Arts and Culture 2011

Amy Holtcamp



Museum of the Week – The S.C. State Museum

Posted 7/10/2010 11:48:00 AM

The S.C. State Museum has a new exhibit that showcases one of the most important parts of the state's history -- its people.

Palmetto Portraits: Images by Contemporary South Carolina Photographers showcases the work of 24 South Carolinia photographers who were asked to capture their fellow citizens on film.

The project began in 2006 as a way of gathering artwork for the halls of the Medical University of South Carolina. By lining the hallways with these portraits, the university hoped to remind their soon-to-be doctors of the people they would be treating.

The State Museum’s exhibition marks the first time that all 275 portraits have been displayed together. There are images of bakers and businessmen, crabbers and hat makers. The result is an assortment of photographs that truly displays not only the demographic diversity of South Carolina but the individuality and distinctive personalities of the people who live here.

The photographers’ styles also display that diversity. Kathleen Robbins’ photos seem to elevate the everyday from banal to important. In her work, the simple act of skateboarding, sitting on the porch or unpacking a U-haul seem to take on new significance. Andrew Hayworth, on the other hand, creates a dreamlike atmosphere in his portraits of rural South Carolinians. Molly Hayes captures Civil War reenactors in full costume, their Bluetooth earpieces at odds with their 19th century calicos.

Palmetto Portraits can be seen through January 9, 2011, in the Lipscomb Gallery.

In addition to the portrait exhibit, the museum is filled with literally thousands of artifacts that reveal South Carolina’s history and culture. There are more than 70,000 artifacts on four floors, ranging from the oldest stone tools found in the Palmetto State to scientific displays on electromagnetism and lasers. Even the building that houses the museum – the 1893 Columbia Mills textile factory – tells a story about the state’s history.

Museum hours are Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for children ages 3-12. Children 2 and younger are free and there is a $1 military discount.

For more information on the S.C. State Museum visit and to learn more about the Palmetto Portrait Project see