Greenville Museum of Art, fun, free and inspirational things to do with kids

The Greenville Museum of Art indulges visitors with hundreds of paintings by American and Southern artists from the 18th century to present. The current attractions are two superb water color collections by Andrew Wyeth (through October 16) and Mary Whyte: Working South (through September 18). Admission is free. The art museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 11AM – 5PM and Sunday 1-5PM.

Art museum featuring Mary Whyte and Andrew Wyeth collections

Excited to see Mary Whytes watercolor collection

Upcoming Events

• September 4 – Music in the Galleries – Enjoy the gentle sounds of guitar music.
• September 18 – Highlights and Insights, an annual tour that touches on current exhibitions, art studios, and a discussion of the Museum’s history
• September 24 – Painter Anthony Conway discusses Jasper Johns
• October 9 – Art in Motion for Families with Percussionist Jeff Holland
• October 16 – The 26th Annual Antique Show
• October 23 – Original Art from 65 Years of Golden Books

My daughter really enjoyed the Art Detective challenge, where she had to identify 6 paintings inside Mary Whyte’s Working South exhibit.

Clues to find best of Mary Whyte art prints

Art Detectives have fun exploring the Working South exhibit

More fun kids things to do near Heritage Park

Be a textile worker at the Upcountry History Museum
• Kick into super fun gear at The Children Museum
• Let your imagination flourish at the Main Public Library
• Take the free guided tour of the historic Kilgore-Lewis House and Garden


Wilmington during Civil War: blockade running bonanza, yellow fever, despair and profits

The Cape Fear Museum downtown Wilmington features an extensive Civil War exhibit. There are hundreds of original weapons, model blockade ships, artifacts recovered from the battlefield, photographs, news articles, letters and more. Admission is $7 adults, $6 seniors, military and students, and $3 for children 3-17.

Civil War photos Confederate Army Wilmington

North Carolina Confederate soldiers ready for duty

Wilmington played a key role during Civil War. It was a major arms, food and materials supply hub, and by 1865, the only lifeline to Confederate troops fighting on the Eastern front.

It was the largest producer of salt, a critical ingredient that helped the population deal with chronic food shortages.

Once Fort Fisher was captured, Wilmington surrendered and the supply line of the Confederacy was severed. The Civil War was soon over.

This post highlights what life was like in the city during the blockade. There are also some remarkable statements from several Confederate soldiers. Historic data and quotes are from the museum exhibit and The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Narrative of a Blockade-Runner, by John Wilkinson.

The Gibraltar of the South
“After the Capital of the Confederacy , there was not in the South a more important place than the little town of Wilmington, North Carolina…

John Railey and Lionel Forrest model of Wilmington Harbor Civil War

Wilmington was the only remaining blockade runner port late into the Civil War

Through the port were brought all the stores and materials needed, cannon, muskets, and every munition of war, and with medicines, cloth, shoes, bacon, etc.” – John Johns, Confederate officer stationed in Wilmington, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine

The Union navy found Wilmington a difficult port to blockade. Two entrances to the Cape Fear River allowed blockade runners to enter the port.

The Union had to position its navy along a 50 mile arc to guard against ships trying to enter the river.

“From Smithville…both blockading fleets could be distinctly seen, and the outward bound blockade-runners could take their choice through which of them to run the gauntlet…the United States fleet were unable wholly to stop blockade-running. It was, indeed, impossible to do so;” – John Wilkinson, The Narrative of a Blockade-Runner

Medicine cabinet home remedies Civil War fever

What people used to treat the yellow fever epidemic in1862

The yellow fever epidemic

In 1862, hundreds of Wilmington’s residents died of yellow fever.

The disease was brought in by the crew of the blockade runner Kate.

Lacking proper medicine people resorted to old home remedies like castor oil, foot baths in salt water, mustard plasters and wrapping the sick in warm blankets.

“Medecine does little for the yellow fever. Nursing does much.

