Beaufort museum works to move forward (with artifact photos)

You may recall the woes that plagued the Beaufort Museum over at The Arsenal, and the woes were many.

The Island Packet has a report that a committee formed to respond to the issues is working hard toward getting certain items on display by the end of the year.

You can check out the Packet report here and get a detailed overview of the group's progress in the letter below that was sent from the group to city council.

Scroll down to the bottom for some photos of the pieces.

June 21st letter from the Beaufort History Museum Committee 

On February 22, 2011, the Beaufort City Council charged the Beaufort History Museum Committee with the task of surveying and culling the collection of historic artifacts that belong to the City.

The task was made immeasurably easier by the inventory previously created by City Historic Preservation Planner Donna Alley and Parris Island Museum Technician Dave Smoot. Even so, BHM Board members Mary Lou Brewton and Katherine Lang logged in over 100 hours examining every artifact. Some were in fine condition, some were salvageable, and some were either not relevant to Beaufort history or in sad condition, such as broken bottles and tattered textiles.

The good news is that for almost every loss, there is a similar example that is worth saving, such as intact S. C. dispensary bottles and textiles that tell the same story as those that must be removed from the Collection.

We have removed fifty–one (51) boxes of artifacts from a total of 260 boxes. Examples of items we have in the collection:

  • Hunt jug attributed to Thomas Heyward. If not, it’s still a splendid artifact of the period, and tells the story of a way of life for the landed gentry.
  • Blue velvet mourning dress embroidered with human hair. Sounds strange, but it is exquisite, and can be exhibited along with other fine mourning clothes and a good collection of funerary jewelry, also made of human hair – fashionable in the Victorian period.
  • Sad irons that sat on the Mather school stove we also have. Arrowheads, points, and pottery shards waiting to be dated by our archeologists.
  • Military items, including a colonial powder horn and a WWI gas mask, uniforms and other artifacts in safekeeping for us at the Confederate Relic Room in Columbia and at the Parris Island Museum.
  • Pharmacy bottles and equipment. Enough of Dr. Luther’s bottles and other artifacts to recreate his pharmacy.

We are now ready to call on the museum historians and archeologists who have been standing by to assess the Collection before we make the final determination as to what to keep and what to repurpose. We are fortunate that Rodger Stroup, former Director and present Chairman of the Board of South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Dr. Charles Cobb of the SCIAA (South Carolina Institute of Archeology & Anthropology), George Stubbs of the ASSC (Archeology Society of SC/Hilton Head Chapter) who are ready to assist us in evaluating the Collection’s worth, from both a monetary and an historic perspective. Dr. Lawrence Rowland and Dr. Stephen Wise will serve as our professional advisors throughout this process as part of the assessment team. The BHM Committee has also been busy in other ways. We have incorporated as a SC non-profit organization, and our application for non-profit Federal status is ready to go, pending final review. Board member Bruce Doneff has arranged for a series of articles on the Collection to be published in the Low Country Weekly, and the first one is just out. We also have a new website, which will continue to evolve.

For our Committee, this mission is a labor of love. We are committed to bringing Beaufort a fine museum. The Beaufort History Museum will be the historic linchpin for the entire Low Country.




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