Upcoming Exhibits

War in the Persian Gulf: Operations Desert Shield & Desert Storm, 1990-1991

March 4, 2017 – June 25, 2017

War in the Persian Gulf: Operations Desert Shield & Desert Storm, 1990-1991, a special exhibition in partnership with the U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command, the National American History Museum, and private collectors. Opening March 4, 2017 at the Upcountry History Museum, the project commemorates the legacy and history of those who served during the Persian Gulf War through an exhibition, the expansion of the Museum’s oral history collection, and related public programming.

Featuring 45 original works from the U.S. Navy Art Collection, oral histories and related artifacts from the Smithsonian, the Upcountry History Museum, and private collectors the exhibition will trace the international conflict triggered by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990.

Known as the Gulf War and the Persian Gulf War, hostilities followed Iraq leader Saddam Hussein’s order to invade and occupy Kuwait with the objectives of acquiring Kuwait’s large oil reserves, canceling a large debt Iraq owed Kuwait, and expanding Iraq’s power in the region.

In response to the incursion, U.S. President George H. Bush ordered the organization of Operation Desert Shield on August 7, 1990, to protect Saudi Arabia from invasion. The order prepared American troops to become part of an international coalition in the war against Iraq through a dramatic increase in U.S. troops and resources in the Persian Gulf.

After Saddam Hussein refused to withdraw from Kuwait, Operation Desert Shield gave way to Operation Desert Storm on January 17, 1991. President Bush gave the order for U.S. troops to lead an international coalition in an air and ground attack on Hussein’s army.

Following the intense bombing of Baghdad, U.S. led coalition ground forces marched into Kuwait and across the Iraq border. After pushing Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait, Bush declared a ceasefire on February 28, 1991; and accepted the surrender of Iraqi generals on March 3.

The exhibition and its related public programming will provide a retrospective look at the two operations which responded to and ended the Persian Gulf War.


Eyewitness to the Mexican War: 1846-1848

Spring 2017 – March 11, 2018

The Upcountry History Museum- Furman University will commemorate the 170th Anniversary of the Mexican War (1846-1848) and South Carolina’s role in the War through a special exhibition, public programming, and curriculum-based lessons that coincide with the South Carolina Social Studies Academic Standards.

The 20-month project will focus on the first United States armed conflict chiefly fought on foreign soil and The Palmetto Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers who served with distinction under General Winfield Scott. The project has also been developed in response to Upstate educator requests for curriculum-based offerings associated with the study of “manifest destiny.”

The Mexican War pitted a politically divided and militarily unprepared Mexico against the expansionist-minded administration of U.S. President James K. Polk, who believed the United States had a “manifest destiny” to spread across the continent to the Pacific Ocean.

In December 1846, after President Polk’s administration called for volunteers, South Carolina’s Palmetto Regiment was organized, providing ten companies of men from both the professional U.S. army, as well as volunteers. The Regiment received training at the South Carolina Military Academy (now The Citadel), was deployed to Texas and then proceeded south to fight the Mexican Army. The regiment served valiantly in all major battles of the War and The Palmetto Regiment’s flag, introduced at The Citadel, was the first U.S. flag to fly over Mexico City on September 13, 1847.

Featuring original works from the U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command, archival materials, and first- hand accounts, the project will trace the war’s beginnings, its battles, and its conclusion with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848.

The Treaty established the Rio Grande as the U.S. – Mexican border. Under the treaty, Mexico also recognized the U.S. annexation of Texas, and agreed to sell present-day California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. Over 500,000 square miles, or one-third of Mexico’s territory, became part of the United States as a result of the Mexican War.

Many of the surviving Palmetto Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers returned home and went on to serve less than thirteen years later in the War Between the States.