We recently had the pleasure to take a trip to Washington, D.C., which was sponsored by the South Carolina Historical Society’s Nation’s Building Tour. Denise Reid and myself have been working for several years to have a Newberry County/Newberry College Museum in the historical old Newberry post office on Friend Street. A committee was formed in 2013 during breakfast at Figaro’s. I was selected as Chairman of the Board, President and Denise was selected as Education/Community Outreach Board Chairperson. We share an interest in the preservation of our history and having the arts lead the way for quality of life, but as an economic push for our county area.
Back in Washington, our first museum visit was the recently opened Bible Museum. It is the world’s most technologically advanced museum. Every wall and ceiling is like a movie screen showing Bible stories from beginning to end. There was a room of biblical games for children. There is a room in which hymns are being sung by Elvis and others.
We also visited the DAR Museum, one of a few museums that allow photos. Quilts made in South Carolina were featured on the third floor. We visited the usual museums and places, Mt. Vernon, etc. We had a noon day meal at the Trump Hotel overlooking the lobby. The food was good, but the presentation was unusual. Bacon served on a wire rack. Desserts placed on a small artificial tree limb. Believe it or not.
Our last stop was the new African American Museum. There we were let in at the last minute by a lady that had visited a family of Newberry in the past summers. We saw two exhibits of the old post Civil War schools built for the black children of the country. These schools were built by a Mr. Julius Rosenwald, known as Rosenwald Schools. One exhibit featured a black pot belly stove and desks and a large background picture of Newberry County children in school. Some Newberrians were featured on monitors speaking about the school that they had attended. A few of these schools are left standing today in the county.
We picked up some ideas for the museum, and it should be exciting to have national museum ideas in the Newberry Museum.
Peggie West is the Newberry County Museum president.