Spartanburg Regional History Museum

The main purpose for my trip to Spartanburg was a visit to the Spartanburg Regional History Museum. Thanks to a donor, admission to the museum is free* the first Thursday-Saturday of each month.

Spartanburg Regional History MuseumThe museum’s designers took advantage of modern technology and inventive ideas to fill a small space with loads of information. Located in the Chapman Cultural Center – 200 E. St. John Street, the museum takes up just a portion of the Moseley Building’s second floor but despite its small size, it still manages to offer visitors a lot to see and do.

The museum’s exhibits start with the Native American inhabitants and continue through modern day. That’s a lot of time to cover in a small space, so the museum’s central area is set up almost like a chemistry lab with tall counters and stools. Visitors can get basic information by viewing the information laid out on the counters, but additional treasures including books, maps, arrowheads, pottery, and other artifacts can easily be accessed by pulling out the many drawers or peering in the built-in shelves below the main counter area. For me, this added an element of fun and exploration. The main exhibit space also featured a touch screen timeline that provided more details and helped put important local happenings in the context of national occurrences.

Here are two of the main exhibit items.

Juan Pardo StoneThe first is the Juan Pardo stone found near Inman, SC. This is said to mark the Spanish explorer’s route when he passed through the area in 1567 on his way to the Piedmont.

The second is a “piece of eight,” the Spanish coin (reale) that was divided into eighths and used as currency in colonial America. The stock market still operates in eights of dollars.

Other interesting exhibits at the museum include a nod to the area’s military past from the Revolutionary War (particularly Cowpens and Daniel Morgan) to Camp Croft in WWII.

There were also exhibits on local life ranging from social to economic including an emphasis on the textile mills that dominated the area’s economy for decades.

I particularly liked the cluster of small doors that were used to tell the area’s story through important dates and “Spartanburg by the Numbers.” The act of opening the doors and seeing an artifact with a date/number helped me to retain what I had learned.

It’s a very nice museum. You won’t need more than 60-90 minutes to explore it but you won’t be disappointed by the time you’ve spent.

*This information is accurate as of Jan. 2012.


2 thoughts on “Spartanburg Regional History Museum

  1. Buenas noches desde Aranjuez en España,

    Estoy preparando un trabajo sobre la expedición de Juan Pardo, capitán de Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, y deseo consultarles dos puntos y si efectivamente esas dos piezas están en ese museo:

    1. He visto en internet una serie de imágenes como una piedra señalizadora de una dirección con la fecha grabada de 1567.
    2. Pieza de un real de a 8 dividido en 8 partes (se les dividía para que cada parte tuviera el valor de 1 real para comerciar con más facilidad). ¿Tienen catalogado este fragmento de moneda como de la época de Juan Pardo?

    Real de la Ocho

    Me pueden indicar cuál es la información que se ofrece en el Museo sobre este fragmento de moneda?

    Muchas gracias. Es para contrastarla con mi deducción y estudio sobre la misma.


    José Antonio Crespo-Francés

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