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SC State Museum executive director announces 2020 retirement

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South Carolina State Museum. Provided.

William Calloway, executive director of the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia since 2002, will step down from the position in 2020, the museum announced on Oct. 31.

Calloway is best known for overseeing the $23.5 million Welcome to New Worlds expansion project. Completed in 2014, the effort added a large planetarium, a new observatory and the state’s only permanent 4-D theater, all of which have since become some of the museum’s most visible and popular assets.

As the release rightly points out, the museum also hosted some ambitious blockbuster exhibits during his tenure, including BODY WORLDS Vital in 2011 and RACE: Are We So Different? in 2016.

“When we brought Willie to South Carolina to serve as executive director, the goal was to take the museum to the next level by transforming it through, among other things, the observatory, planetarium and 4-D theater. That goal was achieved through Willie’s hard work and vision,” Gray Culbreath, the former chair of the South Carolina State Museum Commission, offers in the release. “While there were external challenges over the years, Willie’s servant leadership transformed the museum and its wonderful staff into the nationally known institution it is today.”

The release does not specify an exact exit date for Calloway, nor does it lay out any plans for finding his successor.

“While our building, our exhibits and our content are terrific,” the executive director reflects in the release, “what brings it all to life for our visiting families and school groups are the people of the museum — the staff, the volunteers, the Museum Commission, the Foundation Board members, our donors, and our government supporters. What an incredible experience and joy it has been to serve with such passionate, dedicated and giving people.”

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