Not fussing and disturbing a patient, but skilful care to do what is right, and to avoid what is wrong…”

Taking on salt
Once the Union blockade cut off the South’s supply, during the first year of the war

Residents fighting to keep preserve food during Civil War blockade

Using salt to preserve perishable food at the end of Civil War

the Wilmington Journal urged citizens to “make Salt…by evaporating sea water…To cure beef, pork and so forth.” People built salt works along the coast to provide “the necessary article”.

Men of every age and race were recruited to transport salt from the salt marsh to town.

In 1863 the Wilmington saltworks made 5,000 bushels of salt while the price for a two-bushel sack of salt increased from $12 to $100!

David G. Worth, the state salt commissioner complained that “the present workforce is hardly sufficient to carry on the whole of the works…are always more or less unavoidable absent – some on account of sickness – while others, especially married men…have families entirely dependent on them for support.”

As few get rich the life in the city deteriorates
By the war’s end Wilmington became the only major port on the East Coast still open to blockade runners. The town’s 3 railroads, especially the Wilmington & Weldon, carried supplies to troops in the field. Blockade runners made hundreds of successful trips into Wilmington, more than any other Southern port.

One Five Twenty Hundred Confederate dollar bills

Dollar bills issued by the Confederacy fom 1861 to 1864

With a busy trade between New York, Philadelphia, and the Caribbean islands, Wilmington emerged as one of the most important cities in the Confederacy.

The slow pace, quaint small city lifestyle changed for the worse…

“The staid old town of Wilmington was turned “topsy turvy” during the war. Here resorted the speculators from all parts of the South, to attend the weekly auctions of imported cargoes; and the town was infested with rogues and desperadoes, who made a livelihood by robbery and murder.

Civil War brought hunger despair poverty and social chaos in Carolina

People lining up for rations during a brutal Civil War blockade

It was unsafe to venture into the suburbs at night, and even in daylight, there were frequent conflicts in the public streets, between the crews of the steamers in port and the soldiers stationed in the town, in which knives and pistols would be freely used; and not unfrequently a dead body would rise to the surface of the water in one of the docks with marks of violence upon it. The civil authorities were powerless to prevent crime.”
– John Wilkinson, The Narrative of a Blockade-Runner

Letters from soldiers…Homesick, hungry and courageous

How Civil War soldiers passed time bible tobacco cards family photos

The few but cherished possessions of a soldier

“Your company is better than all the company there is in the world. We have preaching and fiddling and card playing but all that doesn’t satisfy me like being with you.”

“I have a good pair of English shoes minus a sole”

“I had nothing to eat for two days. Finally I got a piece of pickled beef, and I had small piece of tobacco in my pocket, which I traded for bread and mighty glad to get it.”

“I want them to give me some thing to eat if they are going to try to keep me here.”

“I shall stand to my post and go wherever duty calls me.”

Learn about Carolina’s history at Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington!

Look Up and On! The amazing Mrs. Ruby Forsythe, most inspiring African-American teacher in South Carolina

“Miss Ruby sat in her chair and looked at the children. There were two Little Ones asleep on the floor at her feet. I don’t believe I have ever seen such a look of contentment on anyone’s face. Not just content with the day, but with the school, with her life, with herself. Miss Ruby had no doubt about who she was or what she did. She respected herself” – Margueritte Worth Parks, Author.

What better way to celebrate Black History Month than with a tribute to Ruby Middleton Forsythe, a formidable teacher, mentor and inspiration to thousands of children in the South Carolina Lowcountry. The Rice Museum in Georgetown features an impressive exhibit dedicated to prominent local African-American heroes. Museum admission is $7 adults, $3 children 6-17, and free for those under 6.

About Miss Ruby (all quotes, pictures and biography are from the museum exhibits)
Ruby Middleton Forsythe was born on June 27, 1905, in Charleston.

The story of Miss Ruby Middleton Forsythe

Listening to Miss Ruby

She attended Avery Institute for grammar and high school and received her BS from South Carolina State College. She started her teaching career in 1924 in Mount Pleasant.

She became a teacher at Holy Cross Memorial School in 1931. Her husband, the late Reverend William Essex Forsythe, was in charge of Holy Cross-Faith Memorial Church and School on Pawley’s Island.

