Two Parties for the Price of One


Two parties for the price of one – that’s what you get at the Charleston Museum’s
“AN EVENING UNDER THE STARS” on Friday, April 25th.  And what a price! $80 (for non-members), for two cocktail parties, elegant dinner stations with ALL DRINKS INCLUDED and dancing to the music of Breezin’.  Where else can you find such a deal for an elegant night on the town in Charleston?

The evening, hosted by the Museum’s FANS, begins at 6:15 p.m.at the Joseph Manigault House, a federal-style National Landmark House and garden across the street from the Museum. Guests will enjoy a signature cocktail or wine with hors d’oeuvres, a tour of the house and live music by David Archer.

Then the party moves on to the recently redesigned Museum courtyard for a glittering evening of drinks, elegant food, dance  music with vocalist, and a silent and live auction. 

Lowcountry Eats will provide a host of scrumptious Southern treats, including a seafood raw bar and a quail and grits station.  A Southern Bartender will be serving up the Lowcountry’s favorite drinks – just take your pick. 

Charity auctioneer extraordinaire Doug Warner will entertain guests with a spirited live auction featuring items and packages sure to tempt one and all.  A silent auction precedes the live one. A list of auction items will be posted at the Museum website on April 8th.

Proceeds from the evening go to a very worthy cause: benefiting educational programs and restoration work at the Museum’s Dill Sanctuary on the Stono River on James Island.

All-inclusive tickets are $75/members, $80/non-members.  Advanced registration is requested.  Register online through the calendar of events at www.charlestonmuseum.org or by calling (843) 722-2996 x235

This fundraiser would not be possible without support from our fabulous sponsors!

Gold Level Sponsors:
Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc.
Adelaide & Scott Wallinger

Silver Level Sponsors:
Katharine and John Crawford Family Endowment of Coastal Community Foundation of SC
Hugh C. Lane, Jr.
Dr. & Mrs. H. Biemann Othersen, Jr.
Sarah Moïse Young

Bronze Level Sponsors:
Judy & Larry Tarleton

My thanks to my fellow FANS, especially my fundraiser co-chair English Struth, for all their hard work! Hope to see you in April!

Adelaide Wallinger
Fundraiser co-chair


Oyster Roast 2014


On Sunday, January 12, the Charleston Museum celebrated its 241st birthday with an Oyster Roast. Held at the Dill Sanctuary, the Museum’s wildlife sanctuary on James Island, this beautiful, mild winter day was full of friends, fantastic oyster, great music and history!

Thank you to all our friends and supporters of America’s First Museum! Hope to see you again next year!


Armory Renovation at the Charleston Museum!


We are starting 2014 with a renovation to the Museum's armory. Although a few things will be going back into storage, a few new firearms and edged pieces will be coming out.

Rest assured, however, all the old favorites will still be there including James Petigru's dueling pistol, Henry Nock's volley gun (left) and, of course, the headsman's sword (right) (which set last year's Weaponry Wednesday record for number of notes and re-tweets).

In any case, some new paint, new labels, and a general rearrangement of things have been long overdue in this particular section between the Museum's first and second galleries. Stop in and see it soon!

The Charleston Museum's history department continues to collect all manner of firearms, edged weapons, artillery and accouterments related with Charleston's armed conflicts and beyond. The weaponry collection consists of over 600 pieces (so far!) dating from the American Colonial period on up through the 20th century with many Charleston and other southern gun and swordsmiths including John Michael Happoldt, F.D. Poyas, William Glaze and P.W. Kraft represented.

Grahame Long
Chief Curator


Recent Acquisitions


The following are recent accessions for the Charleston Museum. 
Thank you to all of our wonderful donors!

