Florence County Museum

Florence County Museum

Location: 111 W Cheves St, Florence, SC 29501

In September 2008, the Florence County Museum Board was established. It was made of nine members, each from a different County District. Funding for the museum was granted in a three-to-one match by the State of South Carolina and then allocated by the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation and Florence County.

In 2009, architects Watson Tate Savory and Cooper Robertson Partners were hired to design the building. After five years of construction, the Museum opened its doors on October 12, 2014.

Some of the collections housed in the museum include reptile remains from the Cretaceous Period, period artifacts dating back to the Native American and Colonial periods, Civil War artifacts found from the Florence Stockade (which is also featured on this tour), and fragments of the MK-6 atomic bomb accidentally dropped on Mars Bluff in 1958. 

Another notable exhibit is a collection of works by William Johnson, a famous Black painter from Florence who is also discussed on this tour. Johnson’s work includes oil paintings such as Evening, which is oil painted on burlap, and Cagnes- sur-Mer, an oil painting on canvas. More of Johnsons’ work can also be found in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D. C. 

Next is the Wright Collection of Southern Art, formed by Ann and Louis Wright and later acquired by the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation. This collection includes roughly 140 works from the 20th Century. Some people included in the exhibit are Sherer Wright Royce, the daughter of Ann and Louis Wright, who is an associate professor at Coastal Carolina University. There are also pieces from Martha Severens, who used to be a curator at the Gibbs Museum of Art from 1976 until 1987. She moved to work at the Greenville County Museum for Art from 1992 until 2010, before retiring. Benjamen Zeigler, a local attorney whose family has a longstanding history in the Florence area, also has items in the collection. 

A museum tour is a great way to get an overview of the Florence area and learn some background information about many of the sites on this tour. Admission to the museum is free.

To learn more about the beautiful history of the Florence County Museum