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Charleston Museum rolls out free lecture lineup for city's 350th celebration

Jon Marcoux, Charleston Museum lecture series

Jon Bernard Marcoux, the director of Clemson University and the College of Charleston's joint graduate program in historic preservation, will give the Charleston Museum's first of three lectures in coordination with the city's 350th celebration. Provided/Charleston Museum

Charleston's early history, told through the lens of Native American and enslaved communities, will be highlighted in a new lecture series marking the city's 350th anniversary. 

The Charleston Museum on Meeting Street kicks off the free three-part series this week. 

The events begin Thursday with Jon Marcoux, director of Clemson University and the College of Charleston's joint graduate program in historic preservation. 

Marcoux will take a look just beyond the 350-year mark to 1669. He'll discuss the Native American communities that lived in the Lowcountry long before English settlers founded Charles Towne.

The event was intentionally timed before the city celebrates Founder's Day in April, said museum director Carl Borick

On April 2, the second lecture will cover the region's early history of enslavement. Speaker Daniel Littlefield, a professor of history at the University of South Carolina, will explain how the first enslaved people came to Charles Towne and why slavery became so prevalent in the Carolina colony. 

To finish the series, the final lecture on May 7 will look at how Native American and African influences came together in the Lowcountry, particularly in a type of pottery called colonoware

David Cranford, assistant state archaeologist for the North Carolina Department of Cultural and Natural Resources will lead that discussion.

For this series, Borick said the museum wanted to bring in experts who could speak to what Charleston was like at the time of colonization but from perspectives that weren't just those of European settlers.

That, he said, aligned with the broader goal the city and its 350th Commission have had for the anniversary year.

"They really want to tell a full and accurate history of the colony’s founding," he said. 

All lectures will begin at 6 p.m. in the museum's Arthur M. Wilcox Auditorium at 360 Meeting St. The events are free, but attendees are encouraged to register in advance on the museum's website.

The series is one of many partner events being held in coordination with the city to mark 350 years since its founding in 1670. Events began in January and will continue throughout the year.  

Development deferral

A decision on a highly contested resort development for a South Carolina barrier island has been pushed off. 

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A Beaufort County zoning board was scheduled to hear from owners of Bay Point Island, a small undeveloped island northeast of Hilton Head, last week. The review was deferred. 

In December, county staff decided that the luxury resort plans didn't qualify as "ecotourism" and wouldn't be allowed under the island's rural zoning designation. 

dsc_9839-bay-point-2016-10-18-toned.jpg (copy)

Bay Point Island is in Beaufort County. Richard Porcher/Provided

The owners filed an appeal, giving the board the opportunity to overturn staff's decision and advance the project. If not, the development will be stalled. 

In the week before the scheduled meeting, the Gullah Geechee Fishing Association asked to be included in the board's review process.

The group has said the waters around Bay Point have long been an important fishing ground for the Gullah Geechee community, and that it would be seriously threatened if the resort were built.

The Saint Hotel, guest room

An oversized version of the Dutch baroque painter Vermeer's "The Lacemaker" will be in each guest room of the Saint Hotel, which opens in downtown Charleston later this year. Provided rendering/The Saint Hotel

Sneak peek

A boutique hotel opening downtown later this year has decided what its interior will look like. 

D. Mark Wyant, owner of the forthcoming Saint Hotel on East Bay Street, designed the rooms himself with wife Lorenda

The 45 guest rooms will be decorated in white and indigo blue. An oversized version of the Dutch baroque painter Vermeer's "The Lacemaker" frame each bed, extending to the ceiling. 

The Saint Hotel, lobby

The Saint Hotel's lobby will feature three custom-made bell-shaped chandeliers. Provided rendering/The Saint Hotel

Three custom-made bell-shaped chandeliers covered in Venetian plaster — each is three feet tall and three feet wide — will hang in the lobby, as well as nine crystal chandeliers. 

The lobby bar, called the Burgundy Bar, will be decked out in its namesake color. The bar itself will be covered in a black snakeskin pattern and topped with black marble. 

The hotel previously had estimated it would be ready for guests by this spring. It's now expected to open its doors in late summer. 

Reach Emily Williams at 843-937-5553. Follow her on Twitter @emilye_williams.

Emily Williams is a business reporter at The Post and Courier, covering tourism and aerospace. She also writes the Business Headlines newsletter, which is published twice a week. Before moving to Charleston, her byline appeared in The Boston Globe.

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