Explore the history of the Anderson County Museum. Our museum timeline tracks our founding, museum milestones, and new exhibits.


Founding Father

The museum’s “Founding Father” Fred Whitten, while president of the Anderson County Historical Society in 1978, received permission from the County to arrange some local history displays in the basement of the historic County Courthouse. Sustained by a handful of devoted volunteers and nurtured by our local historical organizations, the small museum grew slowly.

Officially Authorized

Representatives of local historical organizations, including the Anderson County Historical Society, Anderson Heritage, Inc., and the Pendleton District Historical and Recreational Commission, went before Council to ask that space in the courthouse be officially authorized for use as a small county museum.

October 7, 1982
October, 1983

First Artifact

The first item accessioned was the Glenn Street School cornerstone, donated by Mr. Ellis Ball.

Grand Opening

The museum’s Grand Opening consisted of exhibits featuring items donated by Whitten, Wayne Broadwell, and the three founding historical organizations. It was well attended and there was excitement at the possibilities now that a “museum presence” had finally been established.

October 23, 1983
January, 1984

Visitation Records

Visitation records began to be kept.

Advisory Committee

County Council made the museum a division of the Pendleton District Commission and appointed the first Anderson County Museum Advisory Committee to oversee its operation and growth. Carl Compton was the first committee chairman.

March 20, 1984
Spring, 1984

Donna Roper

Donna Roper was assigned to be Museum Curator under Hurley Badders.

New Construction

With the construction of a new county courthouse, the old courthouse building was closed for much-needed preservation and renovation work. Collections were stored and the museum went into “hibernation” from 1991 until 1994.

January, 1992

Reading Room

The Advisory Committee conducted a re-organizational meeting after which the Anderson County Chapter of the S.C. Genealogical Society, under the presidency of Jim Harper, provided a small on-site genealogical library. In addition to the museum’s books and files from the Historical Society, this would constitute the first “Reading Room” for visiting researchers.

Museum ReOpening

The museum reopened in the renovated courthouse. It was located in a third floor suite of large open rooms just outside a new elevator.

March 14, 1994
August, 1996

City Council Vote

The Anderson County Council voted to designate the recently vacated County Home building as the site for a museum.

New Building

At a meeting of the Advisory Committee, County Administrator Joey Preston proposed that they accept the county library building for use as a museum, a most suitable and desirable downtown site.

June 4, 1997
October 5, 1998

First Director

Paula Reel hired as first Director of the Museum through May 31, 2005.

January, 2001

Fountain Restoration

A fundraising campaign was started for the restoration of the Robert Anderson Fountain. The fountain had been in storage for thirteen years with no conservation care. The Independent Mail helped in the fundraising effort and more than $45,700 was raised.

Fountain Re-Dedication

The Robert Anderson Memorial Fountain restoration project was completed and the fountain re-dedicated.

November 1, 2002
April 15, 2003

New Exhibits

Turbines and Textiles Exhibit, South Carolina Heritage Corridor Exhibit, and Buena Vista Park Exhibit were installed before the grand opening of the museum.

Grand Opening

The Grand Opening of our present facility occurred on International Museum Day.

May 18, 2003
September, 2003

Second Curator

Alison Hinman hired as second curator and retired May 1, 2015

New Exhibit

Let us Worship Church Exhibit opened.

October, 2003

Hall of Hame

The Anderson County Hall of Fame was established.

New Exhibit

Keep the Home Fires Burning Military Exhibit opened.

November 15, 2003

Museum Store

Original Museum Store opened.

Harness Shop

The restoration and conservation of the McGee Harness Shop began with the expert guidance of Mr. Doug Kidd and Mr. Rick Brighwell of Border States Leather.

March 2005
May 15, 2005

New Exhibit

King of Mirth Exhibit opened. The restored McGee Harness Shop was open to the public.

New Exhibit

Exhibit By the Book: the History of Education in Anderson County was opened.

August 24, 2007
January, 2008

New Director

Beverly Childs hired as Museum Executive Director to lead the museum in a new direction.

Fred Whitten Gallery

Museum Gallery named after Fred Whitten and becomes the Fred Whitten Gallery during the Hall of Fame celebration.

