In the back of the Union County Museum there is an old, wooden table that changed history.
The "Secession Table" is where South Carolina's articles of secession were drawn up and signed, catapulting the state into the Civil War.
It might seem like a strange artifact for the Union County Museum to have on display. But Union predates the war by 100 years. It gets its name from the old Union Church, erected in 1765, which the various denominations in the area shared as a place of worship.
The Secession Table is just one piece in a vast and fascinating gathering of artifacts. In fact, Director Ola Jean Kelly says that the museum doesn't currently have the space in its two large rooms to display its entire collection. The storage space is brimming with treasures that have yet to play their role in bringing the county's history to life.
What is on display is a diverse set of memorabilia commemorating the achievements and everyday life of Union County natives like Revolutionary War hero Thomas Brandon (Union was almost named Brandonburg in his honor,) or John Edward Beckham, who became a successful New York dress designer in the 1920s.
Union County followed in Edgefield's footsteps in terms of making beautiful and functional pottery, and there also are some lovely examples exhibited at the museum.
The entire collection - which includes everything from a fully functioning cannon to a lady's lace day dress - is lovingly curated by Ms. Kelly, whose enthusiasm for Union County's history is infectious.
The Union County Museum is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcomed.