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South Carolina Museums Day, Saturday, June 10, 2017

South Carolina’s museums play an important role in connecting citizens with the vast cultural heritage, artistic excellence, and natural history of our state according to Natalie Hefter, president of the South Carolina Federation of Museums (SCFM). In recognition of the importance of our state’s museums, Saturday, June 10, 2017 will be South Carolina Museums Day. Sponsored by SCFM, the goal of the day is to bring attention to the role the many museums across our state contribute to our tourism economy and quality of life. Hefter wants South Carolinians to know that, “Museums also bring the larger, outside world to South Carolina’s citizens – introducing us to international stories, innovative artists, and lessons from far beyond our state’s physical borders.”

On Museums Day, please plan to visit one or more of South Carolina’s 49 institutional member museums of SCFM, some of which will be offering special pricing or activities for the day.

The South Carolina Federation of Museum's mission is to serve, represent, advocate and promote South Carolina museums.


For more information go to:


South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum announce the 2017 Jean Laney Harris folk Heritage Award

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina announce the 2017 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipients: Peggie Hartwell, for narrative quiltmaking,the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Association, a traditional arts organization, and Dan and Norma Hendricks, for bluegrass and traditional music advocacy. The awards will be presented May 2 during a ceremony at the Statehouse. The 11:30 a.m. ceremony is free and open to the public.

Peggie Hartwell’s quilts are a means of engaging with her community and in contemporary issues. Her quilts are inspired by diverse sources, from her childhood memories of rural South Carolina, to current issues, like the plight of children walking from Central America to the U.S., for example, or hunger and gang violence. Her fabric artwork is in the collections of major museums across the U.S. and has been exhibited throughout the country. She has been featured on PBS’s Reading Rainbow and several documentaries about quilting. Hartwell is founder and instructor for Voices on Cloth, which promotes the art of quilt-making with a focus on working with K-12 students via classroom programs.

The Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Association engages and educates the public about Gullah Geechee history, culture, traditions, and sweetgrass basketry, as well as Gullah Geechee contributions to the social, economic, political and domestic development of America. Begun in 2005, the annual Sweetgrass Festival provides basket makers the opportunity to promote and market their work and share their stories. In conjunction with the Festival, The “Real” Taste of Gullah Banquet offers a more intimate and personal cultural experience, featuring a Passing on the Tradition ceremony, gospel music, and Gullah folklore and cuisine. The Festival’s Gullah Geechee Seminar presents scholars who facilitate, interpret and provide information about Gullah Geechee history and heritage, as well as contemporary issues in the community. SCAFA’s multi-pronged approach ensures that the sweetgrass basketry tradition will continue as a cultural, economic and educational resource for generations to come.

Traditional music is a way of life for Dan and Norma Hendricks, connecting them to their roots, their community, and to generations of young people they have mentored. Their traditional music advocacy shines bright in their mentoring and support of other musicians, especially young people. The Hendricks have been instrumental in the creation and success of such programs as Young Appalachian Musicians (YAM), Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music (POSAM), the Sweet Potato Pie Kids, and more recently, the Am Jam, a weekly gathering for amateurs at Pickens’ Hagood Mill. Many of their protégés have gone on to form their own bands, record CDs, win competitions, attend college as music majors or minors, and become instructors themselves. Dan and Norma Hendricks have brought bluegrass and traditional music to the forefront of their mountain community through their enthusiastic participation and advocacy.

Also on May 2, the award recipients will be honored by the S.C. Arts Foundation during the South Carolina Arts Award Luncheon, a fundraiser supporting the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission. Tickets are $50 per person. For more information about the S.C. Arts Awards and the luncheon, visit

The Folk Heritage Award is named for the late Jean Laney Harris, an ardent supporter of the state's cultural heritage. The award was created by the legislature in 1987 to recognize lifetime achievement in the folk arts. The artistic traditions represented by the award are significant because they have endured, often for hundreds of years.