May 3, 2008
May 23, 2008

Orr Monument

Orr Monument was moved from Orr Mill to the Anderson County Museum with the help of A. B. Roberts Construction Company.

New Exhibit

Sally Rose Miniature House Exhibit opened.

May 26, 2008
May 7, 2009

One-Room Schoolhouse

Pendleton District Historical, Recreational and Tourism Commission gifted to the Anderson County Museum Miss Frierson’s One Room School House.

Schoolhouse Moved

Anderson Heritage provided funding to move the One Room School House from the Fair Grounds to the upper parking lot of the Museum.

June 2009
October 23, 2009

Trade Street Exhibit

Opened Trade Street Exhibit. The Anderson County Museum published our first picture book Trade Street written by Director Beverly Childs and museum volunteer Carl Compton.

June 1, 2010

New Exhibit

Opened Anderson Baseball Hall of Fame Exhibit.

Book Publication

Director Beverly Childs and Friends of the Anderson County Museum republished the book Anderson County, South Carolina – The Things that Made it Happen.

October 2010
May 1, 2012

Desolate Pride Exhibit

Desolate Pride Civil War Sesquicentennial Exhibit opened.

Routes of History Phase I

Opened Routes of History Phase I

April 18, 2013
October 2013

Book Publication

Museum fundraised and published A Necessary War Anderson County Residents Remember World War II book written by Kathryn Smith.

American Girl Program

Linda Loparo, ACM Educator and Volunteer Coordinator, held the first meeting of the monthly American Girl Program at the museum.

February, 2014
April 8, 2014

Routes of History Phase II

Opened Routes of History Phase II

New Store Location

Friends Board Museum Store was relocated to a new location right inside the front door of the Museum. Don Chapman of Chapman Design Group, Inc. donated the design and project management for the new store.

September 5, 2014
October 14, 2014

Roper Research Room

The Reading and Research Room was renamed after our first ACM Curator Donna Roper to the Roper Research Room.

Third Curator

Dustin Norris hired as the third Curator and Registrar.

June 29, 2015
July 2015

Online Access

A portion of the ACM Collection catalogued in Past Perfect was put online for researchers to have access to.

Routes of History Phase III

Opened Routes of History Phase III and launched the book Anderson Memories: the Early Years in partnership with the Independent Mail.

November 20, 2015

Whitner the Lightning Bug

Nate Thomason drew the first ACM mascot for the children’s programs, Whitner the Lightning Bug.

Sept., 2016 – March, 2017

Harness Shop

The McGee Brothers harness shop in the upper parking lot was outfitted with custom cases and a barrier to improve visitors’ experiences on tours and enable more controlled self-guidance in the shop.

Travelling Exhibit

The first ACM traveling exhibit was developed: William Whitner: The Spark behind the Electric City.

April, 2017
August – December, 2017

Trailmobile Restoration

The WWI Trailmobile Field Kitchen was sympathetically restored with plans to become a centerpiece in the upcoming exhibit, Andersonians in War.

High Attendance

The ACM had its highest weekly total of visitors in its history to date. 538 for Monster Mash and 2,026 for Mistletoe Market, totaling 2,564.

Oct. 31-Nov. 4, 2017

Whitner’s Family

A family was created around the Whitner mascot by Miranda Hayes. Wife, Whitney, children, Willie and Willa, and dog Willett.

Delayed Honor

The ACM developed a redesigned traveling exhibit called Delayed Honor: The Life and Legacy of Freddie Stowers which focuses on the beloved Medal of Honor recipient.

March, 2018
April, 2018

Gala Moved

The Gala was moved to April and hosted for the first time at Evergreen Plantation.

Civil War Cannon

The Miss Annie Lee, Civil War cannon from the town of Williamston makes its first annual trip to the museum as part of an agreement with Williamston and the Citadel.

May 18, 2018
October 16, 2018

Hall of Fame Anniversary

The Anderson County Museum celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Anderson County Hall of Fame.

Whitner’s Mercantile

The ACM Store was reopened and rebranded as Whitner’s Mercantile.

February 5th, 2019