Charleston’s historic sites, museums and cultural organizations that make up the Charleston Heritage Federation (CHF) are pleased to announce a number of exciting activities and events for spring that bring the history of the city to life. From one-of-a-kind Black History Month programming and tours for Women’s History Month to garden walks and virtual conversations, guests can experience a collection of culturally enriching offerings geared towards locals and visitors of all ages.
CHF has recently announced that its Essential Charleston Passport is once again available for purchase online, offering guests a digital ticket to travel back in time and discover the city’s cultural mainstays by hopping between the Old and Historic District. The passport includes admission to CHF’s five remarkable historic houses, the country’s oldest landscaped gardens at Middleton Place, the oldest preserved plantation house at Drayton Hall, the foremost gallery of American art at the Gibbes Museum of Art and more.
Since being allowed to reopen, CHF members have worked tirelessly to adopt enhanced safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, leading the community as a collection of some of the Lowcountry’s most trusted organizations. As individuals travel to Charleston once again and locals look to explore their own backyard, CHF members encourage visitors of all ages to safely discover the Lowcountry’s rich history through one or more of its institutions.
Please see below for the latest CHF news, exhibits and events taking place in the Holy City this spring:
The Gibbes Museum of Art – Manning Williams: Reinventing Narrative Painting
January 22 – April 18
Reinventing Narrative Painting is the first major retrospective of Manning Williams’s work since his death in 2012. The exhibition will be accompanied by a book published by Evening Post Publishing and will travel to the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, GA. Williams’s paintings are rooted in the history, traditions and terrain of the South Carolina Lowcountry. A Charleston native and lifelong resident, Williams earned degrees from the College of Charleston and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His highly personal approach to realist painting emphasized storytelling and was fueled by an interest in portraying subjects that he found on the periphery of the city and along the barrier islands. Western subjects also commanded Williams’s attention, and during the later years of his career, his concern with narrative was expressed in a more abstract style. Reinventing Narrative Painting features 30 paintings from Williams’s prolific career that spanned more than 40 years.
The Gibbes Museum of Art – Art of Design
March 5, 11:45 a.m. (Virtual Event)
The Gibbes Museum of Art is pleased to announce Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder and CEO of boutique travel planning company Indagare, as the featured speaker of the 11th annual Art of Design, to be held virtually on Friday, March 5. Since 2011, the Gibbes’ Women’s Council has hosted renowned experts at the annual luncheon and lecture. This year, Melissa will discuss the subject of travel in today’s world, especially as the industry grapples with unprecedented issues of safety and cost. Due to current COVID-19 guidance, all general admission tickets will be for live-stream access only. A limited number of sponsors will have the opportunity to join the event in-person, in the Gibbes’ Lenhardt Garden. Guests can purchase a $50 ticket to stream the lecture. The Women’s Council and Indagare will also be raffling off a trip for two, valued at $20,000, to support the museum. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $100.
The Charleston Museum – Easter Eggstravaganza
March 27, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Get egg-cited with craft making at the Charleston Museum followed by an Easter egg hunt in the garden of the Joseph Manigault House. Crafts will be outside, and the egg hunt will begin at 10:30 a.m. Every month The Charleston Museum offers a special program dedicated to providing an educational and exciting experience for the whole family. FREE for Museum members and FREE with admission. Participants must wear masks. For more information, call 843-722-2996 ext. 236 or visit www.charlestonmuseum.org.
The Heyward-Washington House – Women’s History Tours
Saturdays in March, 2:00 p.m.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, a special tour will be offered every Saturday in March (March 6, 13, 20 and 27) to focus on the lives of the women who made history at the Heyward-Washington House. Visitors on this guided tour of 87 Church Street will learn more about Elizabeth Heyward’s stand against the British army during the American Revolution and the boarding house run by Rebecca Jameson when there were no men living in residence. Visitors will also learn more about a young girl who lived in the House and grew up to become a famous abolitionist – Sarah Grimke. This tour is FREE for Museum Members and FREE with admission to the Heyward-Washington House. Participants must wear masks. For more information, call 843-722-2996 ext. 236 or visit www.charlestonmuseum.org.
The Joseph Manigault House – Women’s History Tours
Sundays in March, 2:00 p.m.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, a special tour will be offered every Sunday in March (March 7, 14, 21, 28) to focus on the lives of the women who made history at the Joseph Manigault House. Guests on this tour will learn more about Charlotte Drayton Manigault, her daughter Ann, the enslaved women Affy and Bess, and the daily lives of ladies of the early 1800s. This special tour will also highlight the stories of how the house was saved by Susan Pringle Frost, Nell McColl Pringle and Princess Henrietta Pignatelli. Guides will also highlight the House’s history as a USO post, Red Cross Training Facility and women’s dormitory during WWII. This tour is FREE for Museum Members and FREE with admission to the Joseph Manigault House. Participants must wear masks. For more information, call 843-722-2996 ext. 236 or visit www.charlestonmuseum.org.
