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McKissick Museum

  • Woman photographs a costume from the exhibit "Well Suited"

Exhibitions

Our exhibitions reflect the museum’s broad, interdisciplinary approach, educating visitors about the diversity and richness found throughout the South. Find out what you can see, learn and experience on your next visit. 

Physical Exhibits

Close-up of University Mace

Invitation to Explore

This exhibit gives visitors an introduction to the many types of objects that McKissick Museum collects, including university history, fine art, southeastern folklife, natural history, and more. Visitors can also see the University’s mace and medallion, which are on display when they are not in use at commencement ceremonies. This exhibition is changed out annually to rest objects that have been on display and to highlight new acquisitions.  

Inheritance: Sustainable Farms of the South    January 10 to July 15, 2022  

Brett Schenning’s photographs aim to capture the hope that drives southern sustainable farmers. Hope that they will succeed in raising foods to nourish people in their communities. Hope they their hard work will both bear fruit and enable them to pay their bills. Hope that the ways they farm will ensure that the land will continue to support future generations.  These photographs present select southern farms that differ in many ways, but are united in their stewards’  belief that sustainable agriculture can make the world a better place.

Wild Bees: Photography by Paula Sharp & Ross Eatman                                                          January 10 to July 15, 2022

When most people think of bees, they picture the hives of honeybees. Honeybees, however, are a single non-native species among thousands of native bees that inhabit North America. Our native bees pollinate our vegetable and fruit crops, backyard gardens, fields, and woodland trees. The exhibit Wild Bees showcases a collection of stunning macro photographs by Paula Sharp and Ross Eatman depicting the world of America’s native bees.

The Medium is the Message                                       April 7 to August 18, 2022  

Drawing from the museum’s permanent collection and the South Carolina Broadcasting Association’s archive, The Medium is the Message will showcase a selection of devices that have made mass communication possible over the past century. The objects on display date from the late 19th century to the early 2000s. Some objects will appear unfamiliar and even strange, while others likely will evoke a sense of nostalgia.

Catesby in the Carolinas                                            March 21 to  August 13, 2022  

McKissick Museum, along with the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, the A. C. Moore Herbarium, the South Caroliniana Library, and the Mark Catesby Centre have come together to create a two-part exhibition centering around Mark Catesby and his monumental work, Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1729-1747).  "Catesby in the Carolinas" highlights artifacts from all five collections with exhibit spaces in McKissick Museum and the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. It contextualizes Catesby’s life and works within his own time, situates the importance of his publications in the history of the University of South Carolina Libraries, and considers Catesby’s enduring importance for our own cultural and ecological moment.

Specimen of Coal

 Natural Curiosity:  The University of South Carolina and the Evolution of Scientific Inquiry in the Natural World  

 Explore your own “natural curiosity” in this exhibit that highlights the treasures of nature, and the evolution of the field of natural history.  Visitors can learn from  authentic objects or use newly installed touchscreens to dive deeper into McKissick collections and explore the lives of Historic Southern Naturalists. 

 

Digital Exhibits

Child's Play

Showcasing a wide range of toys—everything from teddy bears and Barbies to Lincoln Logs, Legos, and Nintendo 64--Child’s Play will be both a walk down memory lane and an invitation to consider the serious business of play for children and adults. The exhibit mines the many messages we send and receive with toys—especially messages about social norms. 

Piece by Piece: Quilts from the Permanent Collection

Since the 1980s, McKissick has documented and celebrated quilting traditions, produced several publications, and developed programs exploring the topic. The quilts in this exhibition illustrate the evolution of this textile tradition over the past two hundred years. From the early use of chintz fabrics to the widespread popularity of solid colors, these quilts reflect traditions with roots in Europe, Africa, and the American South.

Folded paper dolls of President Ronald Reagan

A Laughing Matter

This new digital exhibit from McKissick Museum surveys the use of humor in an array of objects produced for American political campaigns from 1896 to 2016. "A Laughing Matter" contains a variety of political memorabilia. Some of the humor is light-hearted and good-natured. Some of it can be seen as quite dark, having misogynist, homophobic, and even violent overtones. It is a hopeful sign of the times that we now recognize when—from some Americans’ perspectives—political campaign materials meant to be funny in their day, were perhaps not all that funny. Still, as the old saying goes, “Laughter is the best medicine.” 

3 women in front of horseshoe

A Woman's Right Part 2

Utilizing original research from Guest Curator, Dr. Jennifer Gunter, Director of the South Carolina Collaborative on Race and Reconciliation, this exhibit continues in a digital space. Part 2 of "A Woman's Right" features the stories, objects, photos and more from the fight for women's rights from World War II to the present. 

three women in front of a building

A Woman's Right Part 1

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, McKissick Museum planned a spectacular two-part exhibition entitled "A Woman's Right." This exhibit set out to uncover the challenges and triumphs of women at UofSC. While the museum is closed, curators have been hard at work creating a digital catalog of the 1st part of "A Woman's Right". This downloadable pdf contains the exhibit's original text panels, photographs, captions and more! 

 

Upcoming Exhibits

The Museum, along with the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, the A. C. Moore Herbarium, the South Caroliniana Library, and the Mark Catesby Centre will open a two-part exhibition centering around Mark Catesby and his monumental work, Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1729-1747)
 
Catesby in the Carolinas highlights artifacts from all five collections with exhibit spaces in McKissick Museum and the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. It contextualizes Catesby’s life and works within his own time, situates the importance of his publications in the history of the University of South Carolina Libraries, and considers Catesby’s enduring importance for our own cultural and ecological moment.
Drawing from the museum’s permanent collection and the South Carolina Broadcasting Association’s archive, The Medium is the Message will showcase a selection of devices that have made mass communication possible over the past century. The objects on display date from the late 19th century to the early 2000s. Some objects will appear unfamiliar and even strange, while others likely will evoke a sense of nostalgia.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

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