Aiken County Celebrates 150 Years with New Exhibit

In celebration of Aiken County’s 150th anniversary, the Aiken County Historical Museum gave its County History exhibit a makeover. The exhibit presents museum visitors a window into the lives of people who lived and worked in our area from the days of Native Americans to the modern era of the Savannah River Site. The exhibit will reopen to the public on Thursday, May 13 with a special reception. SC Humanities helped support this project with a Major Grant.

Cut from existing portions of Barnwell, Edgefield, Lexington, and Orangeburg counties, Aiken County was created via a legislative act on March 10, 1871. Some of the unique artifacts featured in the renovated Aiken County History exhibit are a door lock that was unearthed at the Fort Moore archaeological dig, an 1877 teacher’s pay document signed by Prince Rivers and Samuel B. Spencer (two men who helped in the founding of Aiken County), the telephone switchboard that transmitted the concerns of Ellenton’s citizens after the announcement of the Savannah River Project in 1950, and a wedding dress worn by a Scottish immigrant who was married in Graniteville in 1883. These objects tell the stories of those who have come before us.

The public is invited to peruse the renovated exhibit on Thursday, May 13th from 6 pm to 8 pm. A curator’s tour of the exhibit will begin at 6:30 pm. The exhibit reception is free and open to the public. Face masks will be required.

In addition to funding from SC Humanities, this project received support from Aiken County through Accommodations Tax funds and the Friends of the Aiken County Historical Museum.

For more information, please call the Aiken County Historical Museum at (803) 642-2015 or email us at You can also visit the Museum’s website for the 150th Anniversary at to find the “Exploring Aiken County” videos and an upcoming events calendar.

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 21-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.

Image: Courtesy of the Aiken County Historical Museum; Collection of trade beads exchanged between Native American tribes and European traders, ca. mid-1700s. Discovered at the site of Fort Moore near modern day Beech Island, SC.