The history of Charleston comes alive in the spring, as Charleston’s historic museums, landmarks and organizations that make up the Charleston Heritage Federation (CHF) announce an abundance of exciting new events.
From the annual Festival of Houses & Gardens to innovative art exhibits at the Gibbes Museum of Art, guests can savor the season with a collection of culturally enriching offerings geared towards locals and visitors of all ages. Visitors can experience all nine Charleston Heritage Federation sites for one price with the CHF Passport, now available for purchase online at www.heritagefederation.org.
Please see below for a list of the upcoming CHF events taking place in the Holy City this spring:
Historic Charleston Foundation’s Festival of Houses & Gardens
Now through April 18
More than 100 historic houses and gardens will be on display for five weeks in a series of tours that directly connect visitors with the city’s unique past and present. In its 72nd year, the annual fundraiser showcases the lives of modern residents and the colorful generations that preceded them throughout the city’s 300-year history. As its largest educational program, the event raises funds for the foundation’s preservation initiatives, which protect the environment that makes Charleston unlike any other historic city. For tickets and more information, visit www.HistoricCharleston.org/festival or call 843.722.3405.
Gibbes Museum of Art: New Acquisitions Featuring Works by African American Artists
Now through June 16
Featuring a selection of works by African American artists acquired by the Gibbes for its permanent collection over the last 10 years, this collection reflects on the Gibbes’ collecting efforts since the 2009 opening of Prop Master: An Installation by Juan Logan and Susan Harbage Page. The artists' provocative installation was designed to highlight the role museums play in shaping social norms and reinforcing power structures within the community based on what it chooses to collect and exhibit and, perhaps more importantly, what works and narratives are excluded. Since the closing of the Prop Master exhibition nearly 10 years ago, the Gibbes has added 28 new works by African American artists, including David Driskell, Sam Doyle, Leo Twiggs, Kara Walker and Mary Jackson. For more information, visit www.gibbesmuseum.org.
Drayton Hall: Guy Wolff x Drayton Hall Garden Launch Party
March 23, 2-3 p.m.
Guests are invited to the launch of Drayton Hall x Guy Wolff Terracotta Garden Pot Collection and to be among the first to view the exclusive Drayton Hall line of pottery created by master potter and craftsman Guy Wolff. Attendees will also be treated to a glass of wine from Rudi’s Cafe in the beautiful Lenhardt Garden. The event is free for members of the Friends of Drayton Hall and $22 for non-members. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.draytonhall.org.
Middleton Place: Rice and Slavery: The Connection That Made the Lowcountry
March 25, 11:00-11:30 a.m.
The knowledge and expertise of enslaved Africans and African-Americans made rice both an economic and cultural staple. Costumed interpreters will discuss the planting, cultivating, harvesting, and processing of Carolina Gold Rice, as well as its impact on South Carolina in the 18th and 19th-century. For more information, visit www.middletonplace.org.
Middleton Place: Spring Garden Strolls
Wednesday evenings, March 25-May 29, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Guests can sip and stroll in America’s oldest landscaped gardens while sampling old and new world wines. Each Wednesday evening, a different garden location will be paired with a new selection of wines to enjoy amid spectacular views while enjoying light snacks between stations. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the event. For more information, visit www.middletonplace.org.
Drayton Hall: Gallery Talk with Curator Sarah Stroud Clarke on the Drayton Brand
March 29, 12:30 p.m.
Curator Sarah Stroud Clarke leads the weekly Gallery Talk on the Drayton Brand. One of the most intriguing objects in the Gates Gallery at Drayton Hall, the brand allows increasing layers of understanding and perspective on the lives of enslaved persons in early America. Drayton Hall’s Weekly Curator Gallery Talk Series is presented on Friday at 12:30 p.m., including lunch at Rudi’s Café. These talks are included in Drayton Hall admission and membership with no reservations required. For more information, visit www.draytonhall.org.
