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.
In Cotton High and Low: The History of a Carolina Cash Crop
through May 4th, 2019, 2nd Floor, North Gallery
Cotton has changed significantly from its humble roots as a plant growing wild in
the tropical and subtropical regions of the world to its position today as the primary
fiber in textiles. It has influenced the history of agriculture, labor, race, and
gender not only in the US South, but around the world. Explore the material culture
of cotton through these lenses, beginning with the natural history of the plant itself and
progressing to the social effects of its cultivation in the US South.
Swag & Tassel: The Innovative Stoneware of Thomas Chandler
through July 20th, 2019, 2nd Floor, South Gallery
Swag & Tassel: The Innovative Stoneware of Thomas Chandler, is the first retrospective
exhibition of a 19th century Edgefield, SC, potter since I Made This Jar: The Life
and Works of the Enslaved African-American Potter, Dave. Building upon the research
in Philip Wingard's 2014 Ceramics in America article, "From Baltimore to the South
Carolina Backcountry: Thomas Chandler's Influence on 19th Century Stoneware," the
exhibition brings archaeological and archival research to bear on our understanding
of the nature and scope of Chandler's technical and aesthetic innovations within the
context of mid-19th century Edgefield District pottery manufacturing.
Political Issues in the United States
through June 13th, 2019, 3rd Floor, Lobby
The objects on display in this exhibition show the variety of ways American voters
have communicated their opinions on these political and other issues in the past.
Most people are familiar with the Democratic and Republican Parties in the United
States. But party affiliation is not the only factor people use to decide how to vote.
Some voters choose candidates based on a specific issue like abortion or gun control.
Historically, some of the biggest issues for voters have been the economy, the Vietnam
War, and busing to integrate schools during the Civil Rights movement.
Founding Feathers: Extinction and Conservation of Southern Birds
through June 30th, 2019, 3rd Floor, Lobby
What started as a group project in a university classroom has been transformed into
an educational museum exhibition on extinct and endangered birds. By showcasing the
stories of the extinct ivory billed woodpecker, the Carolina parakeet, and the passenger
pigeon, the exhibition brings to light the conservation efforts inspired by their
disappearance. Their legacy sparked the beginning of conservation efforts around the
United States including the successful conservation of the Bald Eagle. This 3rd floor
lobby exhibition features objects from McKissick Museum, the Irvin Department of Rare
Books and Special Collections, the Museum of York County, the South Carolina State
Museum and more.
Natural Curiosity: The University of South Carolina and the Evolution of Scientific
Inquiry in the Natural World
Ongoing, 3rd Floor, South Gallery
Explore your own “natural curiosity” in this exhibit that highlights not only the
treasures of nature, but also the evolution of the field of natural history. Beginning
soon after UofSC was founded as South Carolina College, professors and students alike
collected samples of animal, vegetable, and mineral to study and grow their understanding
of the world around them. Today, visitors can still learn from these real and authentic
objects or use newly installed touchscreens to dive deeper into the collections and
explore the Historic Southern Naturalists. Where will your natural curiosity take