• For $17, you get a one-year individual student membership (a $35 value). • For $25, you get a one-year individual membership (a $50 value). • For $50, you get a one-year family membership good for up to four people (a $100 value).
The museum is currently featuring the work of contemporary American artist Lesley Dill in the I Heard a Voice exhibit, which will run through January 23. An English major turned artist, Dill's artistic vision stems from her love of Emily Dickinson's poetry, her travels in India, and her interest in Buddhism—in this exhibition, she uses bronze work, photography, poetry, thread, wire, and paper to sculpt figures and build tapestries. Dill's 34 pieces provide a visual accompaniment to poetic texts by Dickinson, Franz Kafka, Salvador Espriu, and more. We are Animals of Language, a documentary created by Dill's husband, is also showing in the gallery to provide insights into the creation, background, and meaning of Dill's intriguing pieces, while providing a guide to speaking in dolphins’ native tongue. See the website for a list of regular museum and holiday hours.
Though built in 1893 to manufacture textiles, the Columbia Mills’ storied stone halls now weave tapestries of knowledge with exhibits on everything from lasers and space travel to South Carolina's role in the Civil War. Boasting accolades by Columbia Metropolitan magazine and the Smithsonian, South Carolina State Museum devotes each of its four floors and part of its fourth dimension to art, cultural history, natural history, and science and technology represented by more than 70,000 artifacts.
Through a series of permanent exhibits, curators lead visitors on a cultural and geological voyage. Guests stroll through years of traditional and contemporary art by state artists, marvel at a 43-foot white shark display and full dinosaur skeletons, or cast imaginations back in exhibits on turn-of-the-century transportation, laser technology, and aviation. The museum also excavates the surrounding landscape to present 14,000 years of local culture in Native American tools and colonial-era lifestyle items.
Five galleries also house changing exhibits and have previously featured artifacts from such entities as the Titanic, Civil War–era Charleston, or the 300 years of American-made telescopes, with each carefully monitored to ensure they contained just the right amount of science. While museum staffers frequently rotate their exhibits, they also host traveling displays and send others on the road through the Traveling Exhibits Program. Various education displays such as interactive children's labs, living-history reenactments, and lectures from visiting scholars further enrich all-ages visitors.
When visitors step into one of the South's largest children's museums, there's one thought that commonly crosses their minds: That's a big kid. Waiting to greet them is a 40-foot-tall statue of EDDIE, a reinforced, molded-plastic boy who weighs 17.6 tons and—like almost everything at EdVenture Children's Museum—is ready for kids to explore. After they've climbed inside his heart, up to his brain, and slid down his intestines—all while learning about their own bodies—kids race to explore the rest of the museum's more than 350 hands-on activities contained within nine exhibit galleries. As a testament to its attractions, EdVenture Children's Museum received the 2011 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, an honor given to only 10 libraries and museums in the nation.
Past Eddie, EdVenture’s permanent exhibits include the World of Work, where kids climb aboard a John Deere tractor, take the helm of a 24-foot fire truck, and learn the value of money by spending Eddie Bucks on groceries or flooding the market to undermine the local economy. At the Aha Factory, wee ones recycle everyday items into paper snowflakes, pipe-cleaner butterflies, and glitter-encrusted egg cartons. Children 3 and younger, meanwhile, can explore the My Backyard exhibit, an age-appropriate haven of soft surfaces.
At the Hall of Horrors, thrill-seekers slink through the claustrophobic corridors of a domicile that palpates with a cast of specters that induces goose bumps for a good cause. Crazed scientists slice their way through medical experiments, while chainsaw-wielding clowns hatch maniacal plans for deforesting Christmas tree lots. As a nonprofit haunted house, Hall of Horrors proceeds support South Carolina Jaycee Camp Hope and other charities throughout the Midlands area.
Harnessing the equine expertise of two renowned members of the Professional Horsemen's Association, Caughman Farms advances students of all skill levels in both English and Western riding styles. The content and length of each lesson will depend on the student's individual experience, rate of improvement, and collection of tasseled chaps, but all pupils will learn the basics of horse care, cleaning, and equipment. The mild-mannered canter of a retired juvenile competition horse permits fledgling steed steerers a large margin of error and level of comfort. Two instructors accompany small children to ensure each tyke's safety and feeling of security while instilling the important life lesson that all good things come in stereo. Leaving behind the small, covered beginner area, more advanced equestrians can gallivant around the spacious indoor arena atop a homebred stallion.