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Changing Exhibits

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Jerry Pinkney: Imaginings

February 23, 2019 – May 26, 2019

The Upcountry History Museum will explore writer illustrator Jerry Pinkney’s connection with literature and his creation of the images that bring life to a story when it hosts the Jerry Pinkney: Imaginings exhibition.

Organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum the exhibition and a companion interactive exhibit designed for children, will explore the artist’s engagement with literature, his legacy of creating powerful images, the joy of reading and the power of sharing stories.

Across his 55-year journey as an illustrator, Pinkney has cast a warm, curious eye on our world to create images that reflect his passion for life, family, community, and a deep engagement with history and the African American experience. His illustrations have appeared in more than 100 books and received numerous honors including five Caldecott awards, and most recently the 2016 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award and 2016 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Imaginings features over 100 watercolors and sketches, as well as interviews, objects and memorabilia that reflect the artist’s love of literature and his process of creating meaningful visual solutions that expand and enliven a narrative.

The exhibit’s immersive portion invites visitors to enter a world of literacy adventures as they step into the pages of Jerry Pinkney’s books. Interactive experiences and themed reading environments take visitors on a journey through the world of classic and contemporary literature including The Jungle Book, Gulliver’s Travels, Puss in Boots, The Little Match Girl, John Henry, The Ugly Duckling and many more.

Designed for children ages 2 to 10 and their caregivers, the three-dimensional play and learning environments provide, children with hands-on literacy based experiences and adults with tools for cultivating literacy through everyday activities.

The result is a fully developed world that resonates with young visitors, while still appealing to the grown-ups in their lives who are just as fond of the beloved stories that were a major part of their own childhood.

Exhibit Partner: The Norman Rockwell Museum

Sponsored by: Duke Energy, Clemson University, Clemson’s Men of Color National Summit, Greenville Technical CollegeWSPA News Channel 7, Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union, and Becky and Bobby Hartness


Back Where I Come From: The Upcountry’s Piedmont Blues

Back Where I Come From, the Upcountry History Museum – Furman University’s newest upcoming, semi-permanent exhibition will take visitors on an enlightening experience through the roots and evolution of the Upcountry South Carolina’s blues history.

Through an in-house exhibition, diverse programming, and musical performances, the project will explore the history of the Upcountry’s Piedmont Blues, including its origins, its unique style, and the musicians who created a musical legacy.

The project will include archival materials, oral histories, and historic film footage that embody the unique style, sound, stories, and emotions associated with the Upcountry’s blues. Together, these engaging experiences will preserve and disseminate the legacy of the Piedmont Blues while introducing diverse audiences to this enriching genre.

Piedmont Blues, also known as East Coast Blues, resulted from a unique guitar finger-picking method. Compared to the Delta Blues, which is purely rooted in African culture, the Piedmont Blues in the Carolinas and Georgia has more diverse elements. This characteristic was a result of white gospel, ragtime, country, and pop music influences that allowed Piedmont Blues artists to display greater instrumental range compared to their Delta counterparts.

The Upcountry South Carolina served as a hub for Piedmont Blues pioneers. Back Where I Come From will spotlight these early blues vanguards including: Josh White, the Reverend Gary Davis, Pinkney “Pink” Anderson, Arthur “Peg Leg Sam” Jackson, “Blind Willie” Walker and Charles Henry “Baby” Tate, who created a musical movement, inspired future musicians, influenced rock ‘n’ roll, and called the Upcountry South Carolina home.

Sponsored by:

See an article about the exhibit here!


Answering the Call: From Recruit to the Front Lines of WWI

August 25, 2018 – June 23, 2019

World War I. The Great War. The “war to end all wars.”

It was a war that began on July 28, 1914, and saw major nations of the world mobilize armies into expected alliances. It was also a war that three years later on April 6, 1917, brought the United States into its first major international conflict since its own battle for independence.

Despite being woefully unprepared for war – possessing a standing national army of less than 200,000 soldiers, a lack of equipment, munitions and training facilities, no process for supplying and transporting an army, and garnering more support for neutrality as opposed to entering a conflict not of its own making and on foreign soil – the U.S. rallied with extraordinary speed to overcome these initial hurdles as it found itself now drawn into battle.

As the first members of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) arrived in Europe in June 1917, the impact of their presence was both immediate and steadying. The Doughboys proved up to the challenges presented by this new industrialized war, persevering in unimaginable conditions, forging through horrors of trench warfare, and solidifying a greater understanding of America’s role in the world, as well as the sacrifices required for democracy and peace.

Answering the Call…From Recruit to the Front Lines of WWI a special exhibition at the Upcountry History Museum presents an overview of the influence “the Great War” had on the course of history, as well as some of the notable advancements made to the modern world as a result.

