Like Grandma, the museum is a loving home to a collection of memories. Filled with the artifacts of life in Hartsville, the museum does not try to tackle the scope of South Carolina history; what it does best is tell the personal story of Hartsville’s residents.
This month, the museum’s special exhibit is of recent acquisitions to the museum’s collection. Among the new arrivals is an assortment of old telephones, antique dolls, a fireman’s uniform and a child’s sleigh with the name “Ray” scrawled on it. These are not necessarily priceless, historical relics, but they go a long way to capturing the spirit and personality of the people who have lived in Hartsville through the years.
At the museum there also is a rare and wonderful chance to see those people brought to life – through the lens of filmmaker H. Lee Waters. In the 1930s and 40s, Waters made more than 250 films in over 100 different towns for his Movies of Local People series. For almost a decade he traveled the South, filming the local people, editing the footage into a film and then screening it for local audiences. Hartsville is one of those 100+ towns, and you can see its Movie of Local People with the press of a button at the museum.
Before you leave, make sure to check out the skylight. In 2002 the clear glass in the skylight was replaced with stained glass panels that help tell the story of Hartsville. And don’t miss the outdoor sculpture garden that includes Lawrence Anthony’s The Performance and a topiary sculpture by local-phenomenon Pearl Fryar.
The Hartsville Museum is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (on Fridays only the museum is closed from noon to 1 p.m.) Admission is free, but donations are accepted.