Our new website will be ready soon. Our Home page is available to keep visitors to the site up to date. All other pages have been disabled temporarily as we finish the new design. We know this has been a difficult year for everyone, and we are so grateful for your continued support. We are in uncharted waters. COVID-19 is present nearly everywhere. The Museum has an important role to play by continuing to serve our community in unique thoughtful, and safe ways.

Please scroll down to register for events and see what is coming up!

CURRENT ROTATING EXHIBITIONS

BOOK SIGNINGS AND EVENTS

Register

Talk and Book Signing with author Mary Alice Monroe for her latest novel The Summer of Lost and Found

The nationally bestselling Beach House series returns with this tender and compassionate novel following the historic Rutledge family of Charleston, South Carolina as they face a summer of upheaval and change with perseverance, a spirit of unity, and a dose of humor.

The coming of Spring usually means renewal, but for Linnea Rutledge, Spring 2020 threatens stagnation. Linnea faces another layoff, this time from the aquarium she adores. For her—and her family—finances, emotions, and health teeter at the brink. To complicate matters, her new love interest, Gordon, struggles to return to the Isle of Palms from England. Meanwhile, her old flame, John, turns up from California and is quarantining next door. She tries to ignore him, but when he sends her plaintive notes in the form of paper airplanes, old sparks ignite. When Gordon at last reaches the island, Linnea wonders—is it possible to love two men at the same time?

Love in the time of coronavirus proves challenging, at times humorous, and ever changing. Relationships are redefined, friendships made and broken, and marriages tested. As the weeks turn to months, and another sea turtle season comes to a close, Linnea discovers there are more meaningful lessons learned during this summer than opportunities lost, that summer is a time of wonder, and that the exotic lives in our own back yards. In The Summer of Lost and Found, Linnea and the Rutledge family continue to face their challenges with the strength, faith, and commitment that has inspired readers for decades.

In The Summer of Lost and Found, Mary Alice Monroe once again delves into the complexities of family relationships and brings her signature “sensitive and true” (Dorothea Benton Frank, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling to this poignant and timely novel of love, courage, and resilience.

McKenzie Hall, Tuesday, May 18th, 5:00 pm, $30 Members, $35 Public
*includes a hardback copy of the book
*light refreshments will be served
*registration is required, there are a limited number of tickets

A Talk with Dr. David Shields & Nat Bradford, The Interesting and Dangerous History of the Bradford Watermelon

Come learn the fascinating and dangerous story of the Bradford Watermelon’s origin and restoration. From NPR article, “The most luscious watermelon the Deep South has ever produced was once so coveted, 19th-century growers used poison or electrocuting wires to thwart potential thieves, or simply stood guard with guns in the thick of night
The legendary Bradford was delectable — but the melon didn’t ship well, and it all but disappeared by the 1920s. Now, eight generations later, a great-great-great-grandson of its creator is bringing it back.” USC Professor Dr. David Shields was on the hunt for a surviving Bradford Watermelon in 2005. Nat Bradford, landscape architect from Sumter, reached out to him in 2012 wondering if his family’s “backyard melon” was the prized Bradford. Upon confirmation of its status, Shields successfully encouraged Bradford to restore the melon to its former glory.

This talk will take place during the traveling exhibit from the South Carolina State Museum “South Carolina, The Food We Celebrate.”

McKenzie Hall, Tuesday, May 25th, 6pm
This is a FREE event!
There will be pickled watermelon samples to try from Bradford Family Watermelons.
*The watermelons aren’t quite ripe yet.
**Cover Photo: Bradford Family Watermelons

Talk and Book Signing with Susan Cushman for the novel John and Mary Margaret

John and Mary Margaret is a rare insider’s look into the white privilege bubble of a young girl growing up in Jackson, Mississippi and participating in sorority life on the Ole Miss campus in the late 1960s. But it’s also a candid portrayal of a young Black boy from Memphis who follows his dream to study law at the predominantly white university.
What happens when their shared love for literature blossoms into an ill-fated romance? Spanning five decades of historical civil rights events in Mississippi and Memphis, John and Mary Margaret’s story will challenge the status quo and give us another opportunity to examine our history and our hearts.
This talk and book signing is FREE and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase. Light refreshments will be served.