For more information about the Folk Heritage Awards and the ceremony, contact Laura Marcus Green, at (803) 734-8764. Also visit the McKissick website at, or the S.C. Arts Commission website at


McKissick Presents the Upstate Cabinet Makers Tour
Saturday, May 20, 2017, 8:30 am – 6:30 pm
$50 a person, includes round trip travel from McKissick to Greenville & Pickens
Lunch is additional, estimated at $10 a person

Registration Deadline - May 1st 

Join us for an intimate glimpse of the artistry, tools, and processes of two artists featured in the exhibition, A Compass to Guide: South Carolina Cabinet Makers Today. Departing from McKissick Museum, we will stop first at the studio of Michael McDunn in Greenville.

Michael has worked in wood for over forty years. He purchased a wood lathe in 1975 and was soon asked to build displays and furniture for the Greenville County Museum of Art. Hired by the museum in 1976, he continued to develop his skill and love for art and finely designed furniture. McDunn left the museum in 1981 to concentrate full time on making custom pieces for individuals and businesses. The innovative and unique use of wood became Michael’s specialty as clients learned of his ability to fill a design need. While he enjoys working with walnut, cherry, and mahogany, he also uses exotic woods like ebony. He works in a range of styles, from 18th-century furniture to the contemporary pieces that are his passion. Looking ahead to our tour, Michael says:

 “Welcome to the Michael McDunn Studio. These are some of the things you will see on your tour here. When you first arrive you will enter my showroom and I will personally walk through with you and give you information on how the work was developed. Most of the pieces have very interesting stories about why I built them and the design and manufacturing intricacies involved in their production. Also in the showroom I have available a video walk-through of my portfolio. Next up will be my woodworking studio, where I will explain the process of designing and building a custom piece of furniture, choosing a finish and the finishing process. I look forward to seeing you and answering any questions you may have. I'm confident you will enjoy your visit.”

From Michael’s studio, we’ll head down North Main Street to the Northgate Soda Shop. The Soda Shop is something of a living history museum. Bricks from buildings that no longer exist sit on shelves alongside vintage bottles of Red Stripe and Miller Lite. Then there’s a moonshine still, a pair of ice tongs and a hand-dialed radio. Opened in 1947, the Soda Shop still services timeless homemade classics like pimento cheeseburgers, coleslaw, and many other favorites.

After lunch, we’ll make our way to Pickens to visit Harold Wayne Turner. A Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipient, Wayne is a cabinet maker, luthier, and musician. He explains his family’s deep woodworking roots and gives a preview of our tour:

“Prior to coming to America in 1640 and eventually settling in the Carolinas, the Turners of the Lamont Clan of Scotland were wood turners who made wooden pulleys for the Royal Navy. In the late 1800s, my great-grandfather, Thomas Fair Turner, made wooden tool handles for Solomon Jones, who had a toll road from Greenville County into North Carolina, now the Jones Gap State Park. His wife Laura’s brothers were furniture makers and wood carvers in the old Quaker tradition.

One brother, Benjamin Hamlin, and my grandfather, William Elias Turner, had a small construction company and helped build a folk art school on the Biltmore Estates. My grandfather was an accomplished wood worker and a blacksmith. He built furniture and helped build and restore resort properties in Western North Carolina. In 1906 he helped build Pickens Textile Mill. Ben Hamlin taught a cousin, Thomas Freeman Patterson, to make violins. Freeman’s obsession with this craft took him all over the U.S., hunting violin makers and improving on the art. In 1968 he found I had made an electric guitar and pestered me to keep it in the family. I relented.

My father was an orphan. As an adult, he took apart furniture and bird houses—anything he could get his hands on that his father made—to see how his father did it. He built his first woodshop in 1960 and poured out kitchen cabinets by the hundreds of feet for Pickens Mill Village residents. He also built furniture, bee gums and apple crates for his family and helped restore the Hagood Grist Mill in 1973.

I will start the tour with a look at an oversized jewelry box I made for my wife. Then I will pull out the trestle table my dad built for my mother. I will discuss inlay work and finishes and will share a recipe for varnish that has been in my family for 300 years. I’ll also give an overview of Appalachian style furniture making.”

From Wayne’s studio, we’ll head back to Columbia. This tour was made possible, in part, by Klingspor's Woodworking Shop.

For more information about the tour, visit our website or contact Laura Marcus Green [] at 803-777-7707. To purchase tickets, contact Emerald Washington[]at 803-777-6403. 



McKissick Museum Graduate Assistant Position Available Now

College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Carolina

January 3, 2017


McKissick Museum is seeking applications for one graduate assistantship for the spring 2017 semester. The position is for an appointment that begins immediately and ends May 15, 2017. The student works as a GSA in support of McKissick Museum’s operational mission and educational goals as the University of South Carolina’s largest museum. The candidate will support the exhibitions department.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, opening and closing the museum, serving as the weekend staff person in charge, working receptions and events, handling artifacts, processing loans, creating condition reports, preparing and installing exhibitions, researching future exhibitions, answering research requests, and covering the ground floor desk phone and security cameras when the staff member responsible is absent, and other duties as assigned.

The position requires students to work some Saturdays, during the week of spring break, and one week after the spring semester ends.

The appointment is for 15 hours of work per week, and it includes a stipend of $4,968 and a tuition abatement of $1,741.

A letter of interest and a resume should be emailed to Lana Burgess (, Faculty Curator and Director, Museum Management Program as soon as possible.



September 9, 2016


McKissick to host 4th annual FOLKFabulous festival celebrating

South Carolina woodworking traditions


Columbia, SC, The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum will present the 4th annual FOLKFabulous festival on Saturday, September 24th, from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in front of the Museum on USC’s historic Horseshoe in Columbia.  This event is free and open to the public.

Built around the theme of the yearlong exhibition, A Compass to Guide: South Carolina Cabinet Makers Today, FOLKFabulous brings together the best of South Carolina’s wood-working artisans and musicians for a day of hands-on activities, music, and fun. Demonstrating artisans include The Columbia Woodworkers, Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award (FHA) recipient Ike Carpenter, Mary May, Michael McDunn, Thomas Williams, and the Palmetto Woodturners. Legendary bluesman Drink Small, a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellow and FHA recipient, will be headlining. This year’s other performing artists include FHA recipient Freddie Vanderford & Mill Billy Blues, Wilson Banjo Co., the El Shaddai Ambassadors, Grupo Frenesi Digital, Ricky McDuffie & Family, and USC Woodwinds. In addition, members of the woodworking community will be featured throughout the day on the indoor narrative stage.  For more information visit:

Co-presented by the Columbia Woodworkers and the Greenville Woodworkers Guild, A Compass to Guide explores the diverse woodworking traditions that contemporary South Carolina furniture makers draw upon for inspiration. This exhibit represents year four of McKissick’s Diverse Voices series, which celebrates the traditional arts and folkways of the Southeastern United States. 

FOLKFabulous is funded with support from the South Carolina Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.  

July 7, 2016

McKissick Launches New Political Exhibition Starring

 South Carolina’s Jimmy Byrnes


Columbia, SC –   With the new exhibition From South Carolina to the World: Jimmy Byrnes and Political History at McKissick Museum, the McKissick Museum explores the political journey of Jimmy Byrnes. The only American to have served as a U.S. Representative, Senator, Supreme Court Justice, Presidential cabinet member, and Governor, Byrnes was one of the most active and versatile South Carolinians of his time.  The exhibition opens August 18th 2016 and will run through December 10th 2016, on display in the North gallery on the 2nd floor. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, August 25, 2016 from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm.

Curated by Mark Smith, Curator for Exhibition and Collection Management, and Dr. Claire Jerry, Chief Curator of Collections and Research, From South Carolina to the World examines the relationship between this native son and the holders of the office he most desired—President of the United States.  In spite of, and perhaps because of, his failure to achieve this goal, Byrnes influenced the campaigns and careers of eleven presidents by working for—and sometimes against—them.  In this presidential election year come learn about a man who for more than sixty years kept South Carolina in the forefront of American politics at home and around the world.

McKissick Museum is located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe with available parking in the garage at the corner of Pendleton and Bull streets. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. The Museum is open from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday through Friday, 11:00am – 3:00pm on Saturdays. The Museum is closed Sundays and University holidays. For more information, please give us a call at 803-777-7251 or visit

This exhibition is co-presented by The Byrnes foundation.


