The Upcountry History Museum – Furman University connects people, history, and culture.
Upcountry South Carolina is bordered on the north by North Carolina, including the Piedmont section of the Appalachian Mountain chain; on the west by Georgia, and it extends to the central plains of South Carolina. Its fifteen counties include: Oconee, Pickens, Greenville, Spartanburg, Cherokee, York, Anderson, Laurens, Union, Chester, Abbeville, McCormick, Greenwood, Edgefield and Newberry. The rich heritage and culture of the “Upcountry” identity distinguish the region from South Carolina’s “Low Country.” This distinction began when the region was an Indian frontier and continues today as this political and economic hub is now identified as the “Upstate.”
In 1983, the Greenville County Historic Preservation Commission formed a new section 501(c)(3) educational, not-for-profit corporation titled the Historic Greenville Foundation. Over the next decade the Foundation and its mission shifted from a focus on building preservation toward the goal of promoting greater public awareness of the history of Greenville and the Upcountry of South Carolina through educational programming.
By 1993, the Foundation began to formulate plans for its ultimate goal, the creation of a history museum in which the public would be provided with a comprehensive review of the region’s unique past. The Foundation’s Board reaffirmed its commitment to the goal of a museum facility in late 1995, and in July 1996, engaged the Foundation’s first full-time Executive Director. Over the next two years, the Foundation worked to develop a vision for the Upcountry History Museum.
In January of 1999, under the leadership of Alester G. Furman III, Chairman of the Foundation’s Advisory Board of Governors, property was secured at the corner of Buncombe and Atwood Streets in downtown Greenville for the construction of an educational facility.
The Museum structure was completed in 2002 and five years later, opened to the public. The Museum sits at Heritage Green in downtown Greenville and proudly promotes the rich history of the Upcountry’s 15 counties.
In 2012 Furman University and the Upcountry History Museum entered into a partnership that united the intellectual and cultural resources of both institutions to advance the Museum’s mission of promoting, presenting, and preserving the history of Upcountry South Carolina.
The University-Museum relationship offers a unique opportunity to meld historical scholarship, educational goals, and memorable experiences in ways that empower the public to understand the value of their own stories, consider the world from different perspectives, and hone their ability to think critically.
Today the Upcountry History Museum – Furman University remains committed to helping people make meaningful and personal connections to history.