McKenzie Hall, June, 8th, 2021 5:30 pm, Free and open to the public
*copies of the book will be available for sale
*light refreshments will be served

Book Signing with Signe Pike for The Forgotten Kingdom

Midsummer Mingle – Book Signing with Signe Pike for The Forgotten Kingdom, The Lost Queen Series Book II

The story continues in The Forgotten Kingdom, the second book in the astonishing Lost Queen series, already hailed as “Outlander meets Camelot” (Kirsty Logan) and “The Mists of Avalon for a new generation” (Linnea Hartsuyker).

AD 573. Imprisoned in her chamber, Languoreth awaits news in torment. Her husband and son have ridden off to wage war against her brother, Lailoken. She doesn’t yet know that her young daughter, Angharad, who was training with Lailoken to become a Wisdom Keeper, has been lost in the chaos. As one of the bloodiest battles of early medieval Scottish history scatters its survivors to the wind, Lailoken and his men must flee to exile in the mountains of the Lowlands, while nine-year-old Angharad must summon all Lailoken has taught her and follow her own destiny through the mysterious, mystical land of the Picts.

In the aftermath of the battle, old political alliances unravel, opening the way for the ambitious adherents of the new religion: Christianity. Lailoken is half-mad with battle sickness, and Languoreth must hide her allegiance to the Old Way to survive her marriage to the next Christian king of Strathclyde. Worst yet, the new King of the Angles is bent on expanding his kingdom at any cost. Now the exiled Lailoken, with the help of a young warrior named Artur, may be the only man who can bring the Christians and the pagans together to defeat the encroaching Angles. But to do so, he must claim the role that will forever transform him. He must become the man known to history as “Myrddin.”

Bitter rivalries are ignited, lost loves are found, new loves are born, and old enemies come face-to-face with their reckoning in this compellingly fresh look at one of the most enduring legends of all time.

 

** This event is a themed night with a celebration of the Celtic summer solstice. We will have specialty cocktails and delicious food. Decorations will make the scene enchanting along with the crowning of an Oak King and a Summer Maiden (picked at random from our ticket jar), music, a special gift to take with you, and of course the book signing will all make this an event to remember. **

McKenzie Hall, June 17th, 2021, 6 pm
$20 Members | $25 Public, Limited Number of Tickets
*Signed paperback copies of the book are included in the ticket price
*The first book of the series will also be available for sale

Talk and Book Signing with Dianna Rostad for You Belong Here Now

In this brilliant debut, three children take the orphan train from New York City to the Big Sky Country of Montana, hoping for a better life where beautiful wild horses roam free.
Montana: 1925. An Irish boy orphaned by Spanish flu, a tiny girl who won’t speak, and a volatile young man who lies about his age to escape Hell’s Kitchen, are paraded on train platforms across the Midwest to work-worn folks. They journey countless miles, racing the sun westward.
Before they reach the last rejection and stop, the oldest, Charles, comes up with a daring plan, and alone, they set off toward the Yellowstone River and grassy mountains where the wild horses roam.
Fate guides them toward the ranch of a family stricken by loss. Nara, the daughter of a successful cattleman, has grown into a brusque spinster who refuses the kids on sight. She’s worked hard to gain her father’s respect and hopes to run their operation, but if the kids stay, she’ll be stuck in the kitchen.
Nara works them without mercy, hoping they’ll run off, but they buck up and show spirit, and though Nara will never be motherly, she begins to take to them. So, when Charles is jailed for freeing wild horses that were rounded up for slaughter, and an abusive mother from New York shows up to take the youngest, Nara does the unthinkable, risking everything she holds dear to change their lives forever.
PRAISE FOR YOU BELONG HERE NOW
“Set against the harsh backdrop of western Montana, You Belong Here Now is a novel as straightforward and powerful as the characters who populate it. I love this book, and I guarantee you won’t find a finer debut work anywhere.”
William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author of This Tender Land
“From the moment the reader steps on the train with these orphaned children, You Belong Here Now shows how beauty can emerge from even the darkest places.”
Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway’s Girl
“Unflinching story of orphans, family, and horses. Timeless, irresistible…for fans of Orphan Train”
Weina Dai Randel, award-winning author of The Moon in the Palace
“Rostad’s bighearted debut is full of surprises, and warm with wisdom about what it means to be family.”
Meg Waite Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Train to London
The author will speak about her new work.
There will be a reception to follow with light refreshments.
Books-A-Million will be on-site with books for purchase.
Register

