The Golf Exhibit highlights golf in Aiken County from the Palmetto Golf Course (second oldest continuous running 18-hole course in the country) where Harry Varden, Byron Nelson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Bobby Knowles, Bing Crosby, William H. Taft, and many others have played to the Aiken Golf Course.
The Pottery Exhibit Our Pottery Exhibit continues to change and evolve telling that rich history of the many skilled potters such as Dave, Thomas Chandler, the Baynham family, and the many pottery sites from Pottersville, Lewis Miles, Phoenix, Rhodes, Landrum, and others. So call it Edgefield pottery or Horse Creek pottery – it is South Carolina pottery – the best ever made in the U.S.
The Savannah River Site boasted 38,000 workers, all the stainless steel produced in the U.S. for 3 years, the best construction safety record in the world for 3 years, the brightest minds in the country and now is the site of hydrogen projects, the MOX program (only 1 in the U.S.), the continued programs of the SREL, and future museum.
Changing Exhibits: This room is dedicated to our changing exhibits. Such exhibits have included “The Ladies of Aiken County,” “The South Carolina Dispensary System,” “The Dairies of Aiken County,” and “Southern Porcelain,” to name a few.
Palmetto Park and Pond Exhibit Located in North Augusta, this black nightclub facility (could seat 1,000 people) opened its doors on May 12, 1932 with the last performance on December 25, 1941. It was a stop on the “Chitlin’ Circuit.” where the finest jazz musicians in the world played, among them: Dizzy Gillespie, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway and his Cotton Club orchestra, and Louis Armstrong.
Aiken–The Polo Capital of the World is also the hometown of the greatest player ever to play the game. Tommy Hitchcock, Jr. was born and lived here. Four (4!) Chairmen of the U.S. Polo Association were citizens of Aiken.
The Carolina Bays Exhibit Those mysterious indentations that were formed thousands of years ago, of various sizes, yet all shaped from NW to SE in direction. How were they formed? A meteor shower? A comet? The Saginaw Impact? Wind erosion? or, could it have been the aliens? The biodiversity of these watery places is unique and special.
The Military Exhibit spans from WWI, through WWII, Korea, Vietnam to the Gulf Wars. Not just the military exploits but the home front as well; the S.S. Aiken Victory and the German P.O.W. camp.
The Aiken County Room showcases the history of the county from early discovery to Galphin’s Trading Post to Henry Shultz and Hamburg to the Charleston-Hamburg Railroad (longest railroad in the world: 1834-1842) to the Evil Institution (slavery) to The War to the Battle of Aiken to Radical Reconstruction.
The Circus Room brings the Big Top alive. Twelve years in the making, the Miniature Circus is an outstanding scale model of a working circus. Enjoy the big top, the bandwagon, the parade of elephants and much more. See a fascinating array of circus posters and photographs. This is a very special exhibit.
“I don’t live here anymore” is a poignant tribute to the people whose homes were removed to make way for the Savannah River Site in 1950. This permanent exhibit focuses on the residents of Ellenton.
The Public Safety Room features the 1880s steam-powered, bright red fire engine No. 1 with its nickel-plated boiler. It is displayed with its hose, hose carriage and accessories, looking just as it did when it first protected Aiken from fire.
The North Augusta Room highlights the largest wooden structure in the world. The Hampton Terrace Hotel opened December 17, 1903. Its guests included John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Marshall Field, and President-elect William Howard Taft.
The Aiken Prep School Exhibit Aiken Prep was founded by Louise Hitchcock to educate her younger son, Frank, in town. Over the years the school became home to young men such as Fred Astaire’s son, Alan Corey II (who held the ranking of 7,8 or 9-goal polo player for over 30 years and married the daughter of W.R. Grace), George Mead, and many others.
The Winter Colony Room showcases the Winter Colonists — names such as the Hitchcocks, the Whitneys, the Astors, the Vanderbilts, the Grace family, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Devereux Milburn, Col. Robert McCormack, Mrs. Evelyn McLean (she owned the Hope Diamond), and the Iselins. They made Aiken “THE” place to be.
The Moody Drugstore was located in Dunbarton (one of the towns displaced when the “Bomb Plant” was built) and features a 1950’s fully-stocked counter complete with Carter’s Little Liver pills, Ipana toothpaste, soda fountain and more!.
William Gregg Buttery This root cellar is the last structure of the property of William Gregg, the man who built the town of Graniteville which was the first successful industrial complex in S.C. He was a successful silversmith turned industrialist who introduces the first commercial peach trees into S.C. and the first compulsory school system for millworkers’ children in the U.S. The buttery, as it is known, teaches young and old that before refrigeration, this is where perishable food would be kept.
Aiken As Seen Through the Lens of Julian B. Salley, Jr. in the 1940s This exhibit is of Aiken in the decade of the 1940s. Juxtaposed with these photographs are current photographs of the same sites.
The Nature Room features Hitchcock Woods, over 2,100 acres in size, and one of the largest urban woodlands in the country – 2x larger than New York’s Central Park..
The War Room Call it “The War Between the States,” “The War of Northern Aggression,” “The Second War of Independence,” we set aside the room to tell part of the story for each year of the conflict as the Sesquicentennial of the War marches on. What happened on the “home front” and how does that impact the direction and outcome of this epic struggle? What impact did this area have on the war?