Beaufort History Museum, which is located on the upper level of the arsenal on Craven Street in Beaufort’s historic district, is undergoing a complete renovation of its principal exhibit hall. The museum displays the City of Beaufort’s collections, which tell the remarkable 500–year-old history of the Beaufort District.
HW Exhibits, a Charleston-based exhibit design firm, has been retained to help write text, develop graphics, create a cohesive theme and fabricate interpretive exhibits based on the storylines, artifacts and photos that comprise the museum’s proprietary collection and support its mission of education. Carol Poplin, HW Exhibits Director and Owner, is project leader.
Also on the museum’s “wish list” are plans for the exhibit hall to receive a fresh coat of paint and to undergo other repairs and improvements to the space. Although the renovation has been a topic of discussion and research for several years, work actually began this year on the first phase of the renovation, which will be completed by late spring 2018. The museum will remain open during the creative and implementation process but will close for a few weeks prior to completion to facilitate the exhibit installation.
The renovation is overseen and directed by the museum’s Exhibits Committee. Members include Co-chairs Larry Koolkin and Anne Marie Reiley-Kay, Katherine Lang and Paul Keyserling with support from Mary Lou Brewton, Linda Irving and Phil Cromer. Lawrence S. Rowland and Stephen R. Wise, co-authors of The History of Beaufort County, South Carolina and renowned authorities on Beaufort’s history, are the principal advisors.
Koolkin said HW Exhibits was chosen after reviewing the company’s impressive portfolio of work on peer museums, including the Santa Elena History Center and the Parris Island Museum. The cost for the entire renovation is currently estimated to be $ 250,000. The first phase of the renovation, which is already funded and now underway, will cost $100,000. Work on the second phase of the project will begin in 2018 and will be paid for with funds from the museum’s escrow account, Accommodations Tax grants and through fundraising efforts. A capital campaign is currently underway.
Koolkin said the renovation would take place in two phases with Phase I covering the initial planning, creative work, and selection of artifacts from the city’s collection, fabrication of storyboards and displays and installation. Phase II will involve the installation of a central island with further displays and the implementations of interactive technologies to both enhance and expand the visitor experience.
Beaufort History Museum has evolved to focus specifically on the history of the Beaufort District. It strives to manage and display artifacts and documents held by the City of Beaufort, telling the compelling stories of this area from the early 16th Century until modern times. The museum’s hours of operation are 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Monday – Saturday.
HW Exhibits is the exhibit design division of Brockington and Associates, heritage resources consulting firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information visit the website at www.hwexhibits.com