Avery Research Center – Black Satire in the 21st Century: A Conversation with Dr. Danielle Fuentes Morgan
February 24, 4:30 p.m. (Virtual Event)
The African American Studies Program at the College of Charleston presents the 2021 Conseula Francis Emerging Scholar Lecture: a conversation with Dr. Danielle Fuentes Morgan about her book, Laughing to Keep from Dying: African American Satire in the Twenty-First Century. For more information, please contact Professor Mari Crabtree ([email protected]).
Middleton Place Back History Month Programming – Beyond the Fields: Slavery At Middleton Place Documentary Screening
Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in February, 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. (30 minutes)
“The Beyond the Fields” documentary is an award-winning film which takes the interpretation of the enslaved experience and brings it to a new medium, with new insights from present-day historians, and of African Americans with roots at Middleton Place. Additional “Beyond the Fields: Enslavement at Middleton Place” tours are offered year-round and facilitate a conversation about slavery in American history with stories of brutality, survival, contribution and perseverance. At Middleton Place, history once lost is found and brought to life in a relevant way that connects us as Americans. For more information, visit www.middletonplace.org.
Middleton Place Black History Month Programming – “Mama Hattie Remembers. . .” A Story of African American Life Through Stories and Song.
February 20, 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. (approx. 30 mins)
Visitors are invited to join Mama Hattie as she recalls her life growing up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. This special presentation includes elements of such rich African American traditions as storytelling and music. For more information, visit www.middletonplace.org.
Middleton Place – The Chronicles of Adam
February 27, 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. (approx. 30 minutes)
Using historical documents and primary sources to paint a picture with words and live action to bring it to life, this first-person historical interpretation of an enslaved man by the name of Adam is comprised of various accounts, historical facts and life lessons for viewers of any age to enjoy. This powerful performance has been deemed “life-changing” and even “spiritual” by viewers young and old. For more information, visit www.middletonplace.org.
Middleton Place – Camellia Walks
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in February, 11 a.m.
Each winter, the beauty of camellias enhances the Middleton Place Gardens with thousands of blossoms. Special 11:00 a.m. walking tours given by expert guides focus on the historic camellias, including the 1786 Reine des Fleurs, one of the first camellias planted in America. Tours last approximately 75 minutes. Tickets for the Camellia Walks are $5/person and advanced purchase is required. Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, each tour is limited to 10 people, and masks are required on the tour. For more information or to book, call 843-556-6020 or visit www.middletonplace.org.
Middleton Place – Alice: Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Charleston Renaissance Artist
March 1, 2021 – January 5, 2022
Middleton Place National Historic Landmark and the Edmondston-Alston House in downtown Charleston will jointly mount a special exhibition of works by Alice Ravenel Huger Smith in connection with the March 1, 2021 launch of the book Alice: Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Charleston Renaissance Artist. Alice Smith was a leading artist in the movement that sparked an economic revival and historic preservation in Charleston in the decades between the two world wars. The exhibits allow the public the opportunity to see over 40 works from private and public collections of Alice Smith’s art featured in the book. Tickets to Middleton Place House Museum and the Edmondston-House Museum include these special exhibits. For more information, visit www.middletonplace.org.
Drayton Hall Webinar – Cozy or Cold? What was winter weather like in a historic house?
March 4, 5 p.m. (Virtual Event)
Join curators Trish Smith and Amber Satterthwaithe of Drayton Hall for a webinar on Cozy or Cold? What was winter weather like in a historic house? This is a “donate what you can” event presented by Drayton Hall Preservation Trust. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3pU4Lff.
Drayton Hall Webinar – Search for Slave Houses – A Virtual Walking Tour
March 11, 5 p.m. (Virtual Event)
Join Cameron Moon for a virtual walking tour of Drayton Hall in search of slave houses. While the main house itself is a slave house, it’s believed most people enslaved at Drayton Hall lived in a settlement of some kind elsewhere on the landscape. This tour will chronicle the methods and resources used to research where on the property slave houses may have been and what they would have looked like. This interactive tour will walk guests virtually through the plantation to find where a settlement may have been and discuss questions of what life would’ve been like on the plantation. This is a “donate what you can” event presented by Drayton Hall Preservation Trust. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/2YMl8yv.
Drayton Hall – Candlelight Tour
March 13, 6 p.m.
