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.
Back in 1972, Pat Koelker and Nancy Wilds founded Aiken Center for the Arts in the hopes that it would become a haven for creatives of all stripes. Far exceeding their expectations, these days the center and studio offers a wide assortment of classes, a juried exhibition for artists of all ages, lectures, and even concerts. Kids' classes foster creativity in a variety of media, ranging from weeklong camps for children aged 4?13, to intensive study for high-school students, to six-week guitar classes for kids as young as 6. Meanwhile, adults can enroll in painting classes or drop in for a wine and canvas class, wherein they're challenged to not drink from the paint-water cup.
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.
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.
Havens Framemakers & Gallery traces its lineage back to 1968, when Robert Havens set up a shop full of handmade, custom-tailored frames. He passed the business to his daughter Betsy in 1985, and she, like a confused track-and-field competitor, handed the torch to current owner Jackie Vazquez. Jackie draws from the Havens family's tradition of expert craftsmanship and her own 20-year stint at the company to surround diplomas, artwork, and keepsakes with a selection of more than 5,000 mouldings collected from a range of vendors. Gilded and hand-carved pieces adorn the gallery’s seven walls, surrounding experienced designers who set to work enshrining 3-D objects in shadowboxes or protecting old photographs and celebrity potato-chip look-alikes within conservation frames.
Villa Brazil bedecks bodies of Northern climes with wearable wares of Brazilian origin. Browse handcrafted jewelry imported from Rio, or adorn style-craving shoulders with a wide array of handbags ($32.50 on average). Surf-seeking stylistas can slip into bikinis ($49 on average) of the Brazilian, American, and Martian variety, and flip-less feet can flop with more than 20 types of Brazilian Havaianas sandals ($16.50–24.50). Villa Brazil also stocks handmade scarves, soccer jerseys, and crafts.