Train conductor’s uniform coat & cap (above) worn by donor’s grandfather, James W. Gatch on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, c. 1904-1921; railroad memorabilia (including poster of the Palmetto Division No. 208 Order of Railway Conductors with photograph of James W. Gatch [pictured below]); memorial poster with portrait of Mary Ann Jacques, age 4 in 1888
Gift of Dorothy B. Schroder

1872 “Lost Cause” Memorial document with eight pieces of Confederate currency arranged around a poem by P. C. Carlton and portraits of Confederate leaders
Gift of Rev. & Mrs. James Parker in December 2012

Unfinished Battenburg lace bedspread and table cover, works in progress by donor’s aunt Mabel Petersen Wichman or grandmother, Doretta Bohlmann Petersen
Gift of Emilie Patton deLuca, Chapel Hill, NC

1956 Visitor Log from The Charleston Museum
Gift of Jeannette MacDougal

Four two-cent postage stamps celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Charleston, 1930 (left)
Gift of Howard Park, Washington, DC

Appliquéd and embroidered bedspread, Sunbonnet girl pattern, made in 1945 for the donor as a child in Myrtle Beach; portion of a biscuit quilt, started by Mary Elizabeth Howard Jenrette around 1913
Gift of Martha Elizabeth Moore Fields, Reston ,VA

Chintz appliqué quilt top, Trophy of Arms medallion, made by the donors’ great-great-great grandmother, Hannah Noland Henderson c. 1830
Gift of William Rutherford Trumble and Fitz Trumble, Belfast, ME & Aiken, SC

Three photographs of Elizabeth Steingaster Knapp wearing her World War I Red Cross headscarf (a previous donation)
Gift of Debbie Pratt
Pieces of currency and bank stock from Bank of Charleston and Bank of South Carolina, 1860-1876; South Carolina Interstate & West Indian Exposition ticket, 1902
Gift of Robert J. & Susan Chandler, Lafayette, CA

Archaeological materials from the Nathaniel Russell House recovered during testing, monitoring and installation of HVAC renovations
Gift of Historic Charleston Foundation

Two bills of sale for enslaved people purchased by George Lynes, 1844-45 (above)
Gift of Michele Moore, Atlanta, GA in memory of Ruby & Bill Walling


2013 Holiday Decorations at the Joseph Manigault House


Once again, Garden Club of Charleston members worked their magic with the holiday decorations at the Museum’s Joseph Manigault House. Their creative arrangements, using only plant material that would have been available in the Lowcountry during the 19th century, beautifully reflect this year's theme of "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

“This year's theme is ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ with each room or area decorated to depict one of the twelve days from the carol," explains Gretchen Cuddy, The Garden Club of Charleston Christmas Tea Chair. "Beautifully handmade calligraphy scrolls have been created by one of our members, Gayle Hilton, which have been incorporated into each of the floral designs, along with some very unique vintage 'props' that add just a touch of whimsy to this year's overall decor."

Stop by and experience these delightful designs for yourself! The house is decorated from now through December 29 and you may view the holiday decorations as part of the regular public tour. Regular admission is FREE for members; $10/adult, $5/child 3-12 and under 3 free. Please visit our website for hours of operation and holiday schedules.

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The Folly North Archaeological Project, 1990


The Charleston Museum is continuing its commemoration of the Sesquicentennial
This original exhibition presents Civil War artifacts recovered by Charleston Museum archaeologists from the beach of “Little Folly Island.” Accelerated erosion caused by Hurricane Hugo in September 1989 uncovered a wealth of materials from the Federal presence there during the Civil War. Most were remarkably preserved and now provide a rare glimpse into the daily lives of Union soldiers, including the 55th and 54th Massachusetts, garrisoned on Folly Island. The following is information about the archaeological digs behind the exhibition.
 38CH1213 (Folly North) N182 E150 - Shoe #3

The Folly North Archaeological Project, 1990
Archaeology at the north end of Folly Island, a barrier island just south of the Charleston harbor, began with reports by two concerned citizens of artifacts and bones on the beach. A remarkable array of organic artifacts – leather shoes, rubberized canvas, wood staves, animal bone – were preserved in the pluff mud and exposed by the daily tides. Moreover, these artifacts were disappearing daily. State and Federal agencies were notified, and archaeologists from the Charleston Museum volunteered to excavate and preserve a sample of the materials. Professional archaeologists from across the state and volunteers from local communities assisted with the work.


