This building pictured below, the first public school in Marion County, was built in 1886 by the Marion Academy Society, chartered in 1811. The Society, which had operated a private school here for almost seventy years, then turned the school over to the Marion County School District as the new public school. The Marion Graded School, which closed in 1976 after ninety years of continuous service to the community, now houses the Marion County Museum.
The building’s original architecture was restored in 1999, when the double portico was replaced across the front. A school bell is housed in the cupola, and the rope which rings the bell hangs in a downstairs gallery. The display case in the Francis Marion Hall of the building is used for artifacts from the museum’s permanent collection or collections of the Charleston Museum.
Changing exhibits are displayed in two galleries downstairs. These can be local exhibits, or traveling exhibits from the South Carolina State Museum’s collections. The Magnolia Room of the museum is furnished with lovely antiques once used in the Aiken-Rhett House in Charleston. These pieces were a gift from the Charleston Museum. The upstairs galleries feature a turn-of-the-century classroom, a farm room, and a variety of displays concerning the people and places of Marion County.
The museum has been in operation since 1981 and has been a successful venture due to the support of so many people, most especially the Friends of the Marion County Museum. This dedicated group, through its membership fees and fundraisers, has helped to sustain the Museum.
The Museum is also available to rent for weddings, receptions, parties, and meetings. Tables, chairs, linens and a complete kitchen set-up are included. Call for our reasonable rates, and schedule your next event today!!