Magnolia History Fair bridges past and present on July 6
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens will convene a History Fair on July 6 to showcase 41 organizations, businesses and institutions with historic ties to the Lowcountry.
The list includes groups that study rice cultivation, African-American genealogy and history, Native-American culture, military and Southern history, the workmanship of legendary blacksmith Philip Simmons and South Carolina’s links with Barbados. A representative of the national heritage corridor, created by Congress in 2006 and dedicated to the preservation of Gullah-Geechee culture, will participate in the day-long fair.
The History Fair will showcase well-known names in education, religion, business, social services, the arts and tourism, including Charles Town Landing State Historic Site, a state-owned park on the grounds where the Carolina Colony was founded in 1670.
The History Fair will also be a time to honor the people who serve our nation and community. On July 6, free garden admission will be offered to firefighters, law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians, physicians and nurses and active duty military and immediate family. Valid identification is required.
During the History Fair, the public will have an opportunity to meet representatives of these historic organizations. A staff member from each organization will distribute information and make presentations that will appeal to the amateur and serious historian and children who want to touch the past.
Lisa Randle, Magnolia’s director of research and education, said, “It is truly awesome that all of these organizations will be in one place for a History Fair. This affords the historians, researchers and visitors the opportunity to learn about one another in a convenient and festive outdoor setting. Whether you are a professional or novice at history, history will come alive at this event.”
Tom Johnson, Magnolia’s executive director, said the History Fair is a ground-breaking opportunity for Magnolia Gardens to “begin a cross-pollination of organizations and institutions in Charleston that otherwise might have not interacted together. We hope this will lead to future collaborations and a sharing of
information that can only increase our understanding of Lowcountry history and culture.”
Magnolia was founded in 1676, a century before the Revolutionary War, and its gardens were opened seven years after the Civil War. “Magnolia has seen this nation through its birth, wars, the Civil Rights Movement up until today,” Johnson said. The gardens at Magnolia were first established around 1685 and opened for a fee in 1872, establishing Magnolia as Charleston’s first tourist attraction.
At the History Fair, Magnolia will be joined by its Ashley River neighbors Drayton Hall and Middleton Place under the banner of the Historic Ashley River Plantation District. Randle said, “These plantations have been together on the Ashley River for centuries. Now they are coming together to tell their unique histories.”
Warren Cobb, Middleton’s director of marketing and public relations, said, “This event is the perfect way to announce a new era of cooperation between Middleton Place, Magnolia and Drayton Hall. Just as the antebellum owners of these plantations would have worked together to help each other succeed in agriculture, we’re now working together to help each other succeed in cultural tourism.”
George McDaniel, Drayton Hall’s executive director, said, “One would be hard-pressed to find such a rich concentration of historic sites in such a small area in the nation that compares with the Historic Ashley River Plantation District. The added bonus is that each site is steeped in history and each is distinctive in the way it presents itself so that visitors come away with a deeper understanding and a variety of enjoyable experiences for all ages.”
The 40 presenters are:
• American College of the Building Arts
• Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, College of Charleston
• Barbados and Carolinas Legacy Foundation
• Cannon Street YMCA
• Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Project, College of Charleston
• Carolina Piggly Wiggly Co.
• Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
• Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site
• Charleston Artist Guild
• Charleston Friends of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)
• Charleston Library Society
• Daniel Library Museum and Archive, The Citadel
• Dock Street Theater
• Drayton Hall
• Emanuel AME Church
• Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Co. “I”
• First Federal
• Fort Moultrie National Monument
• Fort Sumter National Monument
• Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor
• Jenkins Institute
• John L. Dart Branch Library
• Jubilee Project, College of Charleston
• Keepers of the Word
• Linwood Bed & Breakfast, Summerville
• Lowcountry Africana
• Lowcountry Rice Culture Project
• Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
• Middleton Place
• Moultrie Camp 27, Sons of Confederate Veterans
• Noisette Family, developers of America’s first repeat blooming rose
• Old Exchange Building
• Old Slave Mart Museum
• Philip Simmons Artist-Blacksmith Guild of South Carolina
• Philip Simmons Foundation
• S.C. Historical Society
• Seashore Farmers Lodge
• Shaw Community Center and R3 Inc.
• St. Andrew’s Parish Church
• The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
• YWCA of Greater Charleston