As you drive towards Walterboro's historic downtown, the Colleton Museum is sure to catch your eye.
The museum is located inside the neo-Gothic "old jail" and looks like a tiny castle dropped in the middle of town. Built in 1855, today the building houses the Colleton County Chamber of Commerce, the City Council Chambers and the museum.
Downstairs, the Colleton Museum presents a collection of treasures outlining the rich history of Colleton County.
Upstairs, the cozy City Council Chambers doubles as an art gallery. Recently, the museum presented Jasper, Texas: The Healing of a Community in Crisis. This moving exhibit is about James Byrd Jr., an African-American man who was murdered when three white men chained him to the back of their pickup truck and dragged him for two miles. The collection of black and white photos is an ideal exhibit for a city council chambers because it focuses on a community's efforts to keep the peace in a time of intense emotion and calamity.
Also upstairs is a historical exhibit on the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the World War II-era soldiers who were the first African-American pilots. The airmen received their final combat training at the nearby Walterboro Army Airfield.
During the war, the airmen conducted more than 1500 missions, but despite their bravery in the air, they were still discriminated against at home. The Tuskegee Airmen paved the way for future African-American pilots, soldiers and sailors to serve their country in an integrated armed services.
The Colleton Museum is Monday from noon to 4 p.m. and Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
While you are in town, you might also consider stopping by Walterboro's Tuskegee Airmen Monument located at 537 Aviation Way.