Miss Ruby taught in the one room school for 53 years. The school came to be known as “Miss Ruby’s School”…When it closed in June 2000, it was the oldest one room school in the United States!

During her lifetime, Miss Ruby earned four honorary degrees: from South Carolina State College, Winthrop College, The University of South Carolina at Sewanee, and the University of South Carolina at Coastal Carolina.

Miss Ruby’s philosophy

African American heroes of the 20th century

Mrs Ruby is a nice lady. She is the best teacher a black child could have - quote from a student

“The school teacher today has to be mother, father, counselor, everything. The majority of the children have nobody to sit down with them to teach them the little things that are right from the little things that are wrong.

Sometimes I have to stop the class, close the book and sit down and say, “Let’s talk,” because their parents just don’t have the time.”

“You must start with the little ones. When they reach 5 years old, you should already have laid the blocks, for them to climb on. If you wait until after 5, you are going to have a harder time.”

“Now, if we can get them to built within themselves, at an early age an esteem of themselves, a bit of independence, dependability, and a desire not to be dependent on someone else, not to be the tail end, as I tell them all the time.

They have it, they can do it, if they only try.”

Miss Ruby’s school was a community affair
School began at 9AM with the ringing of the school bell.

Pawleys Island historic black one room school

Saved by the bell...

Many children arrived as early as 7AM as their parents went off to work. When Miss Ruby came down the stairs from her apartment, the children rushed in to give her money for snacks or the ambulance jar. Miss Ruby spoke with every child as they entered the school.

The children worked hard to impress Miss Ruby and even begged for longer reading assignments. Volunteers came to school to teach music and help individual students.

The students themselves taught each other. Older students would guide the younger children, freeing Miss Ruby to give individual attention to students who needed extra help.

The school received strong parental support, who consider it privilege to send their children to Miss Ruby’s class. The waiting list was often long. Many students were the children of former graduates. The parents were in charge of the financial affairs of the school, cleaned the school, raised money for textbooks, created bulletin boards, and even cut the yard. Some took home papers to grade.

Please and Thank You

Holy Cross Memorial Faith Episcopal School artifacts

Please and Thank You

Miss Ruby expected here students to behave. They were required to say please and thank you and yes ma’am and no ma’am.

“That’s right, I just look at them, boy I just pick up my paddle, that’s all and do this clump, yes sir” said Miss Ruby. A few smacks with the paddle were given here and there, but the embarrassment was much greater than the hurt.

Bad words produced “the bottle”, a mixture of peroxide, Listerine and water (sometimes she will use horseradish powder and Tabasco).

“They think they’re going to die. That peroxide starts working with that water and then all these white bubbles start coming down and I won’t let it spit it out. They start crying right off as soon as they see me getting’ the bottle. That’ll cure all bad language.”

Her spirit lives on…
“When I see my product leave and accomplish something worthwhile, then it gives me the urge to try to do a little bit more for a few more. I see the need of these children today. That’s the only reason I’m holding on, but I don’t know how much longer I’m gonna hold on”.

Ms. Ruby Forsythe picture

A pillar of strength, love and inspiration

Miss Ruby died in 1992 on graduation day. During her 70 plus years of teaching career she had only missed 5 months, when she was pregnant with her son.

“Not one newspaper nor TV news showed…people – black and white – arms around each other, with tears singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” following Miss Ruby to her final resting place. You could feel the love. She has brought us all together – How powerful! What a statement! And the coverage missed it – every one of them!”
Nives Kelly, Pawleys Island resident

“Never say I can’t, always say I’ll try” – Miss Ruby Middleton Forsythe

Old St. David’s Parish, Cheraw’s sentinel and South Carolina’s last state Church

Cheraw is known for the annual SC Jazz Festival honoring its native son, music phenom Dizzy Gillespie. “The prettiest town in Dixie” proudly boasts amazing churches, historic houses, theater and businesses from colonial and Civil War times.

1774 Parish the last Anglican Church built in SC

Old St. David's in Cheraw, South Carolina's last state church

Old Saint David’s Church was the last Anglican Parish to be established in South Carolina under King George III, in 1768 (completed in 1774).

It was named for David, patron saint of Wales, quite appropriate given the first major settlement in Old Cheraws was the “Welsh Neck”.

In 1819, the Episcopalians claimed Old St. David Church. In 1826, they changed the rectangular jerkin-head structure to its present day form and added the steeple, vestibule and vestry. The cross on the steeple was added in 1883.

In 1916, the congregation moved to a new church on Market Street.

In the 1970’s the church donated the building to the Chesterfield County Historic Preservation Commission, who restored it to the 1826 period.

The central section appears much like it did in 1774. Mr. Neil Meetze constructed the pulpit of “polished black walnut built together with a clerks desk, staircase, and banister, after the model of the Georgetown pulpit”. At the time, Anglican churches were very plain, with the focus on preaching rather than aesthetics and comfort. There was no heat and no electricity.

Inside Old St David Parish church

Puritan style interior with simplistic pulpit, pews and altar

After the American Revolution, the Anglican Church was disestablished and the Vestry ceased to meet. In 1819, the Episcopal Church, successor to the Church of England in America, reclaimed Old St. David’s church. The first settled clergyman was Rev. Arthur Fowler.

1800s organ in honor of St David Parish warden

Organ honoring Benjamin Rogers, warden at Old St. David's Church

Two Bishops were rectors of Old St. David’s. Rev. Alexander Gregg was rector from 1846 to 1859. He authored A History of the Old Cheraws and also became the first Episcopal Bishop of Texas. The last rector was Rev. Albert Thomas, who designed the new church. He went on to become Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina and author of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

Interesting monuments in the Old St. David’s Church cemetery

In the church’s cemetery rest soldiers who fought in all of America’s major wars. During the Revolution the church was used as a hospital by both armies. Here is a monument for the officers of the British “Highlanders” regiment, commanded by Maj. McArthur. Many of his soldiers became ill with chicken pox and are buried in an unmarked mass grave in front of the church.

Mass grave for unknown British soldiers

Monument honoring The Highlanders Regiment from Lord Cornwallis' Army

Note the grave of Moses Rogers, famous commander of the SS Savannah, who in 1819 took the first steamboat over the Atlantic. Interestingly, the monument was paid for by the Catholics of Texas! People of many faiths are buried in the cemetery, proof once more of the love and respect for the old parish church.

Momument of the SS Savannah steamboat Commander

Capt. Moses Rogers commander of SS Savannah, first steamboat to cross the Atlantic Ocean

The first Confederate Monument was built here, in the Old St. David’s Church Cemetery in 1867

US first Confederate soldiers monuments

1867 Confederate Monument, first one erected in the country

“Amid the changes of time and civil rule, only the old parish church remained to tell its tale in the associations and traditions connected with earlier days.” Rt. Rev. Alexander Gregg, “A History of the Old Cheraws”

Visit Cheraw to enjoy one of the most beloved and old Anglican churches in South Carolina!

The Fantastic Four! Most famous American women pilots honored at NC Aviation Museum

One of my favorite things to see at the NC Aviation Museum in Greensboro was the honor wall dedicated to famous women pilots, aviation pioneers and inspirational heroes for generations to come.

Harriet Quimby
She obtained the license in 1911 and only a year later became the first woman to fly solo over the English Channel.

First woman to fly solo over English Channel

The shooting star and social butterfly

She did it using the 55 horsepower Bleirot monoplane.

Her meteoric life and aviation career ended abruptly.

On July 1, 1912, Harriet made a publicity stunt flight at an aviation exhibition near Quincy, Massachusetts.

As hundreds of spectators watched from below, Harriet and her passenger fell from the craft when it suddenly pitched forward.

Her dramatic accident sparked a fury of continued speculation.

See additional photos and an excellent bio summary “Who was Harriet” by Giacinta Bradley Koontz.

Bessie Coleman
Bessie Coleman was unable to secure flight training in the United States. So she went to France and on June 15, 1921 became the first African American to receive a pilot license from FAI.

First black pilot to get FAI license

The Brave Girl 'Queen Bess'

Her dream was to establish a flying school for African Americans. In 1925, she moved to Houston and succesfully performed exhibitions shows and parachute jumps throughout the South.

In April 1926, Bessie came to Jacksonville to pick up her first plane.

During a maintenance flight test, the plane malfunctioned and the mechanic, who was piloting the plane from the front seat, lost control of the plane.

Bessie fell from the open cockpit several hundred feet to her death.

Three years later, her dream of a flying school for African Americans became a reality when William J. Powell established the Bessie Coleman Aero Club in Los Angeles.

Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart most likely is the most glamorous and well known female pilot,

First woman ever to fly over Atlantic

Amelia Earhart 'Lady Icarus'

the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. She did it in 1928, in a Fokker F-7 aircraft called Friendship.

In 1937, Amelia Earhart disappeared during her attempt to fly around the world. She and her navigator, Fred Nooman, left Papua Guinea on July 2nd 1937.

They sent a radio transmission nearby Howland Island in South Pacific and then they were never heard from again.

To date no readily identifiable plane wreckage has been found although the search continues…

Here is a long list of her aviation achievements.

Jacqueline Cochran
Jacqueline Cochran, “The Speed Queen”, is by far the most accomplished female pilot in the US aviation history.

First woman to break the sound barrier

The Speed Queen broke most aviation records at the time

In 1937, she was the only woman to compete in the Bendix race and by 1938, was considered the best female pilot in the United States.

She was the first woman to break the sound barrier, to fly a jet across the ocean and a bomber across the Atlantic, and to land and take off from an aircraft carrier.

She was the first pilot to fly above 20,000 feet with an oxygen mask and the first to make blind (instrument) landing.

Jacqueline Cochran was the only woman to ever be President of the Federation Aeronautique International (1958-1961). She was an important contributor to the formation of the wartime Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).

Admission to the NC Aviation Museum is $8 adults, $5 students and free for kids 5 and under.

The “Infernal Machine”! HL Hunley’s submarine amazing artifacts and good-luck charms

The find of the century…

The Charleston Harbor is home to the country’s most intriguing Civil War naval battle. Yes, I’m talking about the one and only HL Hunley, also called “The Diver”, “The Infernal Machine”, “The Fish Boat”, “The Peripatetic Coffin”. The Hunley was the world’s first combat submarine to successfully sink an enemy ship, and recently, I got a chance to see it.

The museum is open Saturday 9AM – 5PM and Sunday noon – 5PM. Admission is $12 (free for kids 5 years and under) and includes a 20 minutes guided talk on top of the 90,000 gallons tank holding the Hunley, access to interactive exhibits and two full size

Inside the submarine hull

Playing inside Hunley full size replica from the TNT movie

submarines replicas, and viewing of the Natl Geographic “Raising the Hunley” documentary.

Among the 3,000 artifacts recovered from the mysterious HL Hunley submarine, the most incredible findings are those not yet displayed to the public:

Like Lt. George Dixon’s watch, that when opened had the hands still in position!…or crewmen brain tissue inside the skulls, soft tissue in the shoes, and most amazing discovery of all… fingerprints!

However, here are the cool ones you can see at the HL Hunley Lauch Conservation Center (historic data taken from the exhibits):

The power of love
For more than a century a romantic legend has captured the hearts and minds of countless Civil War history buffs: the story of the lucky $20 gold coin that saved the life of Lt. George Dixon, the captain who lead HL Hunley in its final mission.

It was believed, his sweetheart, Queenie Bennet gave Dixon a 1860-minted gold coin as a good luck charm. And the coin delivered!

$20 gold coin replica HL Hunley Museum

The lucky coin that dodged a bullet during Civil War Shiloh battle

During the 1862 Battle of Shiloh, he was shot point blank. A bullet ripped into the pocket of his trousers and struck the center of the coin. The impact was said to have left the gold piece bent, with the bullet embedded in it.

Was the legend true or merely a romantic tale?

