McKissick Museum: Invitation to Explore
Ongoing, 1st floor lobby
McKissick Museum: Invitation to Explore celebrates the long history of common goals shared by universities and museums.
According to USC’s mission statement, the heart of a university lies in its “responsibility to state and society to promote the dissemination of knowledge, cultural enrichment, and an enhanced quality of life.” Similarly, a museum is an institution “in the service of society and its development . . . for purposes of study, education, and enjoyment” (International Council on Museums). In other words, universities educate for the public good and museums hold their collections in the public’s trust. Both must fulfill their common educational mission by attending to the needs of those entrusted to them—students and artifacts.
Just as university programs require many people to ensure successful experiences, museums have a number of individuals who work behind the scenes. Every exhibit at McKissick is the shared product of many people who largely do their work anonymously. This exhibit is different. In addition to presenting the varied parts of the museum’s collection, these cases introduce the permanent staff, revealing a little bit about why they do what they do. Just as every member of the USC community has something specific about the university they particularly love, curators and museum specialists also have favorite pieces in the museum collections. Some of these special objects are presented here.
The exhibit includes artifacts, some never before exhibited, from the museum’s collections of Southern stoneware, sweetgrass baskets, gems and minerals, university history artifacts, political memorabilia, fine art, Baruch silver, textiles, art glass, and Folk Heritage Award winner items. The exhibit showcases artifacts such as a signed Dave jar, a Mary Jackson basket, Maxcy Gregg’s dueling pistols, a crayon drawing by Eddie Arning, a giant shark tooth, and many others including the University mace and presidential medallion.
The University of South Carolina and McKissick Museum agree with the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries that “Great Universities Have Great Museums!” This exhibit invites you to learn more about how this university and this museum are realizing this goal.
Image: Salt and Pepper Shaker, John F. Kennedy (Political Memorabilia), 1962, The Charles T. Ferillo Collection, 19126.96.36.1995