State Museum exhibit explains SC's importance in Revolutionary W - - Columbia, South Carolina

State Museum exhibit explains SC's importance in Revolutionary War


The South Carolina State Museum recognizes the state's crucial role in the American Revolutionary War with an exhibit running through August.

"South Carolina was the most prosperous colony, one of the crown jewels of Great Britain's colonial empire," said Museum Curator of History JoAnn Zeise. She says the state was pivotal to the American Revolution politically, economically and socially.

"Proportion-wise, the amount of South Carolinians who died in battle during the Revolution were the same as during the Civil War," she said. "The number was smaller, but the proportion was the same, so it affected everyone in South Carolina. Without South Carolina's political support, America would not have been successful in the war."

More battles were fought in South Carolina than any other state. Loyalties were divided among neighbors.

"It was really a civil war here in South Carolina where patriots who were for the American cause and loyalists  who remained loyal to Britain fought against each other," said Zeise. "And in many battles, there may be only one or two people actually from Britain… It was really South Carolinian against South Carolinian."

The state's fight for national independence also led to the state flag as we know it today. Fort Moultrie, off the coast of Charleston, withstood bombardment from British ships thanks to its construction of sand and palmetto logs.

"All the sand and palmetto that was there saved the fort,"  Zeise said. "And that's one of the reasons that the palmetto tree is on our flag."

The palmetto tree was combined with the indigo flat and crescent flown over the fort at the time of the battle.

"Because of this crucial, crucial victory for the Americans, the first real victory for the Americans during the Revolution, that flag became a part of our state flag. "

The American Revolutionary War in South Carolina  includes the roles of women, African-Americans and Native Americans in the war. In conjunction with the exhibit, a series of programs will be offered on June 14, 21 and 28. Click here for details.

The American Revolutionary War in South Carolina Discussion Series

In conjunction with the South Carolina State Museum's new temporary exhibit, The American Revolutionary War in South Carolina, the museum will host a series of discussions led by guest speakers. The discussions are included with museum general admission or membership. Visit to learn more about the exhibit and upcoming Revolutionary War events. The following discussions will take place at the State Museum:

  • The Spy Named Emily– Saturday, June 14 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  The State Museum will produce a family-friendly play, "The Spy Named Emily," where young museum guests will have the opportunity to star in the play and learn about Emily Geiger, a young patriot spy. Guests will also experience what life was like during the American Revolution by seeing replicas of objects from the time period. In addition, there will be a fun game of Jeopardy that will challenge guests with questions based on the exhibit.
  • "Fighting for Freedom" – Saturday, June 14 at 1 p.m.  Dr. Anthony J. Scotti Jr., a history instructor at Midlands Technical College will discuss the importance of the Revolution in South Carolina and highlight some key battles. Dr. Scotti has published many scholarly articles including Brutal Virtue: The Myth and Reality of Banastre Tarleton (2002).  
  • "Real People, Making Real Decisions, in Real Time" – Saturday, June 21 at 1 p.m.  John McCabe serves as the chairman of the South Carolina State Museum Foundation, the Partisan Society of The Congaree and the Francis Marion Memorial Committee. He also serves as the vice president of the Colonel Thomas Taylor Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. McCabe will focus his discussion on South Carolinian partisan, political and continental army leaders, including Francis Marion, William Danger Thompson, Henry Laurens and others who faced internal struggles pitting neighbor against neighbor.
  • "Trying to Keep the Southern Frontier Quiet, 1776- 1780" – Saturday, June 21 at 3 p.m.  Dr. Fritz Hamer, curator of published materials at the South Caroliniana Library, will explore how in 1776 the Cherokee nation thought they could push the white settlers off their lands with British assistance. This presentation will examine the fallout of the Cherokee war on native groups and the tenuous effort of George Galphin, American Commissioner for Southern Indian affairs, to keep them neutral.
  • "Women of the Revolutionary War" – Saturday, June 28 at 1 p.m.  JoAnn Zeise, curator of history at the State Museum, will put the lives of women in 18th century America in context by exploring their roles in society and the creation of republican motherhood. While looking at women from various racial and social backgrounds, Zeise will focus on several South Carolina women whose lives and actions made great contributions to the war effort and the creation of our new country.

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