Changing Exhibits

Open Now

Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice

September 22, 2018 – January 27, 2019

Dinosaurs will roar into the Upstate South Carolina, when the Upcountry History Museum presents Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice. Crossing the threshold of this interactive exhibition means traveling back in time to explore the Age of the Dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice is the first child-centered exhibit in the country dedicated to expanding the understanding of dinosaurs and their habitats. Designed for young explorers, ages 3-10, the bilingual (Spanish and English) exhibit features three distinct sections that build on a child’s innate curiosity about dinosaurs: Land of Fire (a warm dinosaur habitat), Land of Ice (a cold dinosaur habitat), and a Field Research Station (complete with a Big Dig experience).

The steamy Land of Fire, present day Montana, introduces visitors to the Triceratops, T-Rex and the dinosaurs who called this environment home. Children can circle the land in insect costumes, buzz through a volcano with oozing lava, work through a swampy bog and identify an ecosystem of animals and plants.

No coats are needed for a trip across the Land of Ice where visitors meet the dinosaurs who made their homes in the cold climate of Alaska. Activities include: climbing rocky steps, breezing down an icy slide, and hopping across stepping stones in an icy river.

In the hands-on Field Research Station children and their caregivers don goggles and research vests, as they uncover dinosaur bones in a dig station and examine fossils to identify dinosaurs.

The exhibit builds on the popular fascination with dinosaurs and includes science, history, and literacy based activities to challenge all ages. Sculpted, touchable dinosaurs, featuring the most recent scientific findings about dinosaur colors, textures and structural form create opportunities for young explorers to investigate clues that the dinosaurs left behind.

Sponsored by: GE, BMW Group Plant Spartanburg, WSPA News Channel 7, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Harper Corporation General Contractors, and the Greater Greenville Association of Realtors.

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!

November 3, 2018 – February 10, 2019

The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without The Peanuts gang. And for millions of people around the world, it really isn’t Christmas until they have watched A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Celebrating the holidays in true Peanuts-style, the Upcountry History Museum will host the latest traveling exhibition from the Charles M. Schulz Museum, titled Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! The Peanuts-centric exhibit invites visitors to enter the world of Charlie Brown, as they explore the making of the 1965 holiday classic and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

Peanuts had become a phenomenon worldwide by the mid-1960s, and the Christmas special was commissioned and sponsored by The Coca Cola Company. It was written over a period of several weeks, and animated on a shoestring budget in only six months. In casting the characters, the producers went an unconventional route, hiring child actors. The program’s soundtrack was similarly unorthodox; featuring a jazz score by pianist Vince Guaraldi. Its absence of a laugh track (a staple in US television animation in the 1960s), in addition to its tone, pacing, music, and animation led both the producers and network to wrongly predict the project would be a disaster preceding its broadcast.

Contrary to that apprehension, A Charlie Brown Christmas received high ratings and acclaim from critics, winning both an Emmy and a Peabody Award. It became an annual broadcast in the United States, and has been aired annually during the Christmas season since it premiere. Its success paved the way for a series of Peanuts television specials and
films —and the rest is history!

The Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! exhibition celebrates the holiday season while offering visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this holiday classic. Artwork, objects, and a video featuring Charles M. Schulz, producer Lee Mendelson, and animator/director Bill Melendez that details the sometimes magical and often madcap making of A Charlie Brown Christmas will be displayed within an immersive Peanuts-themed environment.

Exhibit Partner: Charles M. Schulz Museum

Sponsored by: Piedmont Natural Gas, QBS – Quality Business Solutions, and WSPA News Channel 7

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 2, 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

The Original Mad Man: Illustrations by Mac Conner

February 9, 2019 – May 12, 2019

Between 1940 and 1960, before advancements in print technology and the proliferation of photography, ad companies relied on illustrators, Ad Men, to give their brands a visual identity. Advertisements in popular magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Women’s Day and McCall’s established a shorthand for aspirational, middle-class American living: fedoras, cigarette holders, swooning large-eyed women and men in sharply tailored leisurewear.

The Original Mad Man: Illustrations by Mac Conner, a special exhibit organized by the Museum of the
City of New York, features the work of McCauley (Mac) Conner, one of the leading “Ad Men” of the 1950s and 60s. During this time, Conner’s captivating advertising and editorial illustrations graced the pages of major magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal, Woman’s Day, and The Saturday Evening Post, helping shape the popular image of postwar America.

The exhibit explores the enduring influence of commercial artists on 1960s fashion, film, music, literature, social norms and art; as well as one man’s prolific career in New York City, the world’s media capital and the country’s publishing center, in the pivotal years after World War II.

Over 70 original hand-painted illustrations, pastel sketches and ephemera from Conner’s private collection highlight his illustration process. Correspondence with editors and art directors provide visitors with a glimpse inside the dynamic world of publishing at a time when the advertising industry was at its height and almost entirely on New York’s Madison Avenue. Conner and his “Mad Men” (Madison Avenue) contemporaries perfected the art of the sale and transformed American culture.

With dramatic perspective, bold color blocks, and eye-catching patterns, Conner’s illustrations exude an impeccable sense of style and capture ideals of female beauty, conduct, and romance, that Betty Friedan later famously – and critically– labeled “The Feminine Mystique.” The themes presented in his work mirror the perspectives of the publications of the day and of their readership, with an emphasis on glamour, family values, and youth. The sophisticated, beautiful women in the illustrations are often depicted as the principal players, with men taking supporting roles.

Anxieties about postwar culture are also found in the work, reflecting the national scare over the “juvenile delinquent problem,” and the Cold War-era fascination with noir topics such as crime, intrigue, and mystery – subjects that Conner interpreted with dramatic compositions reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock thrillers.

Exhibit Partner: The Museum of the City of New York

Sponsored by: WSPA News Channel 7

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 SummitWSPA 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.