Talk and Book Signing with Kristin Harmel for The Forest of Vanishing Stars

The New York Times bestselling author of the “heart-stopping tale of survival and heroism” (People) The Book of Lost Names returns with an evocative coming-of-age World War II story about a young woman who uses her knowledge of the wilderness to help Jewish refugees escape the Nazis—until a secret from her past threatens everything.
“After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.
Based partially on incredible true stories of survival against staggering odds, and suffused with the kind of journey from the wilderness that made Where the Crawdads Sing a worldwide phenomenon, The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel from the #1 internationally bestselling author whose writing has been hailed as “sweeping and magnificent” (Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author), “immersive and evocative” (Publishers Weekly), and “gripping” (Tampa Bay Times).

Thursday, July 15th, 2021, 5:30pm
$30 for Members | $35 Public
This includes a signed copy of the book.
The author will speak about her new work.
Reception to follow with light refreshments.

WORKSHOPS AND CLASSES

Bushcraft Camp

Bushcraft Camp, 3 Days, 9am-12pm

Everyone benefits from being in the outdoors, and bushcraft helps us understand nature more and connect to it in unique ways. Bushcraft for children teaches them what nature can provide for them and how to use that knowledge to thrive in the outdoors. Campers learn life skills through bushcraft and have a lot of fun in the process. It is also a way for families to spend some quality outdoor time together, preferably getting muddy in the process!

In Bushcraft Camp in the Carolina Backcountry Homestead campers will learn to:
Read a map & compass
Learn how to tie knots
Build primitive shelters
Start and manage a fire
Cook over a campfire
Learn trail signs
Make smoke signals
and more!

We are happy to take your payment and registration over the phone at 803-775-0908, stop by the Williams-Brice House Thursdays-Saturdays 10am to 5pm or simply click on the register button for the camp.

DRESS TO GET MESSY!!     DRESS TO GET MESSY!!     DRESS TO GET MESSY!!

Tuesday, June 15th – Thursday, June 17th, 2021, 9am-12pm
This class is for ages 8-17
$65 for Members | $75 for Public
All supplies are included.
Minimum of 5 students, Maximum of 10 students
Afternoon Tea and Etiquette

Afternoon Tea and Etiquette

We admit, at the Sumter County Museum, our nerdy side delights in learning about afternoon tea history and customs. We like knowing what the proper terms and practices are, but at the same time, the only rule that truly matters is that everyone has a wonderful time. You never want to make etiquette rules so important that people feel corrected or scolded. 

The heart of the afternoon tea ritual is about coming together to share in something special. And yes, why not also take advantage of this opportunity to practice our social graces and educate ourselves about this fabulous tradition?

What matters most is that everyone has a lovely, scrumptious time. Etiquette experts say this is exactly why these little politenesses do matter: they demonstrate thoughtfulness and care for all the guests and hostess. We like that intention, as well as honoring the historical customs of this 180-year-old tradition.

Tea and additions, finger sandwiches, scones and clotted cream, petit fours, and more will be included in this delicious and fun afternoon.

We are happy to take your payment and registration over the phone at 803-775-0908, stop by the Williams-Brice House Thursdays-Saturdays 10am to 5pm or simply click on the register button for the class.

Saturday, June 26th, 1pm – 4pm
This class is for ages 7-11
$30 Members | $35 Public
All supplies are included.
Minimum of 5 students, Maximum of 12 students
FANCY DRESS IS REQUESTED

Potter, Painter, Candlestick Maker

Potter, Painter, Candlestick Maker, 3 Day Camp, 9am-12pm

Pottery and candles were used together in the Backcountry of South Carolina 200+ years ago to provide settlers with light. In this class we take these two skills of pottery and candle making and add a twist by making creative shapes for the candlestick holder and painting unique designs on it. 