The world got the answer 137 years later. In 2000, during the excavation of the H.L. Hunley, the gold coin was discovered next to the remains of Lt. George Dixon. It was deeply indented and carried traces of lead!

The front of the coin features the Lady Liberty image, while the back has the Shield and Eagle symbol and a hand inscription:

April 6, 1862
My life Preserver
G. E. D.

The above photo is from the coin replica displayed inside the HL Hunley Museum. It was cast from the original. Now, for $10, you can purchase a similar gold coin replica from the Friends of the Hunley online store.

Dixon’s gold and diamond ring and brooch…another charm, another love story?
While excavating the fragile waterlogged textiles of Lt. Dixon the Hunley research team uncovered two enigmatic pieces of gold jewelry:

9 diamonds 24 carat gold ring and 37 small diamonds brooch

Exquisite diamond gold jewelry on a Civil War secret mission?

• A 18-24 carat gold ring with 9 large diamonds It has no inscriptions or jewelry marks and resembles a ring for a rich and more mature woman.

• A gold brooch with 37 small diamonds. Originally pinned to a small piece of fabric, it appears to have been wrapped in cloth along with the ring, most likely for safekeeping.

The brooch featured a popular 1820s design symbolizing wealth and high status for its owner.

It is believed the two pieces were made from different jewelers. Together they represented quite a fortune during Civil War.

Why did Dixon carry such expensive jewelry with him in a perilous battle? Whom did they belong to? Were they also a lucky charm gift?

It was known that Lt. Dixon was a “ladies man”….

A Union soldier fighting with the Confederates on board Hunley?!
On April 27, 2001, the excavation team was surprised to discover a Union ID tag inside one of the most secret Confederate naval weapon!

Prized enemy capture discovered inside HL Hunley

Another Civil War mystery solved ~130 years later: Ezra Chamberlain's medallion found with a Confederate soldier inside the HL Hunley submarine

The ID tag was found on the skull of one of the Hunley crewmen, bearing the name and class of Ezra Chamberlain, Private, 7th Connecticut Infantry, Union Forces.

Was Ezra onboard that fateful night? Did he switch sides?

Was he a prisoner and thus forced to operate the Hunley?

Was Ezra’s ID tag picked up from the battlefield by a Hunley crewman as a souvenir of war?

Mystery Solved! Early 2002, forensic experts found that the Hunley crewman wearing the tag was in his 30s, while Ezra would have been only 24 at the time of the mission. Further research suggests that Pvt. Chamberlain was killed in action 7 months earlier, during the Fort Wagner battle on Morris Island.

The brass medallion was indeed a battlefield souvenir picked up by Joseph Ridgaway.

A candle in the wind…
This simple white candle was used to light the interior of the submarine.

Mind boggling discoveries from H.L. Hunley submarine Civil War battle

Only one candle lit the cramped 4 foot interior it is more than a century later

When the flame of the candle diminished, the crew knew the oxygen level in the hull was getting low.

Before the Hunley’s last mission, Lt. Dixon put the crew to rigorous training to test their physical and emotional endurance.

On one occasion the men hat to wait at their stations for 2 and half hours, in complete darkness, while the submarine was resting on the ocean floor.

This exercise proved extremely helpful during the mission since most of the navigation was done after the candle light blew off.

To walk in their shoes…
When found this leather shoe still had bones and tissue inside, more than 130 years after the submarine sinking!

Priceless Civil War blockade naval warfare memorabilia

A shoe from the past...another inspirational human touch from HL Hunley submarine

Where is smoke, is (explosion) fire…
Three wooden tobacco pipe bowls were found inside the Hunley, with one still holding a tobacco wad! Among the personal possessions scientists also found the remains of a delicate matchstick.

Civil War Charleston Harbor Blockade memorabilia

One of three tobacco pipes found inside the Fish Boat

Dress for success…
On May 3rd, 1995, NUMA (National Underwater Marine Agency) archaeologist

Original uniforms of the NUMA crew who discovered the submarine

The suit of the man who first touched the Hunley

Harry Pecorelli, wore this wetsuit during his first dive to investigate an object on the ocean floor.

