Charleston’s historic sites, museums and cultural organizations that make up the Charleston Heritage Federation announced a number of activities and events for spring that bring the history of the city to life.
CHF recently announced its Essential Charleston Passport is available for purchase online, offering guests a digital ticket to travel back in time and discover the city’s cultural mainstays by hopping between the Old and Historic District. The passport includes admission to CHF’s five historic houses, the country’s oldest landscaped gardens at Middleton Place, the oldest preserved plantation house at Drayton Hall, Gibbes Museum of Art and more.
Since being allowed to reopen, CHF members have worked to adopt enhanced safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As individuals travel to Charleston once again and locals look to explore their own backyard, CHF members encourage visitors of all ages to safely discover the Lowcountry’s rich history through one or more of its institutions.
The Gibbes Museum of Art
Manning Williams: Reinventing Narrative Painting, now through April 18
Reinventing Narrative Painting is the first major retrospective of Manning Williams’s work since his death in 2012. The exhibition will be accompanied by a book published by Evening Post Publishing and will travel to the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, GA. Williams’s paintings are rooted in the history, traditions and terrain of the South Carolina Lowcountry. A Charleston native and lifelong resident, Williams earned degrees from the College of Charleston and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His highly personal approach to realist painting emphasized storytelling and was fueled by an interest in portraying subjects that he found on the periphery of the city and along the barrier islands. Western subjects also commanded Williams’s attention, and during the later years of his career, his concern with narrative was expressed in a more abstract style. Reinventing Narrative Painting features 30 paintings from Williams’s prolific career that spanned more than 40 years.
Art of Design, March 5, 11:45 a.m. (Virtual Event)
Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder and CEO of boutique travel planning company Indagare, is the featured speaker of the 11th annual Art of Design. Since 2011, the Gibbes’ Women’s Council has hosted renowned experts at the annual luncheon and lecture. This year, Bradley will discuss the subject of travel in today’s world, especially as the industry grapples with unprecedented issues of safety and cost. Due to current COVID-19 guidance, all general admission tickets will be for live-stream access only. Guests can purchase a $50 ticket to stream the lecture. The Women’s Council and Indagare will also be raffling off a trip for two, valued at $20,000, to support the museum. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $100.
The Charleston Museum
Easter Eggstravaganza, March 27, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Get egg-cited with craft making at the Charleston Museum followed by an Easter egg hunt in the garden of the Joseph Manigault House. Crafts will be outside, and the egg hunt will begin at 10:30 a.m.
Every month The Charleston Museum offers a special program dedicated to providing an educational and exciting experience for the whole family. Free for museum members and free with admission. Participants must wear masks. For more information, call 843-722-2996 ext. 236 or visit www.charlestonmuseum.org.
The Heyward-Washington House
Women’s History Tours, Saturdays in March at 2 p.m.
In celebration of Women's History Month, a special tour will be offered every Saturday in March (March 6, 13, 20 and 27) to focus on the lives of the women who made history at the Heyward-Washington House.
Visitors on this guided tour of 87 Church Street will learn more about Elizabeth Heyward's stand against the British army during the American Revolution and the boarding house run by Rebecca Jameson when there were no men living in residence.
Visitors will also learn more about a young girl who lived in the House and grew up to become a famous abolitionist – Sarah Grimke. This tour is free for museum members and free with admission to the Heyward-Washington House. Participants must wear masks. For more information, call 843-722-2996 ext. 236 or visit www.charlestonmuseum.org.
The Joseph Manigault House
Women’s History Tours, Sundays in March, 2 p.m.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, a special tour will be offered every Sunday in March (March 7, 14, 21, 28) to focus on the lives of the women who made history at the Joseph Manigault House.
Guests on this tour will learn more about Charlotte Drayton Manigault, her daughter Ann, the enslaved women Affy and Bess, and the daily lives of ladies of the early 1800s.
This special tour will also highlight the stories of how the house was saved by Susan Pringle Frost, Nell McColl Pringle and Princess Henrietta Pignatelli. Guides will also highlight the House's history as a USO post, Red Cross Training Facility and women's dormitory during WWII.
This tour is free for museum members and free with admission to the Joseph Manigault House. Participants must wear masks. For more information, call 843-722-2996 ext. 236 or visit www.charlestonmuseum.org.
