A Word from Our Director


Happy New Year! Once again, thank you to all those who so generously gave to our Annual Appeal. I am pleased to report that 2015 was another year of exciting accomplishments for The Charleston Museum, which included many of the specific objectives set forth in our Strategic Plan for 2015 – 2018.


Among those was the redesign of the Museum’s website, which is now more attractive, highly functional, and mobile device-friendly. As some of you may have already discovered, it makes credit card transactions, such as donations, reservations and gift shop purchases, much easier and more efficient. Probably most exciting, the website provides access to segments of the Museum’s collections database, allowing scholars around the world to research our collections.

Charlestons Museum Mile 2015

Speaking of websites, Charleston’s Museum Mile has a new website! The January 2015 Museum Mile Month was the most successful fundraiser for the Mile since the initial grant from Charleston County in 2008. Including the website, funds raised went toward a new logo design, brochure and map, and street banners. Thanks to all the Mile partners who have made these efforts such a success. Museum Mile Month passes for January 2016 are on sale now at the downtown Visitor Center, and we are hopeful that this event will be as successful as last year.


A major painting project in the Joseph Manigault House stair hall and dining room was completed in February. Based on paint analysis done by conservator Susan Buck, the paint color in these areas now more accurately reflects the house’s historic paint colors and much of the intricate detail of the dining room woodwork is considerably more visible. You may have noticed our new planters in the Museum breezeway entrance, which complement the security gates that were installed last year, and work is currently underway on our new fire alarm and security systems which are expected to be in place early in 2016. We are also pleased to announce that Mr. Martin (Marty) Durham has joined the Museum as our new Building Maintenance Supervisor. Marty has substantial experience in public facilities and has excellent ideas for improving building and grounds maintenance for the Museum.

We were thrilled to welcome back this school year all third graders from Charleston County School District. Fourth graders from Charleston County and Berkeley County School Districts, meanwhile, are visiting the Heyward-Washington House as part of the Patriots Day program, a joint effort with the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon and the Powder Magazine. We are so grateful to these two organizations and their staffs who have been tremendous partners in this endeavor.   Great credit goes to Stephanie Thomas, the Museum’s Chief of Education and Interpretation, Ryn Henry and Jessica Runyon, Educators, Katrina Lawrimore, Houses Administrator, and the army of part-time staff and volunteer docents who make all this happen.

Lowcountry Image Gallery - Charleston Museum

We had an active year on the exhibits front, including two lobby exhibits related to natural history, two textile exhibits in the Historic Textiles Gallery and a display of photographs of historic Charleston street scenes in our new Lowcountry Image Gallery. The concept for the latter gallery was developed and implemented by Archivist and Collections Manager, Jennifer McCormick. If you have not done so already, please come see this exciting new space, which will feature regularly rotating images from our collection of historic photographs in the Archives.


We made significant progress in 2015 in planning, design and fundraising for the new Natural History Gallery, which is scheduled for installation in 2017. We have worked closely with our designer, Becca Barnet of Sisal and Tow, to develop concept images for the gallery and a 3D model. Fundraising officially kicked off on October 1, and thanks in large measure to the efforts of our Board of Trustees we have cash in hand or commitments for nearly 80% of the current project budget. If you are interested in making a donation to the Natural History Gallery project, please see our website.

Mark your calendars as our much needed FANS of the Museum will host their fundraising gala on April 29, with a theme of the four elements – earth, wind, water, and fire – in support of the project. The FANS have been so tremendously helpful over the years in moving important projects forward here at the Museum with their always fun fundraising events.


In addition to the gala, we have much to look forward to in 2016, including eight special exhibits and a variety of programming. On January 21, ladies, break out that bridesmaid dress you thought you would never wear again as we kick off our latest textile exhibit, Unveiled: Wedding Fashion and Traditions in the South, with a first of its kind Bridesmaids’ Ball. We will debut Hunters Habit: A Collection of Hunting Firearms and Accoutrements in February to coincide with the Southeastern Wildlife Expo and I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’: George Gershwin’s Charleston in May in collaboration with Spoleto Festival USA’s presentation of Porgy and Bess. Other offerings will include two selections from our Natural History collections, two photography exhibits in the Lowcountry Image Gallery, and Killer Fashion: The Consequence of Style in the Historic Textiles Gallery. Without question, another busy year on the exhibits front!

Whether 2015 or 2016, we could not accomplish any of the great things that we do at The Charleston Museum without dedicated staff and volunteers, an actively engaged and forward-thinking Board, and wonderful supporters such as you. Thank you for all you do for the Museum!

Carl P. Borick