The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum fosters awareness and appreciation of the diversity of the American South's culture and geography, attending particularly to the importance of enduring folkways and traditions. It accomplishes these aims through original research about southern life, material culture, natural science, and decorative and fine arts by holding exhibitions, issuing publications and by public programming. It collaborates with the university community and outside constituents in documenting, collecting and interpreting the region’s culture, history, and natural environment.  The museum also helps fulfill the university’s mission by engaging in campus educational and enrichment activities, acting as a repository for relevant collections, and through its graduate museum certification program. For more information, visit:

Established in 1948, the Byrnes Foundation assists students with the financing of a college education. The foundation is financed from the proceeds of Mr. Byrnes' books, Speaking Frankly and All In One Lifetime, as well as contributions from friends and admirers of Mr. and Mrs. Byrnes. In order to qualify as a candidate for a Byrnes Scholarship the student must have lost either one or both parents and be a resident of South Carolina. For more information, please visit


June 23, 2016

McKissick Museum, in collaboration with Thomas Cooper Library, A.C. Moore Herbarium,

South Caroliniana Library, and USC's Center for Digital Humanities, receives

USC grant to bring collections together online.


Columbia, SC – The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum, in collaboration with Thomas Cooper Library, A.C. Moore Herbarium, the South Caroliniana Library, and the USC Center for Digital Humanities has been recently awarded an $83,500 USC ASPIRE II grant to facilitate the Historic Southern Naturalists project, which will bring parts of their collections together online. This project will ultimately produce a website that facilitates both scholarly and avocational research into the history of natural history investigations in South Carolina. It is scheduled to begin in July 2016 and continue through August 2017 and will include digital interactives to enhance the McKissick Museum’s Natural Curiosity exhibition.

The Historic Southern Naturalists project will digitize objects and archives from all parties to produce a comprehensive website. This website can then be used to cross-reference digital media as well as enhance the informal educational opportunities within each organization.

The addition of a large format touchscreen kiosk and two iPad kiosks in McKissick Museum’s natural history gallery will allow visitors to examine fragile documents associated with the objects on exhibit, while also igniting long-term interest in both history and the natural world. The McKissick Museum hopes that these digital interactives will serve as a gateway connecting visitors to the historic documents and objects of the founders of natural history in SC.

High priority collections to be digitized include the equipment, minerals, field labels, and manuscripts of Thomas Cooper; the minerals, field labels, books and documents of Lewis Reeves Gibbes; and the herbaria, equipment, manuscripts, and monographs of Andrew Charles Moore. This work will result in an anticipated 15,000 digitized images to augment each institution’s collection database and for use in the new website.

The University of South Carolina Office of Research and Graduate Education awards grants from its Advanced Support Program for Integration of Research Excellence (ASPIRE II). The goal of the grant is to assist new projects or to support existing collaborative interdisciplinary research within the University that is nationally or internationally competitive up to $100,000. 


February 1, 2016

Schedule announced for music symposium, "Shared Traditions: Sacred Music in the South"


Shared Traditions: Sacred Music in the South

February 26 and 27, 2016

McKissick Museum, the School of Music, University of South Carolina and Brookland Baptist Church, West Columbia

Friday, February 26th

3:30 – 4:00pm     McKissick Museum, Second Floor Lobby  

Opening remarks by McKissick Executive Director, Jane Przybysz

Welcome from Chief Curator of Folklife and Fieldwork, Saddler Taylor

Artist Meet & Greet – Anita Singleton-Prather

Light Refreshments 

4:00 – 4:30pm     McKissick Museum, Diverse Voices Gallery

Curator-led Tour of Heard at Every Turn: Traditional Music in South Carolina

6:30 – 6:50pm    Johnson Hall, Darla Moore School of Business, USC

Eric Crawford, Coastal Carolina University

“The African-American Spiritual Tradition in the Sea Islands”

  Introduction of Aunt Pearlie Sue and the Gullah Kinfolk

7:00 – 8:30pm     Johnson Hall, Darla Moore School of Business, USC

Aunt Pearlie Sue and the Gullah Kinfolk

  “Circle Unbroken: A Gullah Journey from Africa to America”


Saturday, February 27th

All events at Brookland Baptist Church, West Columbia

 9:00 – 10:30am

Panel Session – “Vocal Godliness: Gospel in Black and White”

            (Terri Brinegar, Loneka Wilkinson Battiste, Cory Hunter; Birgitta Johnson – mod.)

