Friday, September 23, 2011

Visit to the Upcountry History Museum, Greenville, SC

On Wednesday while at Paris Mountain State Park, I drove over to Greenville’s Upcountry History Museum. It was a trip well worth taking. Well, not much of a trip, really, since the Museum’s right in downtown Greenville, on Buncombe Street, less than six miles from my Paris Mountain State Park campsite.

Click on that view of the main hall above to get a preliminary idea of the Museum’s themes, and how skillfully they’ve been presented here.

I was attracted to this museum initially by its focus on South Carolina’s Upcountry region. Since beginning to study South Carolina’s history, I’ve found considerably less information about this important region than about the Lowcountry. I wasn’t disappointed.

This is quite a small museum. But I hope the photos on this page, and the short videos below, demonstrate that the curators have made excellent use of their limited space and resources. 

This doesn’t just happen! It’s hard to pack this much information into a small exhibit space without having it appear cluttered or over-loaded. These folks somehow have managed to avoid that.

In my experience, many, if not most, museums can be classified either as entertainment facilities or as educational institutions. The former are more showy; more dramatic, and require only an hour or two to cover. Think of the ubiquitous Ripley's Believe it or Not type museums. Educational museums, on the other hand, tend to be less generally appealing, but offer visitors so much information they require repeated visits and full attention to exhaust them. If then! Yes, yes. A gross generalization …. But one that seems to hold water!

Somehow, this Upcountry History Museum manages to combine the advantages of an entertainment facility and an educational institution. That is, the Museum can be visited for only an hour or two, even with short-attention-span children, and everyone will leave content. Lots of “neat stuff” to see. On the other hand, the museum has plenty of material to occupy the time and attention of more studious visitors. And for several days. I’m certainly planning to return for at least two days! 

Here’s a short video that should give you an idea of what to expect when you visit the Museum.

And another that looks at some of the themes and exhibits of this remarkable institution.

Well worth a visit while you’re in the Upcountry. Or, even a special trip to the Upcountry. South Carolina’s not all Charleston and Myrtle Beach!

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