Dipped candles were once made using tallow, or animal fat. As you might imagine these did not smell very good. Luckily we now have soy, paraffin, beeswax and more to choose from. We will use traditional tools from circa 1800 to make hand-dipped taper candles. The fired pottery will be ready for pick up at the Williams-Brice House Thursday, August 12th or after during our regular hours of operation.

We are happy to take your payment and registration over the phone at 803-775-0908, stop by the Williams-Brice House Thursdays-Saturdays 10am to 5pm or simply scroll down until you see the register button for the class and register here.

Tuesday, July 20th - Thursday, July 22nd, 9am-12pm
This class is for ages 8-12
$70 for Members, $75 for Public
All supplies are included.
Minimum of 5 students, Maximum of 10 students

DRESS TO GET MESSY!!     DRESS TO GET MESSY!!     DRESS TO GET MESSY!!

Home Economics - Basic Hand Stitching

Home Economics: Basic Hand Stitching, An (almost) all-ages class

Learning how to sew is a valuable skill. While we don’t see many home economics classes in schools anymore, the sewing arts are making a comeback. Many young adults are enrolling in classes that teach skills like sewing and cooking. But what about our children and youth? There are plenty of reasons why everyone should learn how to sew.
Develop Hand-Eye Coordination
Learn Mathematical Skills
Mend Clothes
Plan and Prepare for a Project
Explore Creativity and achieve a sense of Accomplishment

In Basic Hand Stitching Ms. Deborah Watts, our Backcountry Manager and seamstress who makes all of the period clothing for the Museum will teach students:

• Basic hand stitching: straight stitch, back stitch, whip stitch, and blanket stitch

• How to repair a hem, close a ripped seam, and how to add a patch to clothing

• How to sew on a button the right way!

We are happy to take your payment and registration over the phone at 803-775-0908, stop by the Williams-Brice House Thursdays-Saturdays 10am to 5pm or simply click the register button for the class.

Thursday, August 12th, 1pm-4pm
THIS IS AN ALL AGES CLASS
(but you must be at least 8 years to participate)
$20 Members | $25 Public
All supplies are included.
Minimum of 5 students, Maximum of 12 students

IMPORTANT COVID ANNOUNCEMENT: Click the link below to go to the Sumter County Museum’s General Health and Safety Guidelines
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Please help us continue our mission and become a Friend of the Museum…

We understand this has been a difficult year for everyone, and we greatly appreciate your continued support of the Museum. We are in uncharted waters. COVID-19 is present nearly everywhere, and our community is no exception. The Sumter County Museum has an important role to play by continuing to best serve our community in unique and thoughtful ways.

We hope that you have had the chance to participate in some of the Museum’s online efforts, including our live book chats with New York Times bestselling authors, demonstrations of early 19th century crafts and skills, free painting workshops, watched our new series “From the Collection with Charles Broadwell,” and our new digital Scavenger Hunt in our Carolina Backcountry Homestead. Maybe you’ve attended some of our socially-distanced events, like our popular Wreath Workshops and Backcountry Living History days.

Levels of Membership

…or Donate any amount.

SUMTER COUNTY MUSEUM STAFF

Annie Rivers, Executive Director arivers@sumtercountymuseum.org

Amanda Cox, Education and Visitor Services Manager acox@sumtercountymuseum.org

Charles Broadwell, Curator of Collections cbroadwell@sumtercountymuseum.org

Diana Roof, Temple Sinai Jewish History Center Site Manager dianasue@sc.rr.com

Deborah Watts, Carolina Backcountry Manager information@sumtercountymuseum.org

Josh Brown, Grounds Keeping information@sumtercountymuseum.org

 

 

Connect with us

Williams Brice House
122 N. Washington St.
Sumter, SC 29150

Hours
Thursdays 10am to 5pm
Fridays 10am to 5pm
Saturdays 10am to 5pm

Temple Sinai Jewish History Center
11 Church St.
Sumter, SC 29150

Hours
Thursdays 1pm to 4pm
Fridays 1pm to 4pm
Saturdays 10am to1pm