Upon touching the sub, he radioed back to the boat, “I don’t know what it is, but it is definitely not the Hunley.”

The structure proved to be the Hunley, and Harri Pecorelli became the first person to touch the elusive submarine in more than 130 years!

Then Harry was affectionately nicknamed “the first person to have never found the Hunley.”

Check out this cool animation of the “2000 Raising of Hunley” provided on the museum official website.

A face to remember
The human remains underwent comprehensive analysis by some of the world’s most noted forensic anthropologists.

The real faces of the HL Hunley volunteers

The heroic crew of HL Hunley who sunk the Housatonic

The results were remarkable showing the crew spatial distribution and the facial reconstruction of each member.

A biographical and physical portrait was assembled for each man who perished in the 1864 attack.

In 2004 the crew was buried with full military honors at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston. They were laid to rest next to the two previous crews who also died while serving on HL Hunley.

2011 update! Hunley is sitting in an upright position almost 150 years after its sinking.
“Instead of looking like an artifact, it now looks like a stealth weapon,” said Sen. Glenn McConnell, chairman of the South Carolina Hunley Commission. The newly exposed side of the hull may finally reveal the answers needed in solving the century old mystery…”we are seeing some tantalizing clues on that side,” said Hunley lead archaeologist Maria Jacobsen.

Relive the Civil War’s true “Mission Impossible” with the HL Hunley in Charleston!

At Seagrove magic pottery wheels keep on turning…

Love pottery crafts? Looking for exquisite Christmas gifts? Then drive to Seagrove, NC the pottery capital of the world!

Join the 28th Annual Seagrove Pottery Festival on November 21 and 22 at Seagrove Elementary School.

Native Americans, the First Potters(data from NC Pottery Center exhibits)

Native Americans in the Carolina have been making utilitarian and ceremonial vessels for more than 4,500 years. The first pots were carved from soapstone. About 3,000 years ago indigenous tribes across the Southeast started to transform the clay into fired pottery.
Replica of 4000 years old Indian fire pit and clay vessels

• Women were the primary potters, digging the clay, mixing it with sand, crushed rocks or mussel shells to give the vessel strength and firing it in simple pits.

Pinching, coiling and hand-working techniques were passed from generation to generation.

• The fire pit model on display at the NC Pottery Center contains vessels with surfaces textured by beating with carved paddles, impressing textiles or burnishing with a polishing stone. Vessels were warmed around the edges then gently rolled into the coals to continue hardening.

• Native Americans did not use a wheel to make pottery. Instead they created wares by a process called coiling. Pots were built from a pinched base by stacking coils one on the other, or the reverse upside-down from a large coil on the rim to the pointed bottom. The smoke created black patterns as seen on the ones in the exhibit.

The European Influence

Early European pottery kiln methods

• At the time of European settlement, the most prominent tribes were the Tuscarora in the coastal plains, the Siouan in Eastern Piedmont, the Catawba in Western Piedmont and the Cherokees in the mountains. The Cherokees and the Catawba tribes are still active potters today.

• The earliest European wheel-turned and chambered fired pottery was found at the Santa Elena archaeological site on Parris Island, a Spanish fort established in the 16th century.

• During the 1700s potters of English and German descend emigrated to North Carolina where they set up shops which produced lead-glazed earthenware.

• In 1800s they transitioned to higher fired stoneware and alkaline and salt glazes.

A taste of local flavor…

See all tools of traditional pottery in an authentic shop replica
The 19th century shop on display at the Pottery Center (including the tools and glaze mill), are an exact replica of the one used by Harvey Rienhardt and Burlon Craig in Henry, NC.

• Potters referred to themselves as “turners”

• Wheels are “lathes” (pronounced “lays”)

• Kilns (pronounced “kills”) are “burned”, not fired.

The NC Pottery Center, located downtown Seagrove, is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10AM to 4PM. Admission is $2 adults, free for kids 12 and under and for NCPC members. Every Saturday come enjoy Free pottery making demos with a local artist.

Just half an hour away is the NC Zoo, one of the best zoological parks in the country.