Historic Columbia Foundation was founded in 1961 by a group of preservationists intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House, known today as the Robert Mills House. In 1967 the restored 1823 residence opened to the public as a house museum. Also that year, Historic Columbia Foundation became the steward of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home, which had been operating as a shrine to our nation's 28th president since 1932. Five years later, the organization gained stewardship of the Hampton-Preston Mansion and in 1978, the Mann-Simons Cottage.
Today, Historic Columbia Foundation manages these four historic house museums and their associated artifacts. A city leader in heritage tourism, Historic Columbia Foundation provides daily house museum tours, walking tours and guided bus tours of Columbia's cultural and historical assets. Additionally, the organization hosts annual programs and events such as the Gardening Symposium and the Jubilee Festival of Heritage. As an advocate for the preservation of Columbia's built history, Historic Columbia Foundation works closely with city and county officials to ensure proper protection is provided to structures with cultural and historical importance. Regardless of the format, Historic Columbia Foundation's efforts focus on improving the quality of life for residents of Columbia and Richland County and on ensuring that those who visit leave with a positive, lasting impression.
Historic House Museums Open for Tours:
Robert Mills House & Gardens, 1616 Blanding Street
Hampton-Preston Mansion, 1615 Blanding Steet
Mann-Simons Site & Outdoor Museum, 1403 Richland Street
Woodrow Wilson Family Home, 1705 Hampton Street ***REOPENS FOR TOURS JANUARY 2014***