Joseph Manigault House: Women’s History Tour
March 31, 2:00-2:30 p.m.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, a special tour will be offered to focus on the lives of the women who made history at the Joseph Manigault House. Attendees will learn about Charlotte Drayton Manigault, her daughter Ann, her slave Affy and the daily lives of ladies of the early 1800s. Visitors will also learn how the house was saved by Susan Pringle Frost, Nell McColl Pringle and Princess Henrietta Pignatelli. Guests will also see images and hear stories of the house when it was used as a Red Cross training facility, women’s dormitory and USO post during World War II. This tour is free for members and included with admission to the Joseph Manigault House. No registration necessary. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2Y5jOFs.
Charleston Museum: New Exhibit Launch- In the Company of Animals: Pets of Charleston
Opens April 8
Animals have always been part of a human’s everyday life, whether worshiped, hunted for food or used as a means of transportation and labor. Over the years, this relationship has evolved into one of companionship. This photographic exhibition will put on view how Charlestonians spent their time in the company of animals. Admission to the Charleston Museum is $12 for adults and $10 for children. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.charlestonmuseum.org.
Edmondston-Alston House: Wine on the Piazza
April 18, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Guests can enjoy a half-hour guided tour of the famed Edmondston-Alston House beginning at 4:30 p.m., followed by a glass of white wine on the second story piazza overlooking the Charleston Harbor. Advanced reservations are recommended and tickets are $25 per person. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit http://bit.ly/2Cpg7Be.
Middleton Place: Easter Eggstravaganza
April 20, 10:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.
Children can bring their own baskets to search for hard-boiled eggs in the Middleton Place Gardens and once found, dye them in the Stableyards. Additional children’s activities such as colonial games, an egg race and egg toss, classic stories and Easter crafts will also be offered. The Easter Eggstravaganza is included in general admission tickets to Middleton Place and is free for members, however reservations are required. Tickets are $29 for adults, $10 for children ages 6-13 and free for ages 5 and under. To sign up and for more information, visit http://bit.ly/2TifOOb.
Middleton Place: Easter Weekend Brunch
April 20 and April 21, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Families can celebrate Easter weekend with a traditional Southern brunch buffet featuring seasonal specials in the Middleton Place Restaurant. On Saturday, guests will enjoy the buffet after the Easter Eggstravaganza activities and on Easter Sunday, they can explore Middleton Place followed by brunch. Seating will be first come, first served and no reservations are needed. Tickets are $30 for adults, $12 for children ages 6-12 and ages 5 and under are free. For more information, visit www.middletonplace.org.
Middleton Place: “Hands On” Rice Planting Program
April 27, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-3 p.m.
Guests can join a costumed interpreter in planting Carolina Gold Rice – the crop that defined the Lowcountry. Presentations will also be given on the cultivation, processing and cultural impact of rice in South Carolina during the 18th and 19th centuries. For more information, visit www.middletonplace.org.
Gibbes Museum of Art: Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem
May 24 - August 18
The Gibbes Museum of Art is the only Southern venue selected to host Black Refractions, the first traveling exhibition highlighting the full breadth of The Studio Museum in Harlem’s unparalleled permanent collection. The exhibition, including works by artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, David Hammons, Fred Wilson, Kerry James Marshall, Titus Kaphar, Kehinde Wiley and Lorna Simpson, will expand understanding of modern and contemporary art by artists of African descent. Black Refractions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share these incredible works of art with the Charleston community. For more information, visit www.gibbesmuseum.org.
Charleston Museum: Nature Trailers Summer Camp
June 3-7, June 10-15 and June 17-21, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Kids ages 5-10 can get down and dirty exploring creatures of the marsh and tracking animals along the trail at the Charleston Museum’s Dill Sanctuary, a 580-acre wildlife sanctuary located along the Stono River on James Island. During this four-day camp, children will learn about archaeology, animals, life in a marsh, Native Americans and more. The Nature Trailers Summer Camp is $145 for members and $180 for non-members. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit http://bit.ly/2FhkoHx