Courtyard Renovation


On June 25, The Charleston Museum officially opened its newly renovated Courtyard. Due to a lack of funds, the Courtyard was left unfinished when the current Museum building was completed in 1980. Although the space was useable, it lacked visual appeal and real functionality. Thanks to funds raised by the Museum’s wonderful volunteer FANS (Friends and Needed Supporters), support from the City of Charleston, and a generous accommodations tax grant from Charleston County, the Museum was able to secure the necessary financial resources to undertake this renovation.

Designed by local landscape architect Sheila Wertimer, of Wertimer and Associates, the new Courtyard makes effective use of diverse plantings around a central bluestone plaza. Surrounded by palm trees, olive plants, okame cherry trees, knockout roses, Japanese maples, hydrangeas, camellias, and other plantings, the interior of the courtyard is now an intimate space appropriate for a variety of Museum events.



Civil War Fashion Try-on 2013



On Saturday, July 6, 2013, the Charleston Museum held its annual Civil War Fashion Try-On program. The Carolina Ladies Aid Society, a talented living history group based here in Charleston, dressed and primped our guests until they were barely recognizable to their 21st century selves.

Ladies were decked out in gowns, hoop skirts, bonnets, gloves, and shawls, while the menfolk were suited up in military garb from the army and rank of their choice, complete with sidearms or swords, canteens, and more. Our young visitors got into the spirit of things and had their own uniforms or gowns with hoop skirts and precious little bonnets. Once appropriately dressed, our guests were photographed in front of a mid-19th century studio setting by    Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay, in the carte-de-visite style.
Thank you to all of our guests who took part or observed! We were thrilled to have a host of international visitors from Asia, Europe and Australia, as well as guests from around the U.S. and our hometown.

All participants should have received an email containing the link to the downloadable photos. Please email us rchesser@charlestonmuseum.org if you did not receive the email (several messages have been returned as undeliverable). 

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Beauregard’s Saddle


Saddle, c. 1862. Paris, France
General Pierre G.T. Beauregard likely spared no expense when he ordered this custom pigskin saddle from a Paris firm while commander of Confederate forces in Charleston. Due to the Federal blockade, however, he never received it. Loaded aboard a blockade-runner destined for Charleston and New Orleans, the vessel was intercepted by a Union ship, which confiscated all its cargo and sent it north. The saddle was declared "confiscated goods" and subsequently auctioned off. Lieutenant Colonel Charles M. Wheldon, a Boston native serving under Benjamin Butler's command, purchased the piece and kept it throughout his life. After his death in 1910, Wheldon’s widow presented the saddle to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in Boston of which her late husband was a member.


Macbeth Silver


by Grahame Long, Curator of History


Coin silver sugar bowl and cream pitcher
Marked by Peter and Ann Bateman, London, 1799
Among the furnishings at Wantoot Plantation, these two items are a unique lot. In a collection where provenance can mean everything, this large sugar bowl and creamer are vital components in Charleston’s war-time history.
Once belonging to Confederate Mayor Charles Macbeth (1805-1881) and his wife, Henrietta Gourdin Ravenel (1816-1888), these pieces spent a good deal of time concealed beneath the steps at Henrietta’s family home, Wantoot, approximately 5 miles west of Bonneau in Berkeley County and named for a nearby Native American settlement. Just before Mayor Macbeth surrendered the city to Lieutenant Colonel A.G. Bennett of the 21st US Colored Troops on February 18, 1865, Henrietta, understandably fearful of what would become of the home and its possessions therein, gathered up whatever valuable items she could not take with her and buried them. “Various methods were resorted to save jewelry & other valuables,” she later wrote in a letter to a family member, “Among others, I just took a silver cup, filled it with rings, watches, etc., and buried it just below the middle of the bottom step as I sat there.”