10:45 – 11:30am

Minuette Floyd, University of South Carolina

“The Music of the African-American Camp Meeting”

11:30 – 12:30pm

Break for Lunch

12:45 – 2:15pm

Keynote Address by Dr. Cynthia Schmidt

2:30 – 5:15pm

Music Workshops (3 concurrent 45 minute sessions with 10 minute breaks between)

            Workshop #1 – Lena Allen Davis and the Community Workshop Choir

            Workshop #2 – Pat Johnson and the Springfield Baptist Singing Convention

Workshop #3 – Torez Edwards and Deacon Harry Jivers

5:30 – 6:30pm

            Shape-Note Program & Concert 



May 14, 2015

Museum staff and museum management alumni share their research at two national conferences in April.

Every spring, the National Council on Public History and the American Alliance of Museums hold their annual meetings. This year, both conferences will held in the Southeast allowing for increased participation from McKissick staff, USC students and alumni. We are excited to share a listing of their contributions to the national discourse on current museum topics.


Lana Burgess, Director, Museum Management Program, presented “Preparing Emerging Professionals for Work in Small Museums” at the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting in Atlanta. Lana also moderated the session Art + History = Limitless Interdisciplinary Potential.”

Christian Cicimurri, Curator of Natural History, presented “Improved Storage of a Radioactive Geologic Collection: A Case Study at McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina” as a poster during the Marketplace of Ideas at the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting in Atlanta. Christian is presenting a paper on the same topic at the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections Annual Meeting in Gainesville later in May.

Claire Jerry, Chief Curator of Collections and Research, presented “Controversial Collections: Interpretation on the Edge of Community Norms” at the National Council on Public History Annual Meeting in Nashville.


Clara Bertagnolli presented “Digitizing Bull Street” at the National Council on Public History’s Digital Project Showcase, Nashville.

Porchia Moore presented “Using Our Words: Inclusive Language and Social Value” at the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting in Atlanta.


Rebecca Bush (2011), Curator of History, Columbus Museum, Georgia, presented “Art + History = Limitless Interdisciplinary Potential” at the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

Caitlin Mans (2013), Curatorial Assistant, Aurora History Museum, Colorado, presented “Preparing Emerging Professionals for Work in Small Museums” at the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

Amanda Noll (2013), Project Coordinator for the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative at the College of Charleston presented “Art + History = Limitless Interdisciplinary Potential” at the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

Caitlin Podas (2012), Registrar, Mississippi Museum of Art, presented “Advocacy 101: How to Be Effective in Your Own Community” at the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting in Atlanta.


May 8, 2015

Jane Przybysz, Executive Director, was awarded a Fulbright Research Fellowship to conduct research at the Cepelia Foundation and Arts Academy in Warsaw, Poland. Her fourth-month sabbatical began on April 20, and she will return to USC September 1.


January 23, 2015

A new exhibition opened on the first floor of the museum replacing the installation of Baruch silver. 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 watercolor by St. EOM, 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. 



Museum Management Program students continue to excel as the recipients of recent grants and fellowships

Liya Deng (Doctoral student and Cultural Heritage Informatics Leadership Fellow at the School of Library and Information Science and candidate for the Museum Management Graduate Certificate) was awarded a SPARC Graduate Research Grant. Liya is conducting her research at the Columbia Museum of Art in preparation for writing her dissertation, “Equity of Access to Cultural Heritage: The Influence of Museum Experience on Learning in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.”   

Brianna Hughes (Candidate for MLIS and Museum Management Graduate Certificate)was awarded an American Alliance of Museums Member Fellowship to attend the AAM Annual Meeting and Museum Expo this April in Atlanta, Georgia. AAM is the largest professional organization for the museum field and a leader in best practices, networking, new ideas, and professional development. The Annual Conference is their primary dissemination vehicle and the largest convening of museum professional in the world with an average of 5,000 attendees. The Fellowship program is extremely competitive making only 60 awards per year.


Museum Management Program well represented at fall SEMC meeting

The 2014 Southeastern Museums Conference, held in Knoxville, Tennessee, saw a large turnout of participants from USC’s Museum Management Certificate Program. Current MMP students and first time attendees included Clara Bertagnolli, Liya Deng, Hillary Hudson, Brianna Hughes, and Stan Trembach. Former curatorial assistant Allison Baker was awarded an SEMC Traveling Scholarship in the Emerging Museum Professionals category.

