Current Exhibits

Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites

June 4, 2016 – September 11, 2016


The Tale of Peter Rabbit 1902 PR8 7.6.8

The Tale of Peter Rabbit, 1902

Step into the pages of seven beloved children’s books and enter a world of early literacy adventures with Storyland: A Trip through Childhood Favorites.

Storyland and its related programming build on the Museum’s philosophy that “stories are everywhere” and that literacy is a critical component to learning about history. The bi-lingual traveling exhibition (English and Spanish) immerses children and adults in favorite picture books, from the gardens of The Tale of Peter Rabbit to the super-sized world of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and the urban snowscape of The Snowy Day to the tropical island of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

Storyland is designed for children from birth through eight years old and adults. The featured books are transformed into three-dimensional play and learning environments that highlight the six pre-reading skills defined by the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children.
hp-008_1zIn this highly immersive project, families discover the joy and power of reading. Activities include matching, rhyming, poetry and storytelling. Together they set the foundation for encouraging children to love books, learn words, tell stories, and hear sounds. The result is a lively exploration that combines the power of language, the pleasure of play, and the support needed for school readiness.

The seven picture books featured are: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numero, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, Where’s Spot by Eric Hill, Tuesday by David Wiesner, and Abuela by Arthur Dorros.

Sponsored by: Greenville Health System

Strom Thurmond & the 1948 Presidential Election

May 14, 2016 – August 16, 2016


On November 3, 1948, the morning after the 1948 presidential election, the Chicago Daily Tribune‘s headline read, “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” That’s what the Republicans, the polls, the newspapers, the political writers, and even many Democrats had expected.

The Democratic Party had been split into thirds, making it appear impossible for President Harry S. Truman to win. Former Vice President to Franklin Roosevelt, Henry Wallace, had joined the Progressive Party, courting votes of far-left leaning voters. The newly formed States’ Rights Democrats, held their own convention in Birmingham, Alabama, selecting one of the most influential people in 20th century American politics, South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, as their candidate. Meanwhile, the Republicans had full faith that popular New York governor, Thomas Dewey, would easily take the White House.

Against the odds, the polls and the headlines, Americans awoke on Wednesday, November 3 to discover Harry S. Truman was President, winning 57% of the Electoral College.

The Election of 1948 is more than just an underdog story. Thurmond’s candidacy highlighted the fracturing within the once Solid South and the gradual party realignment that would conclude in 1964, when Thurmond joined the Republican Party. But most importantly, it was his coming out party. Following Thurmond’s Senate write-in victory in 1954, he would remain there until 2003, casting over 16,000 votes. When he retired, at 100, his last words were “that’s all.”

In this Presidential Election year, look back at one of the most dramatic moments and biggest upsets in American History. The Upcountry History Museum-Furman University is proud to present this important part of South Carolina’s, and the United States’, history.

Exhibit Partners: Clemson University’s Special Collections, the Harry S. Truman Library, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery, and the National American History Museum.

Sponsored by: American Services, Erwin-Penland, Nelson-Mullins, Blue Cross Blue Shield of the Carolinas, and WSPA.


Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster, 1844-2012


unidentified artist, Republican Party candidates Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon, 1952; offset lithography, 11 x 13 inches; Courtesy of Hal Wert.

May 14, 2016 – August 16, 2016

On November 8, 2016, Americans will elect the 45th President of the United States.

Commemorating this time honored tradition, in a Presidential election year, the Upcountry History Museum – Furman University presents Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster, 1844-2012, a traveling exhibition from the Mid America Arts Alliance.

Departing from the monarchical tradition of Britain, the founding fathers of the United States created a system in which the American people had the power and responsibility to select their leader. Under this new order, George Washington, the first U.S. president, was elected in 1789. At the time, only white men who owned property could vote, but the 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments to the Constitution have since expanded the right of suffrage to all citizens over 18.

Taking place every four years, presidential campaigns and elections have evolved into a series of fiercely fought and sometimes controversial contests. The stories behind each election – some ending in landslide victories, others decided by the narrowest of margins – provide a road map to the events of U.S. history.

The short-lived hardworking political poster tells the story of American politics through the years and how a dignified portrait, a catchy slogan, bold graphics, and the selling of the American dream are part of the campaign process. The exhibition traces the political campaign posters humble beginnings in the 1840s, to its modern day message, tested tag lines and trendsetting designs. Exploring a variety of styles, design trends, and printing technology the exhibit encourages visitors to contemplate past political contests and look more closely at the 2016 Presidential race to the White House.

Sign of the Times was curated by Hal Wert, Ph.D., collector and professor of history at Kansas City Art Institute, and organized by Exhibits USA/Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Sponsored by: American Services, Erwin-Penland, Nelson-Mullins, Blue Cross Blue Shield of the Carolinas, and WSPA.

The Ripple Effect: How Saving a River Revitalized a Community

February 14 – August 2016

Markley Manufacturing on the banks of the Reedy River in downtown Greenville

The Ripple Effect: How Saving a River Revitalized a Community tells the story of the Reedy River and Lake Conestee, Greenville’s own environmental crisis and the community’s response to it. Decades of industrial waste polluted the Reedy’s water and created hazardous conditions in Lake Conestee. Through the diligence of local citizens and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Reedy was cleaned up, Lake Conestee transformed from a chemical wasteland to a nature preserve, and Falls Park created to become the pride and icon of Greenville.

This project is funded in part by The Humanities Council (SC), a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.