Fill Your Sails with History in Georgetown, SC
By Kimberly Duncan
Studies have documented growing interest among travelers in tourism opportunities that protect the environment and showcase local cultures. More than ever, people enjoy traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent fascinating stories and people of the past, and the slice of the Lowcountry south of Myrtle Beach has a rich store of history to explore.
The entirety of Georgetown County – which also includes southern Garden City Beach, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield Beach, Pawleys Island and Andrews – is packed with historic and eco-friendly attractions but – for sake of space – this article will focus only on the charming port city of Georgetown. Located on the southernmost tip of the Grand Strand, it was among the nation’s busiest seaports in Colonial times. A four-by-eight block grid is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And there are five – yes, five! – museums within easy walking distance one from another.
- Georgetown County Museum sits in the heart of the downtown waterfront district, a block off Front at 120 Broad Street. One of the best small museums anywhere, the facility plays host to an array of history exhibits and programs. An exceptional collection of everyday objects chronicles daily life through almost three centuries of local history. Impressive traveling exhibits spice things up on a rotating basis. Find details at GeorgetownCountyMuseum.com.
- The Kaminski House Museum is a must – especially for those interested in architecture and antiques. English and American furniture dates from the early 1700s. More than a few pieces are of national and international significance. Constructed in 1769 by a wealthy merchant for his daughter, the home sits on the bank of the Sampit River and anchors the west end of Front Street. The front yard, overhung with massive old oaks, is as beautiful as the old home itself. Check out KaminskiMuseum.org.
- The SC Maritime Museum at 729 Front Street celebrates the rich maritime history of Georgetown and the whole of the SC. The building is one of few that survived a devastating fire in September of 2013 – a fire that burned nearly an entire block of historic structures. This is a highly recommended stop for anyone who enjoys nautical history, ships, and the deep blue sea. Sail over to SCMaritimeMuseum.org.
- From the area’s earliest settlements to the twentieth century, rice cultivation dominated life in the Lowcountry. Explore the story through dioramas, maps, artifacts and other exhibits at the Rice Museum. Known locally as home to the Town Clock, it is an iconic symbol of Georgetown. There’s an impressive art gallery, too. Research details at RiceMuseum.org.
- The Gullah Museum at 123-7 King Street provides a rich education about the history of the Gullah/Geechee people – descendants of African slaves – who inhabit the southeastern Atlantic coastal region. To say these people played a significant role in everything from southern cuisine to farming and religion, education, politics and culture, is understatement at its finest. Call 843.527.1851 to ask questions.
Each museum has its own gift shop and every single one is stocked stem to stern with an array of gifts, jewelry, art, decorative home accents, unique Lowcountry gifts, books and more. If you can’t find time to tour each of the five museums, at least stop to shop!
Independent of area rivers, nearby beaches, abundant golf, gardens, state parks and old plantation homes, Georgetown’s museums alone are worthy of a long weekend getaway. The city and the county is rich in history and alive with excitement! There’s a warm welcome waiting for you during cool weather months on The Hammock Coast of SC. Start daydreaming and planning at HammockCoastSC.com.