As a regional conference, SEMC is particularly interested in providing a range of opportunities for students and new professionals. Again this year, several students from USC were selected to present. The Spotlight on Student Research in Museums session included Liya Deng (PhD student, School of Library and Information Science) who presented “Toward a Museum without Boundaries: Designing Inclusive Learning Environments for Children on the Autism Spectrum,” and Elizabeth Wakefield (PhD student, Anthropology Department) who gave a paper titled “Black Medicine/White Bodies: Investigating Charleston’s Yellow Fever Epidemics 1854-1871.” The Technology Showcase featured Stan Trembach (PhD student, School of Library and Information Science) who spoke on the topic “From Papyrus to PDAs: Digital Technology, Audience Diversification, and Education through Participation in Contemporary Museums.” Alumna Amanda Noll, Project Coordinator for the Low Digital History Initiative at the College of Charleston talked about her recent work. Other alumni who presented during regular conference sessions included J.R. Fennell, Director, Lexington County Museum, Lexington; Zinnia Willits, Director of Collections Administration, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. Tina Smith, Museum Educator, Museum of Anthropology, Wake Forest University, coordinated the EdCom Luncheon.



McKissick Museum is pleased to announce the jurors who will review and select entries to be included in Crafting Civil (War) Conversations. They include:

  • Carla Funk, Director & Chief Curator, Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, The Foosaner   

      Art Museum, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL

  • Anne C. Currier, Professor of Ceramics, Division of Ceramic Art, Alfred University,

      Alfred, NY

  • Albert LeCoff, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Center for Wood Art,

      Philadelphia, PA 

  • Jim Masterson, Shop Forman, National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis, TN

  • Diane C. Wright, Barry Curator of Glass, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA

McKissick Museum recently identified these five distinguished museum professionals and academics for their wealth of expertise in the craft-based media of ceramics, fiber, glass, metal, and wood to serve as jurors for Crafting Civil (War) Conversations. This major exhibition invites artists who work in these various media to create artworks that imagine a scene of reconciliation between the descendants of enslaved people and the descendants of slave owners, all as a means to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the end of the Civil War. Our hope is that this roster of jurors—including people with national and international perspectives on ceramic, textile, glass, metal and wood arts—will inspire even greater participation on the part of artists throughout the Southeast. Click here for more information on this exhibition.


June 17, 2014 - McKissick Museum receives a grant from the Center for Teaching Excellence and USC Connect

McKissick Museum has been awarded a 2014-15 Teaching Excellence Grant in Integrative Learning to support Saddler Taylor, Chief Curator of Folklife and Fieldwork, in his effort to teach skills which go beyond the classroom. In Taylor’s SC Honors College course, Folklife in America, students actively explore the origins of folklore as a discipline, answering a variety of key questions like why folklore is relevant in their lives and how it informs everyday life. This course requires students to apply the fieldwork methodologies they learn in actual fieldwork situations. Students are assigned digital recorders, take “ownership” of that equipment for the duration of the semester, and become intimately familiar with how they work. Students then use to the audio editing suite in the Folklife Resource Center (FRC) at McKissick Museum, allowing them to learn a variety of post-interview editing processes and techniques. At the close of the semester, the recordings and field notes gathered by the students will be deposited in the Folklife Resource Center at McKissick Museum. This fall the focus will be on exploring and documenting music traditions within the USC community. The material gathered will help inform an exhibition of traditional music in South Carolina, scheduled to open August 2015. This information will be the first documentary material added to the new Student Fieldwork Initiative collection at the FRC. A public archive, the materials in the FRC are available to researchers from all academic pursuits.


April 7, 2014 - Call for Entries

McKissick Museum, along with many other cultural organizations in the City of Columbia and at USC, will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War on April 9, 2014. For our commemoration, McKissick invites artists to reflect on the history of the war and its legacy and plans to feature a major exhibition entitled Crafting Civil (War) Conversations

Seeking entries from artists working in what historically have been regarded as craft-based media (clay, fiber, glass, metal and wood), our exhibit will be a juried art exhibition that symbolically re-enacts the Civil War’s end as a scene of reconciliation—not between the North and the South—but between former slaves and former slave owners. The Museum ask artists to imagine and give visual and sculptural form to this scene, perhaps giving form to what Martin Luther King conjured when he dreamt of a day when “the sons of former slaves and the sons of slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2014. The exhibition will run from February 2 to May 30, 2015.

