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McKissick Museum

Natural history exhibits

Current and Future Exhibitions

Our exhibitions are based on current scholarship and research, providing the university campus and the community with engaging presentations each year. We strive to produce exhibitions that reflect the museum’s broad, interdisciplinary approach, educating visitors about the diversity and richness found throughout the Southeast region.

Current Exhibitions 

Interpretations from the Johnson Collection

Scenic Impressions: South Interpretations from the Johnson Collection

Scenic Impressions: Southern Interpretations from the Johnson Collection features over forty paintings by native Southerners and painters who traveled to the Southern states between the 1880s and the 1940s. These stunning artworks reflect a moment in American art when a strong interest in Impressionism reinvigorated how artists viewed their environment. Expansive landscapes and tender genre scenes became bathed in light. With a loose, painterly style, the artists of Scenic Impressions used warm colors and a fluidity of form to signal their desire to capture atmospheric transience or a “scenic impression.” They strived to evoke an experience, not to simply transcribe the natural world, and produced artworks unparalleled within the history of Southern painting. Image: Anthony Johannes Thieme (1888-1954), Entrance to Magnolia Gardens in Spring, Charleston, SC, undated, oil on canvas, The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina Friday, May 19, 2017 to Saturday, August 5, 2017

Lake in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Connections: USC Study Abroad International Perspectives on Higher Education

The University of South Carolina has a robust study abroad program, but it is not just for students. Faculty and staff, many of whom have never studied abroad before, are invited to participate in the International Perspectives on Higher Education (IPHE) professional development program. Participants gain exposure to the student study abroad experience, learn how faculty-led programs operate, and make a comparative study between higher education in the United States and in the host country. Travel takes place during spring break each year. Costa Rica Connections was created based on experiences had by faculty and staff from different academic departments, who participated in the USC Study Abroad’s IPHE trip to San Jose, Costa Rica in 2016. Through visits to Costa Rican universities, museums, monuments, parks, and hospitals, we made connections through the exchange of ideas, learning from one another, and teaching each other about our respective areas of expertise. This exhibition gives an overview of the places visited, pointing out some of the similarities and differences between life in Latin American and South Carolina. Image: Crater of the Poas Volcano, Poas Volcano National Park, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica     Friday, January 27, 2017 to Saturday, August 26, 2017

Wood drawer opening

A Compass to Guide: South Carolina Cabinetmakers Today

South Carolina has a long history of local cabinetmakers, who worked primarily to supply their surrounding communities with the furniture and implements needed in everyday life. While the industrial revolution saw the transition of much of this work to large, commercial operations, individuals continued to craft furniture distinct to their particular region. A Compass to Guide: South Carolina Cabinetmakers Today will focus on contemporary cabinetmakers, their regional differences and similarities, and explore the roots of their respective traditions. The exhibition will incorporate furniture from cabinetmakers actively practicing in South Carolina, as well as photographs and oral histories, exploring how these artists learned and what motivates them to work with wood as their primary medium. 18th and 19th century examples of South Carolina furniture will be featured, reflecting the importance of historical context to the discussion of contemporary furniture traditions. Image: Steve Reeves, Table (detail), 2015 Monday, August 1, 2016 to Saturday, July 15, 2017

Natural history exhibit

Natural Curiosity

Humans possess a fascination with the natural world around them. We always have. From the 32,000-year-old cave paintings of horses in France to the giraffe stickers today's children paste into their activity books, we can see that humans are eager to see, touch, collect, and understand nature. This exhibition explores this curiosity about nature by asking questions about why we collect natural specimens and artifacts, how we display them, and what they tell us about our relationship with and obligations to the natural world. Through an examination of approaches to building and maintaining the natural science collections at the University of South Carolina, this exhibition also offers a glimpse of the impressive array of specimens collected and displayed over the past 200 years for the purposes of education, research, and even entertainment. Ongoing, 3rd floor gallery Saturday, January 1, 2011 to Sunday, December 31, 2017


Upcoming Exhibits

Fall into Sports 

Fall Into Sports will explore the University of South Carolina’s rich sports heritage utilizing memorabilia, photos, and objects from all sports played in the fall semester. From basketballs, banners, and even our friend Cocky, this exhibit is a must see!

July 15, 2017 to Saturday, December 16, 2017

WELL SUITED: The Costumes of Alonzo V. Wilson for HBO’s® Treme

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August 1, 2017 through July 21, 2018

Nostalgia for Nature

By the late nineteenth century industrialization had transformed Western society. Dominating cities were machine-filled factories and buildings constructed in Revivalist architectural styles. Urbanization had taken hold creating a great divide between artists/designers and end products. Individuals looking to resist the Machine Age created their own artistic movements, specifically the Arts and Crafts Movement and Art Nouveau. What these styles had is common was the goal of reviving the applied arts and making them affordable to the general public. This exhibition will feature examples of decorative art glass and pottery, representing the two aforementioned art movements, from the William S. Belser and Richard D. Mandell Collections at McKissick Museum. Objects representing important individual artisans and reputable companies such as Emile Galle,ˊ Reneˊ Lalique, Tiffany Studios, and Rookwood Pottery are included. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017 to Saturday, December 9, 2017

WTF?: What They Found

Saturday, September 9, 2017 to Saturday, December 16, 20177