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.
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; not including blockbuster exhibits.
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.
Built in 1772, the Laurence Corley Log House is Lexington's oldest documented abode. It's a logical starting point for visits to Lexington County Museum, a seven-acre village of 36 historic structures that recreate Lexington life from 1770 until the Civil War.
Those buildings include the original Lexington County post office and the Hazelius House, where Charlie D. Tillman composed "Give Me That Old Time Religion." The first Lexington County building included on the National Register of Historic Places, the John Fox House is even outfitted with furnishings the family would have used, such as a pine lazy susan and a mahogany Xbox. Other structures likewise stock authentic 19th century artifacts, such as textiles, pottery, and weapons.
While the exhibited buildings grant a visual glimpse into the past, 13 hands-on activities immerse kids in authentic 19th century experiences. Youngsters can weave on individual lap looms inside the loom house, play with replica toys from the 1800s, or churn butter in the Fox house yard. In the one-room schoolhouse, schoolmasters in period dress teach full lessons to children who must jot down notes with quill pens.
Celebrating its 25th year, the Sumter County Museum immerses visitors of all ages in everyday life from decades past with extensive historical collections and hands-on exhibits. In the handsome Edwardian Williams-Brice house, guests examine artifacts, artwork, and personal effects of Sumter County residents from the early 20th century, while a Carolina Backcountry homestead gives kids and adults alike a taste of life in the early 1800s with a log cabin, blacksmith's shop, and settler's house.
Size: Museum grounds include a two-story Edwardian mansion full of Sumter county archives and fine art exhibits, a surrounding of elegant Southern gardens, and a recreated early 19th-century frontier settlement
Eye Catcher: A living-history exhibit of a Carolina Backcountry homestead sends visitors back to 1812 with a rustic log cabin, blacksmith's shop, smokehouse, barn, settler's house, and steam-powered video game console
Permanent Mainstay: Built in 1916, the stately Edwardian Williams-Brice House hosts an extensive textile collection, fine arts, and artifacts from 20th century American-military history
Hidden Gem: The museum's extensive archives hold treasures for armchair historians, genealogists, and professional scholars alike, with more than 30,000 photos, personal letters, business records, and maps that date back well into the 19th century
Don't Miss: The Martha Brice Gardens delight visitors with a labyrinth of dogwoods, azaleas, fish ponds, and century-old pecan trees in a design laid out by celebrated landscape artist Robert Marvin.
Culture & Heritage Museums safeguard the Carolina Piedmont's historical treasures and educate residents and visitors about the region's unique past. Instituted in the 1950's, York County's group of affiliated museums and attractions forms a multi-campus network encompassing a wealth of educational opportunities across various disciplines.
Each year, museumgoers view antique documents and photographs at the Historical Center located inside the McCelvey Center. They can get to know more than 1,500 natural specimens at the hands-on Naturalist Center inside the Museum of York County, and march through Historic Brattonsville's 775-acre Revolutionary War site. Locals can volunteer at the museums in fascinating roles, such as specimen preparers, who beautify avian exhibits by helping with taxidermy and surgical beak-lifts.
The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History is a House-Museum, and is alive with activities that represent what Lucy Craft Laney lived and worked for in the Augusta area. In addition to exhibitions and lectures, the museum provides arts, history, preservation programs and storytelling activities.