By Robin Gibson
Charleston’s rich history, culture and charm come alive in the summer, as Charleston’s historic museums, landmarks and organizations that make up the Charleston Heritage Federation (CHF) announce an abundance of exciting new events. From never-before-seen exhibits at the The Charleston Museum and Gibbes Museum of Art, to archeology demonstrations at Drayton Hall, to an unforgettable Fourth of July celebration at Middleton Place, Charleston locals and visitors of all ages will have endless opportunities for educational exploration and fun this summer. Guests can gain access to all nine CHF properties for one low cost with the Charleston Heritage Federation Passport, available for purchase online or at the Charleston Visitor Center, North Charleston Visitor Center and Mt. Pleasant Visitor Center.
Please see below for a list of the upcoming CHF events taking place in the Holy City this summer:
The Charleston Museum’s New “War on Fashion” Exhibition
Now through December 1
Fashion has always changed dramatically following worldwide periods of warfare. This new exhibition at The Charleston Museum is an in-depth examination of both how and why fashion changed after the Age of Revolution, World War I and World War II. Included with admission to The Charleston Museum.
Archaeology Thursdays at Drayton Hall
June 13, July 11, August 8 and September 12, 10am-2pm
Drayton Hall will host its Archaeology Thursdays the second Thursday of every month in Hill Hall. Drayton Hall is an active archeological site with excavations dating back 40 years. Guests will be able to view the objects and hear the stories associated with the archeological process. Included with admission to Drayton Hall or membership.
Hanging Planter Macrame Workshop with Marie Frier at The Charleston Museum
June 15, 10am-12pm
Guests are invited to say farewell to The Charleston Museum’s Lobby exhibit, Preserving Nature’s Beauty: The Art of Herbaria, with this special workshop with Marie Frier. Attendees will learn the fundamentals of macramé knots and construct their own planters, just in time for summer. They will also have the chance to explore the Museum’s exhibit and learn more about the art of herbaria before picking out the perfect plant for their new planter with Plant Babe- a specialty plant shop in downtown Charleston. Registration required. $35 for Charleston Museum members and $50 for non-members.
Family Tours at the Aiken-Rhett House and Nathaniel Russell House Museums
June 18-August 8, Tuesdays and Thursdays only
Families are invited to the Nathaniel Russell House on Tuesdays and the Aiken-Rhett House on Thursdays for special family-focused tours and activities. Docent-led family tours start on the half-hour between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and will be followed by time for play with historic games and toys. For more information, visit historiccharleston.org/museums. $12/adults, $5/children 6-16 and free for children under six.
June 20, 6:30-8:00pm
Guests are invited to join South Carolina ETV (SCETV) at the Middleton Place Pavilion for a FREE screening of their new Carolina Stories special - “Beyond Barbadoes: The Carolina Connection.” The documentary explores the diverse links between the colonization of South Carolina and the West Indies islands and looks at the impact of Barbados’ rich history, culture, language and way of life in South Carolina. The screening of this one-hour special will be followed by an opportunity to meet the film’s producers and historians. Light refreshments will be provided. Learn more about it here.
Gibbes Museum of Art: Luminous Landscapes- The Golden Age of British Watercolors
June 21-October 6
Drawn from the collection of British watercolors bequeathed to the Gibbes Museum of Art by John Wigger in 2004, this exhibition showcases a selection of works on paper created during the “Golden Age of Watercolor” in the 18th and 19th centuries in England. These romantic landscapes emphasize brilliant colors, loose brushstrokes and attention to light and atmospheric effects. Many of the artists featured in Luminous Landscapes such as John Varley (British, 1778–1842), Paul Sandby (British, 1725–1809) and David Cox Sr. (British, 1783–1859), were instrumental in elevating the status of watercolor painting over the century as it was brought to its full maturity in England. Their work heavily influenced that of burgeoning Lowcountry artists, Thomas Coram and Charles Fraser, who were among America’s first landscape painters. For more information, visit gibbesmuseum.org. Included with admission to the Gibbes Museum of Art.
June 26, 10:00-11:30am
Guests can celebrate Arthur Middleton’s 277th birthday and welcome our country’s newest Americans as they take the oath of citizenship at the home of an ardent patriot and Founding Father of our nation who signed the Declaration of Independence. The event is FREE. Visit the website for more information.
Independence Day Celebration at Middleton Place
July 4, 10am-4pm
Families can spend their Fourth of July at the home of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Readings of the Declaration and interactive demonstrations will take place throughout the day, including meeting a Revolutionary soldier, colonial drafts, games and a hands-on military drill. Want more information? Visit the event online. Included with admission to Middleton Place and free for Foundation members.
Drayton Hall Gallery Talks
July 5, 12, 19 & 26; August 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30: 12:30-1pm
Every Friday in July and August, Drayton Hall’s curators take guests beyond the exhibits into a variety of topics associated with their historical research. For more information, visit draytonhall.org. Included with admission to Drayton Hall or membership.
Hot in the City: Drinks for a Cause at Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co.
July 11, 5-8pm
Presented by Drayton Hall’s Palladian Society, guests come to this “Fun Fundraiser” to drink, connect and socialize to preserve one of Charleston’s most iconic historic structures. RSVP here.
Children can engage in South Carolina history while learning about one of America’s Founding Families and activities of a working Lowcountry rice plantation. Fun and education programming will inspire students ages eight and older with an interest in history, social studies, science and art. Registration and program information coming soon.
Fashion Illustration Watercolor Workshop with Daniel Velasco at The Charleston Museum
July 20, 10am-2pm
Inspired by The Charleston Museum’s new exhibit, War on Fashion, guests can join fashion illustrator, artist and designer Daniel Velasco to view the exhibit before diving into exploring watercolors. Daniel will introduce participants to a variety of techniques including layering, dry and wet brush techniques, rendering fabrics and creating gowns and suits. Born in Venezuela, Velasco earned his Master of Fine Arts in Illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and went on to work with a number of Hollywood stylists and designers. All materials for the workshop will be provided and registration is required. $50 for Charleston Museum members and $65 for non-members.
Hot Nights in the Holy City at Middleton Place Restaurant
August 25, 6-9pm
To commemorate the end of summer, Middleton Place Restaurant will present a menu of sustainably caught seafood dishes paired with heat quenching local brews in the Pavilion courtyard.
About Charleston Heritage Federation
Charleston Heritage Federation is the united voice of numerous historic landmarks, museums, plantations and houses in the Charleston area. A mission-driven organization focused on educating, preserving and telling the authentic story through experiences, Charleston Heritage Federation prides itself on capturing the essence of the city's rich history while fostering a deeper understanding of the Lowcountry. Members of Charleston Heritage Federation include Avery Research Center for African American History & Culture, Charleston Library Society, The Charleston Museum, Drayton Hall, Gibbes Museum of Art, Historic Charleston Foundation, Middleton Place, Preservation Society of Charleston and South Carolina Historical Society. For more information, visit explorecharlestonculture.com.