Feature Articles

February 2014

Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island, SC, Offers Exhibition on Mitchelville

The Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island, SC, is presenting Finding Freedom’s Home: Archaeology at Mitchelville, on view through Mar. 31, 2014.

The exhibition highlights the town of Mitchelville’s rich history and recent archaeological discoveries. Mitchelville, founded in 1862, was home to several thousand former slaves from area plantations. This town was one of the first self-governed Freedmen’s communities in the United States.

In 2012, Talbert, Bright and Ellington, airport engineering consultants for Beaufort County, hired the cultural resources consulting firm of Brockington and Associates to investigate a portion of historic Mitchelville that will be affected by expansion of the Hilton Head Island Airport runway. Archaeologists found evidence of possible houses, several barrel wells, a large refuse pit, and recovered more than 20,000 artifacts. These artifacts represent the personal belongings, tools, and household goods of Mitchellville’s former residents and remind us of their efforts to make a new world for themselves as free people.

“In many ways, archaeology is as close to the personal stories of these people as we can get … the things we find in the ground are actual tangible evidence of what they are using and that tells their story,” said Archaeologist Scott Butler.

“The role of Archeology in telling past histories is no more so evident than in the emerging story of the Mitchelville settlement,” says Michael Marks, CEO Coastal Discovery Museum. “This is an important piece of the early history of Hilton Head Island and, it is a history that should be told to all who visit here. The Coastal Discovery Museum is honored to play a role in presenting this story via the thought provoking exhibition created by Brockington and Associates. It is our hope that those who experience this exhibition will walk away with a better understanding of how archeology can help us all understand and learn about earlier cultures.”

“There is such an extensive history that exists here in Beaufort County, and the artifacts found in this exploration of Mitchelville prove this history. I’m proud that we have been able to be part of these findings and were able to put more pieces to the puzzle when it comes to learning about the daily lives of those living in Mitchelville 150 years ago,” says Beaufort County Council Chairman Paul Sommerville.

The results of the investigations and many of the objects recovered during the excavations will be presented in a new exhibition sponsored by Beaufort County, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the SC Aeronautics Commission. The Coastal Discovery Museum is pleased to host the exhibition in its main gallery through Mar. 31, 2014. After Mar. 2014, the exhibition will move into the Museum’s Sea Island Room, where it will remain through Dec. 2014.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 843/689-6767 or visit (www.coastaldiscovery.org).

[ | February2014 | Feature Articles | Download Carolina Arts' Current Issue | Carolina Arts Unleashed | Home | ]







Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc. Copyright© 1987-2014 by PSMG, Inc. which published Charleston Arts from July 1987 - December 1994 and South Carolina Arts from January 1995 - December 1996. It also published Carolina Arts Online, Copyright© 1998 - 2014 by PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved by PSMG, Inc. or by the authors of articles. Reproduction or use without written permission is strictly prohibited.