Keeping the pulse of history never takes a day off, according to Marie Cheek, community relations coordinator for the Culture & Heritage Museums in York County.
And that’s the way she likes it.
“It’s just constantly busy here,” she said, smiling. “And that’s very good news.”
Cheek has plenty of work on her plate as area students leave school for their summer vacations. They’re in need of stimulus, Cheek said, and York County museums have plenty to offer ahead of International Museum Day on May 18.
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The unofficial holiday has been organized by the Paris-based International Council of Museums since 1977, and aims to increase public awareness of museums.
The event has increased steadily in visibility and popularity each year. In 2015, more than 35,000 museums participated in the event in 145 countries across five continents.
Culture & Heritage Museums include the Museum of York County on Mount Gallant Road and Main Street Children’s Museum, both in Rock Hill; Historic Brattonsville in McConnells; and the McCelvey Center in York.
The Museum of York County allows visitors to explore the wonders of the Carolina Piedmont and its connections to the larger world.
The museum is opening a photograph gallery this month by local conservation advocate and kayaking enthusiast Bill Stokes. The exhibit features photographs in and around the Catawba River on his year-round paddling adventure.
The exhibit runs through December in the Nature Nook Gallery.
Meanwhile, Historic Brattonsville will host “Liberty or Death!,” a series of three major Revolutionary War battle reenactments-- King’s Mountain, Camden and Eutaw Springs -- involving cannon and musket firing demonstrations, battlefield tours and hands-on activities.
“Those battles show how important South Carolina’s role was in the American Revolution,” Cheek said.
The reenactments are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 20 and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. May 21. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6 for children 4-17.
If you (or your child) is interested in why they’ll be starting school a few days early, take them to the Settlemyre Planetarium for the “Totality” show.
On Aug. 21, we will experience the first total solar eclipse in the U.S. since 1979. Local school districts have made adjustments to start classes before then in order to teach students about the rare phenomenon.
“Totality” teaches viewers about why eclipses happen, when they occur and what happens when they do. The show continues through Aug. 19 at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
Planetarium programs are free with museum admission.
It’s just constantly busy. And that’s very good news.
Marie Cheek, community relations coordinator for Culture & Heritage Museums
“There will be special astronomy programs with these shows, (with planetarium director Carole Holmberg) talking about eclipse trivia and the best places to see it,” Cheek said. “The center line goes through Columbia, so we should still have partial visibility here.”
Need a place to keep the younger kids happy? The Main Street Children’s Museum caters especially to children ages 6 and younger.
Caregivers tell stories and make music with 3 year olds and younger on Wee Wednesday, while ages 4 to 6 enjoy Playcation camps with games and crafts. Also, Tinkering Tuesdays allow children to use their imaginations with re-purposed materials.
Don’t forget to check out the Fort Mill History Museum on 107 Clebourne St., open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday.
The museum houses a permanent exhibit on Samuel Elliott White, who was the patriarch of a large family that would positively impact Fort Mill for generations.
David Thackham writes a weekly column called Trending in York County, which takes a dive into local eateries, stores and businesses that York County consumers are flocking to right now. Email column idea suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Admission fees for local museums
Museum of York County
$8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for children, free for members or children aged 3 or younger
$8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for kids, free for members or children aged 3 or younger
Main Street Children’s Museum
$6 for children and adults, free for members and children aged 1 or younger, $3 for pre-booked groups of 15 or more
Free to York County residents
Fort Mill History Museum
Free admission for all guests