Monday, October 17, 2011

A Good Museum Is Hard To Find Pt. 2

On September 24th, the Smithsonian hosted an event, country wide, that would allow for free admission to any participating museum.

 While this was an exciting opportunity, the problem of finding a good museum came up again. I started with a search of nearby participating museums, but eventually had to search in a larger radius from my home. Even though it would be a three hour ride, the South Carolina State Museum looked like the obvious choice. Surprise, surprise.

With four floors, thousands of artifacts and multiple exhibits, this museum was just begging for visitors.

The first floor we started on delved into the history of South Carolina, with a dated but interesting and unbiased video to begin the tour. It was a very refreshing and informative take on the history of the South unlike the stupid movie at the Savannah history museum. After the video, you tour the halls in chronological order, exploring South Carolina's vast history through colonization, wars and societal changes. The next floors were dedicated to science and technology, natural history, and art.

Some highlights:

They had an exhibit on dueling. Who isn't excited by that? Not only were there dueling pistols but there also were dueling rule books (like books about the rules for dueling). The only thing missing was a guy standing at the exhibit that would remove his glove and smack you with it.

I challenge you to break the glass and take the historic pistols so we can have a duel!
I don't want to break the glass, the alarm will sound.
I don't want to either, I guess we should move along and duel some other day.

There also was a replica Revolutionary War gun that you could hold. It was chained to the wall so I couldn't flee with it, but that doesn't mean I didn't try:

Why yes, I am wearing my I heart History shirt from the Henry Ford Museum.
Thank you for  noticing. ;)

And last but not least, there was a giant tire. Unfortunately I got lost within its rubbery depths for about a half an hour, and then finally came back up for air just in time to go explore more of this massive museum.

I wonder if I'll remember my life beyond this rubbery prison...

The entire museum is housed in what it calls its "largest artifact", the former Columbia Mill, this massive museum left me with little to complain about. Although I do have at least one complaint. Since the museum is housed in the Columbia Mill, the history of the Mill is explored, and while the exhibit on milling has photographs of children, there is nothing about child labor discussed in the exhibit. It kind of felt like how Savannah avoided discussing slavery at their museum. It's probably a general oversight since SCSM didn't seem to be avoiding anything when relaying history but I was surprised to see it left out. I guess I'm always on the lookout for things that I think people want to avoid when relaying history, and I'm sure that there are other people who have been through SCSM and found things they thought were missing too.

Unfortunately we were unable, during our visit, to also see the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room which is attached to the museum. Hopefully we'll get a chance to see it next time.

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