For complete information about the exhibition, including participation guidelines, please see the Call for Entries here and visit to submit your entries.


March 17, 2014 - McKissick receives award

During the annual South Carolina Federation of Museums conference last week, McKissick Museum received an Award of Achievement for its Diverse Voices: Celebrating Community through Traditional Arts exhibit. McKissick has built a solid foundation of original research and developed the leading folklife collection in the region. Diverse Voices is the first dedicated exhibition space at McKissick to regularly feature objects from the permanent collection as well as audio, video, and image materials from the Folklife Resource Center Archive.


March 10, 2014 - FHA winners announced

McKissick Museum and the South Carolina Arts Commission announce Chris Boutwell and Anita Singleton-Prather as the 2014 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipients. The S.C. State Legislature will present the awards on May 8 at the Statehouse, followed by a reception at the USC Capstone Campus Room. 

Boutwell, of Lexington, is being honored as a bluegrass musician. Since the 1960s, he has performed with numerous bands and mentored generations of bluegrass musicians. He shares the history of the music by telling stories about the songs he plays and is considered a “walking encyclopedia” of bluegrass knowledge.

Singleton-Prather, of Beaufort, is an entrepreneur, Gullah advocate, entertainer and master storyteller. She brings Gullah culture to countless people through “Aunt Pearlie Sue,” a character inspired by her grandmother. She is also the founder of the musical performance group The Gullah Kinfolk.

January 23, 2014 - McKissick Museum releases Folk Music Ultra

The Folklife Resource Center at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum announces the release of Folk Music Ultra, the third recording in the Considerable Grace Traditional Music Series. Featuring a wide range of folk music including gospel, blues, shape-note, Native American flute, and Appalachian balladry, several of the musicians are recipients of the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award.

The Considerable Grace Traditional Music series strives to make traditional music available to a wide audience, raise awareness of the traditional arts and the various cultures that practice them, and draw attention to South Carolina’s musical and cultural heritage. This CD reflects the subject of ongoing research at the McKissick Museum’s Folklife Resource Center, which considers it a priority to not only preserve and disseminate materials in the archive, but also actively collect and record the music of contemporary folk musicians. 

The CDs are available for the nominal price of $5.00 each. This project was funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

For additional project information contact Saddler Taylor at and for ordering information contact Ja-Nae Epps at  or 803.777.2876.  Visit us on the web at or


December 5, 2013 - Exhibition Development and Interpretation Class

The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum fosters awareness and appreciation of the diversity of the American South's culture and geography, attending particularly to the importance of enduring folkways and traditions. It accomplishes these aims through original research about southern life, material culture, natural science, and decorative and fine arts by holding exhibitions, issuing publications and by public programming. It collaborates with the university community and outside constituents in documenting, collecting and interpreting the region’s culture, history, and natural environment.  The museum also helps fulfill the university’s mission by engaging in campus educational and enrichment activities, acting as a repository for relevant collections, and through its graduate museum certification program.

Pictured are the students, instructor Burgess, and staff of the Office of the Vice President for Research.


On October 30, students in the Exhibition Development and Interpretation class hung 27 pieces of art in the Office of the Vice President for Research at Osborne Administration Building, USC Columbia. The practical skill-building exercise gave students museum preparation experience, while providing service to another unit on campus. Class members are Andrew Abeyounis, Kimberly Campbell, Marleigh Chiles, Brian Dolphin, Hillary Hudson, Lauren Mojkowski, Rebecca Shepherd, Andy Thomas, and Maggie White. Dr. Lana A. Burgess teaches the class.


July 29, 2013 - Saying goodbye to a dear friend.


Jill Beute Koverman

It is with great sadness that we inform you that our dear friend and colleague, Jill Beute Koverman, has lost her battle with cancer. Jill served as McKissick Museum’s Chief Curator for Collections and Research. Her dedication to her profession, her important work on advocacy, and her strong friendships are a great loss to the museum community. Jill touched many of us through her work in museums in Georgia and South Carolina, through her research on southern pottery, as an active member and officer in South Carolina Federation of Museums, and as an instructor and mentor in USC's Museum Certificate Program. She will be sadly missed, but our memories of her will be cherished.