At the start of the tour, Elloree’s founder, William J. Snider, greets you before sending you to tour a re-creation of Cleveland Street as it was in 1900. The museum itself is on Cleveland Street, where many of the original town buildings still stand. Beyond Cleveland Street displays include a cotton gin, exhibits on rural life and the meager cabin in which William Snider was born and more.
The Elloree Heritage Museum is enhanced by its deep sense of place. This is not a museum that makes sweeping declarations about the history of the south. It is truly the specific history of this rural town – and the people who built it -- that is on display.
One of the museum’s best features is its oral histories. Press a button or pick up a telephone near several exhibits and you will hear residents’ first hand accounts of living in Elloree, sometimes in their own voice. In one room, the son of Jewish immigrants talks about working in the town’s textile store and driving an hour to Columbia to pick up special kosher foods for Passover. In another, a man recalls the ritual of slaughtering pigs with his father on their farm.
The Elloree Heritage Museum and Cultural Center is open for self-guided tours Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students ages 6-18 and free for children 5 and under.
For more information visit www.elloreemuseum.org.