Historic Columbia celebrates Woodrow Wilson family home re-opening with party, opening festival

  • Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Images provided Young Woodrow Wilson

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After eight years of research, rehabilitation and restoration, South Carolina’s only presidential site, the Woodrow Wilson Family Home: A Museum of Reconstruction in Columbia and Richland County, will reopen to the public on Saturday, Feb. 15, just in time for Presidents Day.

Beginning that weekend, visitors will see the Woodrow Wilson Family Home like never before. Professionally-designed exhibits, hands-on interactive displays, audio and video components and exterior signage will explore the Wilson family’s life in Columbia while tackling the charged social, political and economic issues of Reconstruction.

“This is not your traditional presidential site,” said John Sherrer, Historic Columbia’s director of cultural resources, who led the project since the site temporarily closed its doors in 2005. “When we re-open these doors, we open a portal to the time a 14-year-old future president was living in Columbia, taking a look at his experience, what life was like for his family and friends, and the cultural, social and political landscape that shaped those experiences.”

Benefiting from countless hours of research on the part of contemporary scholars and staff, Historic Columbia delves into Reconstruction in the only home owned by the parents of the man who became the 28th president of the United States and the world’s first modern international statesman.

“So many years of Richland County’s history are encompassed at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home,” said Richland County Councilman Greg Pearce. “As the owner of this historic building, Richland County takes great pride in the years of research, planning, and hard work that have led us here. We can’t wait to open these doors to share our story with visitors from all over our great country.”

Historic Columbia will celebrate the reopening of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home with a preview gala on Friday, Feb. 7, and will officially open the house and museum to the public on Presidents Day Weekend, Saturday, Feb. 15 through Monday, Feb. 17.

Schedule of Events:

Party Like a President – Friday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.

Historic Columbia will celebrate the re-opening of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home at a party fit for a president, inspired by the year the house was saved from the wrecking ball - 1928. Pull out your flapper fringe, top hats and tails, and get ready to party like a president!

Tickets are $100 for Historic Columbia members and $125 for non-members and can be purchased by calling 803.252.1770 x 23 or online at historiccolumbia.org.

Opening Weekend:

•Opening Day Festival – Saturday, Feb. 15, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Join them for our Opening Day Festival on the grounds of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home. Starting with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9:30 am, the house will be open for tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They’ll have tours of the grounds and gardens every half hour, food trucks, live music, crafts, shopping and a visit from President Wilson himself (Wilson impersonator Ed Beardsley). Admission to the festival is free; tour tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for youth and free for Historic Columbia members. A full list of ticket prices and discounts can be found at historiccolumbia.org.

•Sunday, Feb. 16, 1 to 5 p.m.

The house will be open for tours from 1 to 5 p.m. Garden tours will start every half hour, and they will have shopping on-site as well as crafts for the kids. Admission to the grounds is free; tour tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for youth and free for Historic Columbia members. A full list of ticket prices and discounts can be found at historiccolumbia.org.

•Presidents Day – Monday, Feb. 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Though Historic Columbia properties are usually closed on Mondays, the Woodrow Wilson Family Home will be open for tours to celebrate Presidents Day. The house and gardens will be open for tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and they’ll have crafts for the kids and shopping. Admission to the grounds is free; tour tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for youth and free for Historic Columbia members. A full list of ticket prices and discounts can be found at historiccolumbia.org.


The restoration of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home would not have been possible without the support of Richland County, the Department of the Interior’s Save America’s Treasures grant program, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Humanities Council SC, Columbia Garden Club, NBSC, Southeastern Freight Lines, AgFirst, Childs & Halligan, the Lucy Hampton Bostick Charitable Trust, Keenan Energy Company, The Osceola Foundation and many private donors. The Party Like a President preview event is sponsored Pope Zeigler Law Firm, The Hobbs Group, Cyberwoven, Huss Construction, Hay Hill Garden Market, The Inn at USC Wyndham Garden and Southeastern Freight Lines.

For more information about Historic Columbia, the Woodrow Wilson Family Home and the schedule of events, visit historiccolumbia.org or call 803-252-1770 x 23.

About Historic Columbia:

In November 1961, a small group of individuals intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next five decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would take on the stewardship of seven historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. Visit historiccolumbia.org or find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube for more details.

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