Free kids activities near Myrtle Beach: visit Horry County Museum downtown Conway

On your way to a fun filled Myrtle Beach vacation stop in downtown Conway to visit the Horry County History Museum. Admission is free and the museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9AM to 5PM.

Take a photo of the historic Wade Hampton Oak that guards the museum entrance. In 1876, former Confederate Gen. Wade Hampton gave a speech in front of 2,000 people during his campaign for SC governor. His election ended the reconstruction period in South Carolina.

SC Governor Wade Hamptons oak tree

The famous oak tree saved by the brave Mary Beaty

Ten years later, as railroad tracks were being laid in Conway, Mary Elizabeth Beaty, owner of the property, ran outside with a shotgun to protect the oak.

Greatest women of Horry County

Mary Elizabeth Beaty helped preserve the Wade Hampton oak tree

She threatened to shoot anyone that attempted to cut down the tree!
Every since the city of Conway was careful in preserving its oaks and roads were built around the trees.

Born in Bucksport, Maine in 1824, Mary Elizabeth Brookman Beaty, was one of nine children of Henry Brookman, a rigger.

In 1840, Mary came to Bucksport, SC to become governess to the children of Henry Buck, shipbuilder and timber magnate.

In 1851, she married Thomas Wilson Beaty of Horry County. Tragically, all of her 5 children died in their youth.

Mary Elizabeth Beaty became one of the most respected and influential women in the county.

See the natural wildlife exhibit, in particular the life size taxidermy examples of some young American black bears. There is also a huge alligator, birds of prey, opossum, beavers and a whale bone.

American black bear Conway natural science exhibit

Young black bear cubs killed by cars

Marvel at the impressive collection of Native American artifacts from the Archaic, Woodland and Mississippian periods. There are various arrow points, atl-atl spear, fire drills, axes, hoes and digging sticks and beautiful Woodland pottery.

Native American artifacts at the Horry County Museum

Prehistoric Native American pottery, bowls, pipes and points

Check out the fine Civil War artifacts recovered in 1991 from the Confederate gunboat PeeDee. The 150 foot Macon class gun boat was built at the Mars Bluff Naval Yard on PeeDee river. It launched in January 1865 but it was short lived. In March 1865, fearing capture by Gen. William Sherman’s Union troops, the Confederate commanders ordered its Brookes cannon thrown overboard and then set the boat on fire.

Civil War weapon artifacts at the Horry County Museum

Replica of a Brookes rifle cannon installed on CSS PeeDee gunboat

Some of the recovered items include a canon shell, lead bullets, iron canister, beam spikes, sail grommets, silver spoon, butcher knife, stove fragments, brass compass and much more.

Artifacts recovered from CSS PeeDee

Confederate weapons and military ship tools recovered from gunboat CSS PeeDee

Admire an exquisite quilt, embroidery and dolls collection created by local artists. On display there are two original Singer sewing machine from the 1920s.

Singer sowing machine with original case

1927 Singer machine featuring the Egyptian Lotus pattern decal

Learn about the economic development history of the region: naval shipbuilding, turpentine, logging and railroad industries.

Collecting and processing tree sap

Giant rosin

After vising the museum take a relaxing stroll along the beautiful Waccamaw Riverwalk.

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