Seven Upstate Museums That Kick Boring To The Curb
It’s true what they say, knowledge is power, and with the bevy of museums in the Upstate, you can make yourself more powerful than ever. Museums have (regrettably) picked up the stigma of being “boring,” but people who think that clearly haven’t visited an Upstate museum. Here are seven Upstate museums that kick boring to the curb.
Clemson University’s Bob Campbell Geology Museum
With an impressive collection of more than 10,000 specimens found locally and across the globe, the Bob Campbell Geology Museum will rock your world. Tucked away in a corner of the South Carolina Botanical Gardens, this museum offers a wealth of knowledge more in-depth than a high school science class. Locally found gems kickstart your treasure hunter spirit, and the cactus garden on the property feels as if you have been transported to a southwestern desert. One particularly illuminating exhibit features a dark room showcasing glowing phosphorescent and fluorescent rocks and minerals. For the kids, the museum offers a scavenger hunt that encourages a closer look at the collection’s most exciting and unique exhibits. The museum is completely free! For more information about Clemson University’s Bob Campbell Geology Museum click here.
The Greenville County Museum of Art
The Greenville County Museum of Art is more than just an expansive collection of thought-provoking art; it’s got soul. The museum specializes in American art, zeroing in on the South from colonial times up to the present. The museum’s galleries exhibit art from legendary artists Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, the latter of whom is a South Carolina native. The museum also boasts the largest public collection of watercolors by the iconic American artist Andrew Wyeth. The museum is perfect for reflecting on America’s great art. Just don’t be shocked if you stop by a craft store on the way home to get supplies for your masterpiece. For more information about the Greenville County Museum of Art click here.
The Museum and Historical Railroad Center in Greenwood
Those train tracks traversing the main streets of many upstate towns contain more history than they first appear. In fact, many upstate towns were founded by the railroad industry. The Museum and Historical Railroad Center in Greenwood celebrates this heritage with a fun and interactive set of exhibits. A life-size Upstate Main Street has been meticulously recreated inside the museum, so visitors can glimpse what life was like in a developing town in the 1900’s. Complete with a general store and dress-up closet, this exhibit is hands-on in a way far removed from the “look-but-don’t-touch” mentality of stuffier museums. Other exhibits of note are the six train cars that are in the process of being restored to their colorful glory. A trip in this time machine is free. For more information about The Museum and Historical Railroad Center click here.
The Union County Museum
Take a deep dive into history at the Union County Museum located in Union, South Carolina. The museum features a whole host of artifacts and memorabilia from the very early days of the Upstate. The museum houses many artifacts from the textile mill industry that shaped the Upstate. A museum with heart, the curator, Miss Ola Jean Kelly, puts her whole being into preserving the history of her city. A big draw to the Union County Museum is the extensive collection of genealogical resources housed in the museum’s library with people as far as Canada being able to trace their lineage to the Upstate. Whether wanting to learn more about the Upstate or trace your family roots, the Union County Museum is free to all. Find out more here.
The Upcountry History Museum
The Upcountry History Museum is the pinnacle of museums in the Upstate. From the first steps into the museum, you can tell a grand experience awaits. From the grand staircase that cascades into the museum’s center, to the farmer driving his pigs, history truly comes alive. Running a gamut, exhibits range history, nature, and everything in-between. The museum does an excellent job at instilling the diversity and scope of the Upstate region. The museum also encourages frequent return visits with a wide range of revolving exhibits highlighting various cultural figures and events of the region. The museum also features exhibits tailor-made for kids (Snoopy and Curious George have been known to make appearances.) To learn more about the museum including hours, click here.
Roper Mountain Science Center
While technically not a museum in a traditional sense, Roper Mountain Science Center is still full of opportunities to learn that are also fun. For those of you who remember Roper Mountain as the place you went to take Sex-Ed in Middle School, they have so much more. I recently had the opportunity to tour the facility, and I was amazed by how much there was to do. Apart from educating school groups about the power of science, Roper Mountain Science Center houses a planetarium that is begging to be experienced. Seeing our solar system on this gigantic screen is awe-inspiring, to say the least. On the second Saturday of each month, Roper Mountain opens its science center proper to the public. This is your chance to visit their living history farm and learn about what life was like in SC in the 1800’s. In the coming months keep your eyes peeled, and your ear to the ground at Roper Mountain Science Center. We don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just say this: dinosaurs. For more information on Roper Mountain Science center, check out their website here.
The Oconee Heritage Center
If you are looking for something slightly off the beaten path then head to the town of Walhalla where you’ll find the Oconee Heritage Center. Still in its infancy, the Oconee Heritage Center has made strides over just the past few months. Filled with artifacts and relics from the region. The museum is also filled with life-size dioramas to make you feel like you’re living the history. The Oconee Heritage Center is good for more than just learning about history. They also frequently hold fun and educational events. The staff that works at The Oconee Heritage Center is also extremely friendly, they will make you feel welcome from the moment you open the door. Click here for more information on the Oconee Heritage Center.