Visitors are invited to create a special historic memory by taking a candlelight tour of Charleston’s Drayton Hall, ca. 1738. Beautiful and moving, this eighteenth-century historic house is the oldest untouched home open to the public in the United States. After the tour, guests can enjoy a warm cup of a seasonal beverage (non-alcoholic) as they stroll back toward the Visitors Center and visit The Shop at Drayton Hall. Candlelight tours are conducted by audio broadcast. Pre-registration is required. $45 non/$40 members. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/39OhRFm.
Drayton Hall – Prosecco on the Portico
April 3, 3 p.m.
Guest are invited to enjoy a glass of prosecco on the iconic portico of Drayton Hall. Grounds admission and Audio Tour are included in the ticket price. Prosecco will be served from 3:00-4:30 p.m. and gates will close at 5 p.m. Visitors will receive a glass of prosecco upon finishing the audio tour and exiting the house. $35 non-member/ $30 member. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/2N27RQ0.
Drayton Hall Webinar – A Tale of Two Draytons: New Perspectives on the Denmark Vesey Conspiracy
April 15, 5 p.m. (Virtual Event)
Join Brandon M. Stone virtually as he discusses his master’s thesis – A Tale of Two Draytons: New Perspectives on the Denmark Vesey Conspiracy. “Inside the largest trial in 19th century Charleston, two individuals with the last name of ‘Drayton’ appeared several times in the Denmark Vesey court documents. The two individuals listed were John Drayton, district judge and former Governor of South Carolina and Charles Drayton, a man who was enslaved by John and was involved in the planning of the Denmark Vesey revolt. The duality of these two men and an investigation of the post-trial whereabouts are explored in Brandon M. Stone’s master’s thesis.” This is a “donate what you can” event. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3twWvnw.
Charleston Library Society Zoom Speaker Series – A Conversation with Martha Teichner & Mo Rocca
February 23, 6 p.m.
CBS Sunday Morning News correspondent and multi-Emmy-Award-winner, Martha Teichner will be joined by fellow CBS Sunday Morning News correspondent and author, Mo Rocca to discuss her new memoir, “When Harry Met Minnie: A True Story of Love and Friendship” in this virtual conversation that is sure to be an entertaining and moving evening. Participants will receive a Zoom link and password on the afternoon of the event. This event is free, but an RSVP is required. To RSVP, or for more information, call (843)723-9912 or visit www.charlestonlibrarysociety.org/events.
Charleston Library Society Zoom Speaker Series – Music Edition: “Hamilton: How the Musical Remixes History” Lecture by Richard Bell
March 4, 6 p.m.
With Disney+ now streaming “Hamilton”, everyone is talking about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical. Its crafty lyrics, hip-hop tunes and big, bold story have even rejuvenated interest in the real lives and true histories that “Hamilton” puts center stage. In this talk, which is aimed at people who know the soundtrack or who have seen the show, University of Maryland historian Dr. Richard Bell explores this musical phenomenon to reveal what its success tells us about the marriage of history and show-business. This event is free, but an RSVP is required. To RSVP, or for more information, call (843)723-9912 or visit www.charlestonlibrarysociety.org/events.
South Carolina Historical Society – Winter Lecture Series
Tuesdays in February, 6 p.m.
Visitors are invited to join prominent historians as they virtually explore fascinating topics on colonial South Carolina that range from proprietary ventures and golden rice fields to the life of woman rice planter Eliza Lucas Pinckney and early South Carolina merchants. The series runs on Tuesday evenings from February 2 through February 23, with a registration fee of $10 per lecture. For more information or to book, call 843-723-3225 or visit www.schistory.org.
Preservation Society of Charleston’s Preservation Month
In celebration of National Preservation Month, the Preservation Society will embark on a series of events to educate and raise awareness about the importance of advocacy and historic preservation in Charleston. Events will range from hard hat tours of private properties to webinars and much more. All funds raised from Preservation Month events support efforts to stay at the forefront of the discussion about Charleston’s growth and preservation. For more information visit www.preservationsociety.org.
About Charleston Heritage Federation
Charleston Heritage Federation is the united voice of numerous historic landmarks, museums, plantations and houses in the Charleston area. A mission-driven organization focused on educating, preserving and telling the authentic story through experiences, Charleston Heritage Federation prides itself on capturing the essence of the city’s rich history while fostering a deeper understanding of the Lowcountry. Members of Charleston Heritage Federation include Avery Research Center for African American History & Culture, Charleston Library Society, The Charleston Museum, Drayton Hall, Gibbes Museum of Art, Historic Charleston Foundation, Middleton Place Foundation, Preservation Society of Charleston and South Carolina Historical Society. For more information, visit www.charlestoncvb.com/heritage-federation/.
About the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
The mission of the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is to unify and lead the local travel industry in marketing the Charleston area as an individual, meeting, incentive and group destination to both the domestic and international markets. For more information, visit www.explorecharleston.com.
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