The Calhoun County Museum and Cultural Center in St. Matthews puts South Carolina "on the map" with their current exhibition of John J. Ward's fantastic map collection.
The collection of original maps spans hundreds of years from the 1600s to the 1930s. It includes a Robert Mills Atlas of 1820. Robert Mills, a native Charlestonian who designed the Washington Monument (as well as many public buildings in South Carolina,) made the atlas for the South Carolina legislature. It was the first official atlas of the state.
The maps line the four walls of the first large galley room in the museum. Looking at the way the South's borders, place names and county lines have changed over the years (and how they have remained the same) is an interesting way to approach history from a different angle.
Other exhibits in the museum make that history feel decidedly real. One example -- the chilling original bills of sales for enslaved Africans being sold to a Calhoun County planter.
In another gallery there is a portrait of a lovely Confederate lady who refused to leave her home when Sherman's troops came through Calhoun County. As a result, the union army refused to burn it down. They did, however, destroy much of the property; those holes in the portrait are from union bayonets.
The museum also is home to a fabulous collection of period clothing that is remarkably well preserved. Here you'll see bustle dresses from the late 1800s and man's waistcoat, bridal gowns and a flapper's short, fringed frock.
The Calhoun County Museum and Cultural Center is open Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here for more information.