UNION — Nearly 11,000 people “liked” the Union County Museum in February in response to an online virtual exhibit of postcards dating back to the 19th century.
In early February, the museum posted 30 postcards, some of them dating from 1880s, on Facebook. The postcards, some of which are color and some of which are black and white, depict historic landmarks, scenes from everyday life over the past 130 years and even the 1901 flood of the Pacolet River. The exhibit also includes old photos of Union.
The businesses, churches, and other institutions as well as events depicted include the old Union High School on Main Street, the 1910 M.E. Tinsley’s Jewelers Parade display, the old Union County Courthouse which was demolished before World War I, Finchers Bar-B-Q Restaurant on Pinckney Street, Monarch Mill, and a scene of Main Street Union which includes the McClellans’s 5 & 10, Glamor Shop, and Graham Cash Co. stores.
Persons who are not Facebook members but are interested in viewing the exhibit can go through the museum’s website (unioncountymuseum.com) which provides a link, but those who are Facebook members can view the exhibit through the Union County Historical Society’s page. The postcards can not only be viewed, but can also be shared online by the viewers who can also post reminiscences and comments and vote for their favorites.
Museum Director Ola Jean Kelly said Thursday that the response to the exhibit had been overwhelming. Kelly said the exhibit was posted on Facebook as another means of reaching the public. She said that as of the end of February 10,986 people had “liked” the Union County Historical Society’s page and most of the likes were in response to the exhibit.
Kelly added that the exhibit is not the museum’s only online attraction. She said its gift shop is also online with frequent purchases being made from all over America and even overseas. One of the overseas purchases was of a copy of the Union County Heritage book which was sent to the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea earlier this year.
Not all the visits to the museum in February were online, however, as 166 visitors signed its guest book. In addition to local residents who visited the museum, Kelly said there were visitors from the South Carolina communities of Spartanburg, Whitmire, Pacolet, Gilbert, and Laurens. She said there were also visitors from Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee.
In addition to signing the guest book, visitors are also encouraged write comments about their experience at the museum. None of those who’ve done so have ever had anything bad to say about the museum, and February was no different.
Union — Very nice and informative
Pacolet — Very informative
Tennessee — Very, very nice
Florida — Wonderful
One of the museum’s most popular draws it is genealogical library. Kelly said the museum receives a continuous stream of requests, both in person, over the phone, and online for genealogical information, not only from Union County residents, but also from residents of other South Carolina communities, people from other parts of the United States, and from overseas. She said Thursday that she assisted a man from out of town who was seeking information and she was able to locate an obituary for one of his relatives in the 1920s and found several of his relatives listed in the City Directory for 1936.
While the museum itself is on the first floor on Main Street, it has a meeting room in its basement that is used every month by a variety of groups. Kelly said the groups that used it in February included the DAR, Youth Leadership Union, Leadership Union, the Union Music Club and the Uniquely Union Festival Committee.
Kelly also announced that Dr. Roger Stroupe, peer reviewer for the Museum Assessment Project, spent two days in Union. She said he spent Tuesday, February 26 touring the museum, meeting with the staff, and then with the Historical Society’s Board of Directors. On Wednesday, February 27, Kelly said Stroupe visited the Cross Keys Plantation in the morning and then spent the afternoon conducting the exit interview at the museum.
“Dr. Stroupe was very complimentary and informed us that we could expect his response by letter sometime in March,” Kelly said.
The Museum Assessment Project is part of the Museum Accreditation Program which is administered by the American Association of Museums, the only organization that accredits museums. Only 4.5 percent of America’s museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Charleston Museum in South Carolina, have successfully completed the accreditation program.
For more information about the Union County Museum call 429-5081.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.