Avery Research Center
Black Satire in the 21st Century: A Conversation with Dr. Danielle Fuentes Morgan, February 24, 4:30 p.m. (Virtual Event)
The African American Studies Program at the College of Charleston presents the 2021 Conseula Francis Emerging Scholar Lecture: a conversation with Dr. Danielle Fuentes Morgan about her book, Laughing to Keep from Dying: African American Satire in the Twenty-First Century. For more information, please contact Professor Mari Crabtree (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Drayton Hall Webinar – Cozy or Cold? What was winter weather like in a historic house?
March 4, 5 p.m. (Virtual Event)
Join curators Trish Smith and Amber Satterthwaithe of Drayton Hall for a webinar on Cozy or Cold? What was winter weather like in a historic house? This is a “donate what you can” event presented by Drayton Hall Preservation Trust. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3pU4Lff.
Webinar, Search for Slave Houses – A Virtual Walking Tour, March 11, 5 p.m. (Virtual Event)
Join Cameron Moon for a virtual walking tour of Drayton Hall in search of slave houses. While the main house itself is a slave house, it’s believed most people enslaved at Drayton Hall lived in a settlement of some kind elsewhere on the landscape.
This tour will chronicle the methods and resources used to research where on the property slave houses may have been and what they would have looked like. This interactive tour will walk guests virtually through the plantation to find where a settlement may have been and discuss questions of what life would’ve been like on the plantation. This is a “donate what you can” event presented by Drayton Hall Preservation Trust. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/2YMl8yv.
Candlelight Tour, March 13, 6 p.m.
Visitors are invited to create a special historic memory by taking a candlelight tour of Charleston’s Drayton Hall, ca. 1738. Beautiful and moving, this eighteenth-century historic house is the oldest untouched home open to the public in the United States. Candlelight tours are conducted by audio broadcast. Pre-registration is required. $45 non/$40 members. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/39OhRFm.
Prosecco on the Portico, April 3, 3 p.m.
Guest are invited to enjoy a glass of prosecco on the iconic portico of Drayton Hall. Grounds admission and audio tour are included in the ticket price. Prosecco will be served from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and gates close at 5 p.m. Visitors will receive a glass of prosecco upon finishing the audio tour and exiting the house. $35 non-member/ $30 member. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/2N27RQ0.
A Tale of Two Draytons: New Perspectives on the Denmark Vesey Conspiracy, April 15, 5 p.m. (Virtual Event)
Join Brandon M. Stone virtually as he discusses his master’s thesis – A Tale of Two Draytons: New Perspectives on the Denmark Vesey Conspiracy.
“Inside the largest trial in 19th century Charleston, two individuals with the last name of ‘Drayton’ appeared several times in the Denmark Vesey court documents. The two individuals listed were John Drayton, district judge and former Governor of South Carolina and Charles Drayton, a man who was enslaved by John and was involved in the planning of the Denmark Vesey revolt. The duality of these two men and an investigation of the post-trial whereabouts are explored in Brandon M. Stone’s master’s thesis.” This is a “donate what you can” event. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3twWvnw.
Charleston Library Society
Charleston Library Society Zoom Speaker Series – Music Edition: “Hamilton: How the Musical Remixes History” Lecture by Richard Bell, March 4, 6 p.m.
With Disney+ streaming “Hamilton”, everyone is talking about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical. Its crafty lyrics, hip-hop tunes and big, bold story have even rejuvenated interest in the real lives and true histories that “Hamilton” puts center stage. In this talk, which is aimed at people who know the soundtrack or who have seen the show, University of Maryland historian Dr. Richard Bell explores this musical phenomenon to reveal what its success tells us about the marriage of history and show-business. This event is free, but an RSVP is required. To RSVP, or for more information, call (843)723-9912 or visit www.charlestonlibrarysociety.org/events.
Charleston’s Preservation Month, May
In celebration of National Preservation Month, the Preservation Society will embark on a series of events to educate and raise awareness about the importance of advocacy and historic preservation in Charleston. Events will range from hard hat tours of private properties to webinars and much more. All funds raised from Preservation Month events support efforts to stay at the forefront of the discussion about Charleston’s growth and preservation. For more information visit www.preservationsociety.org.