Focusing on the experience from a recruit’s perspective, this artifact-rich exhibit will draw visitors into the everyday life of the American Doughboy, including what he wore, what he ate, the equipment he carried, and the thoughts he shared with those on the home front. Drawn from local collectors and the Museum’s permanent collection, the exhibit will feature original posters used to rally the public; postcards and photos from local troops stationed at Greenville’s Camp Sevier and Spartanburg’s Camp Wadsworth; arms, field equipment, and personal essentials carried by individual soldiers as they embarked on their journey “over there.”

In addition, Answering the Call seeks to raise awareness of the roles and contributions of women and African Americans during the call to serve, as well as the significance their participation meant to transformative social change in areas of women’s rights, race relations and the economy as the modern era began.


Upcoming Exhibits

Thomas & Friends™: Explore the Rails!

May 25, 2019 – September 8, 2019

What began in a young boy’s imagination in 1911, evolved into a bedtime story, a long running book series, one of the most successful children’s television programs of all time, and an international traveling exhibition. Today Thomas & Friends reaches 110 million households across the United States and an even larger audience through internet streaming, DVDs, and toys.

Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails, an interactive, bi-lingual (English and Spanish) exhibition featuring the favorite engines, characters, and destinations of this beloved children’s classic, will delight Upstate fans when it makes a stop at the Upcountry History Museum, May 25 – September 8, 2019.

Designed by HIT Entertainment, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. Fisher Price, the 1500 square foot immersive exhibit combines hands-on learning with important concepts in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM), with an emphasis on developing 21st century skills. These ideas are woven and layered throughout the exhibit, creating an experience that speaks to a diversity of interests, age groups and learning styles.

Visitors will find themselves on the Island of Sodor surrounded by iconic locations, including Knapford Station and the Sodor Steamworks. Large interactive models of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends, combined with STEAM challenges, remind children ages 2 through 7 and their caregivers, how “really useful” we all are.

With the series’ major characters being modes of transportation, the world of Thomas is a launch pad for STEAM exploration. STEAM-based learning is visible as children identify problems, ask questions, seek answers, and explore tools and materials. Selling tickets and fixing the train schedule, building train routes, fixing Percy’s wobbly wheels and loading him encourage children to think about the technology and creativity behind steam engines.

The exhibit’s combination of STEAM-based learning and timeless lessons – bolstered by the series’ enduring popularity and multi-generation appeal –support adult/child engagement and a child’s growth in 21st century skills laying a foundation for success in school, work and life.

Locally Sponsored by: Prisma Health, WSPA News Channel 7, Spinx, Quality Business Solutions, C&S Family of Companies, Publix Charities, and the Greater Greenville Association of Realtors


Down the Rabbit Hole: Imagining Alice’s Wonderland

June 15, 2019 – October 20, 2019

The Upcountry History Museum in partnership with Walt Disney Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Walt Disney Family Museum, Charles M. Schulz Museum, Daura Gallery at Lynchburg College, and renowned artist Charles Santore, will invite visitors to fall down the rabbit hole to discover an immersive enchanted world that draws together a remarkable collection of original Alice In Wonderland materials.

Inspired by real events and a real child, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was dreamt up on a summer’s day in 1862, by Charles Ludwidge Dodgson, who later assumed the pen name Lewis Carroll. It is said that Carroll’s Alice books were the origin of all later children’s literature. In Alice, for the first time, readers found a realistic child taking part in a story whose intention was entirely fun. Both children and adults loved them at once, and 157 years’ later have never stopped doing so. It was not only Lewis Carroll’s words that captured readers’ imaginations; John Tenniel’s illustrations brought the story to life and remain in our collective consciousness to this day. Tenniel’s artwork provided the original image of Alice along with the amazing characters that she met in Wonderland.

Down the Rabbit Hole: Imagining Alice’s Wonderland, a 1,200 square foot exhibition, organized by the Upcountry History Museum, will explore the kaleidoscope of artistic re-imaginings of Alice from the 1860s to the present. Original Alice paintings, drawings, illustrations, set designs, puppets, film costumes and props will reflect diverse artistic interpretations. From Tenniel’s original Victorian illustrations to costumes, props and sets from Walt Disney Pictures Academy Award winning live action film Alice in Wonderland, the exhibition will examine multiple perspectives of one of literature’s greatest paradoxes that continues to inspire imagination, creativity, and discussion. Rich with visual interpretation, the exhibit will take visitors on Alice’s journey through the cultural, technological and societal shifts that have compelled artists, filmmakers and fans to return to the Alice tales again and again.

Sponsored by: WSPA News Channel 7


Call of Loan or Donation of Objects

Do you have a treasure in your attic? The Upcountry History Museum – Furman University is actively collecting artifacts related to the history of the Upcountry and upcoming special exhibitions. Please contact the Upcountry History Museum – Furman University regarding the possible loan or donation of objects and memorabilia via email at info@upcountryhistory.org.