also think of Waccamaw Indians, turpentine and naval stores, Gullah Gee Chee culture, Revolutionary war heroes, historic small towns, thriving agriculture traditions, rivers and swamps, and local arts and culture? If you don’t, then you still have a lot to learn about Horry County, South Carolina.

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The wonderful attractions that draw people to the Grand Strand each year are tremendous assets to Horry County. They bring people into our communities to enjoy the place we call home. While we are glad to share our tourist attractions with visitors to our area, we are equally excited about sharing our history, arts, and culture with visitors to our home. We want to encourage our visitors to step a little deeper into our history, turn off of 501 onto side roads of Horry County and experience a side of the beach they have never seen.

The Horry County Museum was opened in 1981. Over the years it has served as a hub of education for local visitors, and schools children alike. The Museum mission is to preserve, protect and educate the public about the history, prehistory, and natural history of Horry County. Over the past few years, the Horry County Museum has been going through a major transition. Being housed in an old 1935 Post Office with about 1,500 square feet of exhibit space for the past 30 years has placed some limits on what the museum could do. In the fall of 2013, the museum will be moving down Main Street into the Burroughs School, a 1905 vintage school building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This facility offers 10,000 square feet of exhibit space, increased collections storage and work space and an auditorium that seats over 600.

This move will allow for increased exhibits, programs, and better opportunities for school group tours. The galleries will include exhibits that feature historic photographs of Horry County, historic textiles, military history, natural history, history of the Grand Strand and the modern tourism industry, agriculture and naval stores, open storage exhibits and a future children’s gallery.

The gallery layout also includes two galleries that were designed to meet the Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibit Standards (SITES). This means that the facility will be capable of bringing in nationally recognized exhibits like those presented by the Smithsonian. The main focal point of the visitor’s introduction to the museum will be a freshwater aquarium intertwined with the staircase to the second story. This feature will bring students up close and personal with local freshwater plants and animals and open the door for educational discussions about natural history, water quality, cultural use of waterways, and underwater archaeology.

The potential power this facility will have for educational opportunities should be obvious. The auditorium will allow for educational programming on a regular basis to the public, but it will also serve as a large classroom for introducing students to the museum and conducting lessons based on S.C. curriculum standards. The diversity of exhibits and subject matter will create educational opportunities to suit any age or subject.

In addition to the upcoming museum project, the Horry County Museum also hosts the L.W. Paul Living History Farm. The Farm is a re-creation of a 1900-1955 family farm. The farm includes the family farmstead with livestock and active crops and farm community buildings including, syrup shed, wood working shop, blacksmith shop, saw mill and church. Although the farm represents what typical farm communities were like in Horry County, in reality it is typical of all farming communities in the southeast.

Class tours to the farm include guided tours and demonstrations. The students witness what domestic life was like in rural America, farming traditions and trades. The tour brings students face-to-face with living conditions, food ways, and lifestyles, of southeastern farmers in the first half of the 20th century. A favorite among the students is the working livestock on the farm. The farm is home to Minnie the mule, Daisy the milk cow, pigs, chickens,and turkeys.

Anyone interested in visiting the Museum or Farm can visit www.horrycountymuseum.org or call 843-915-5320. The museums are open from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
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Issue 18.3 | Winter/Spring 2017

Southeast Education Network

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