Changing Exhibits

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Once Upon a Time: Exploring the World of Fairy Tales

June 2 – September 9, 2018

Long before books were made, people told stories. They told them to one another and to the children as they sat before the fire. Many of these stories were about interesting people, but most of them were about the ways of fairies and giants.

Children and adults will step inside beloved stories from around the world when the Upcountry History Museum presents Once Upon A Time…Exploring the World of Fairy Tales.

The bilingual exhibition (English and Spanish) is a unique and educational experience that emphasizes the importance of reading and the significance of fairy tales throughout history. From an African jungle to a giant’s castle, visitors explore larger-than-life pages of seven of the world’s most famous fairy tales: Anansi and the Talking Melon (Ghana), Beauty and the Beast (France), Jack and the Beanstalk (England), Cinderella (France, China), Thumbelina(Denmark), The Elves and the Shoemaker (Germany), and Lon Po Po (aka: Little Red Riding Hood, China).

Entering the exhibit via a magical portal, visitors will be surrounded by an enchanting storybook kingdom. Each tale is brought to life through its own large-scale environment, interactive components, and costumes.

Immersed in literature and story-telling, guests are encouraged to discover the meaning and history of tales they’ve known all their lives, as well as ones that may be new to them. Whether they crawl through the mole’s 8-foot tunnel like Thumbelina, ride in the pumpkin coach like Cinderella, or climb a magical beanstalk like Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, children will discover the underlying meaning of each story and experience the story’s plot in the shoes of their favorite characters.

The project’s primary goals are: to awaken the power of imagination and creative thinking in children, to satisfy the play-spirit of childhood, to encourage reading aloud to children, to encourage a love of reading in children, to impart historical information, to encourage multi-generation storytelling, and to explore cultural diversity.

With seven storybook settings designed for children ages 3-10 years old and their caregivers, Once Upon A Time will take traditional story time to a new interactive level. The result is a three-dimensional, 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 partners: The Magic House and Institute of Museum and Library Services

Picturing Nam: U.S. Military Photography of the Vietnam War

June 16 – October 21, 2018

Photographs are a powerful part of our collective memory of the Vietnam War. Many of the iconic photographs were taken by photojournalists working for newspapers, magazines, or wire services. But there were also military photographers in Vietnam serving in our armed forces. They took thousands of photographs that covered every aspect of the conflict –photographs that are now a part of our National Archives.

Military photographers were sent everywhere: the jungles and swamps, forward bases, hospital ships, rivers, and air bases. Unsanitized and uncensored, these indelible images give an intimate view of the war and those who fought it.

The exhibition, divided into three themes, includes over 40 photographs, murals, and first-hand accounts from the men and women who documented American Armed Forces activities in Vietnam.

One Exhibit – Three Photographic Themes:

  • Landscapes – Most Americans knew almost nothing about Vietnam before the war. Many soldiers, sailors, and airmen seeing Vietnam’s dense jungles, rugged mountains, murky swamps,
    endless rice paddies, and brown rivers for the first time must have felt very far from home.
  • Objects – Wars are often summed up and remembered through artifacts. The Vietnam War created its own set of memorable objects, many of which appear in military photographs,
    including helicopters, M-16 rifles, graffiti-covered helmets, Phantom jets, peace symbol necklaces, and body bags.
  • Faces – War puts individuals into extraordinary and dangerous situations. Such circumstances fostered determination, anxiety, exhaustion, boredom, compassion,
    exaltation, and dread—-feelings that are seen in the faces of those who were there.

More than 50 years after the United States committed combat troops to the war in Vietnam, and more than 40 years since the war ended, the complexity of the conflict is still being unraveled. This groundbreaking exhibit uses original National Archives documents and photographs to provide a framework for understanding the decisions that led to the war, the events and consequences of the war, and its legacy.

Sponsored by: 3M, Lockheed Martin, WSPA Channel 7, Lima Once Capital

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:

SC Humanities logoBon Logo


See an article about the exhibit here!

Upcoming Exhibits

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.

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-eccentric 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.

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.