The Olympia-Granby Historical Foundation has been working since 2014 to plan and open the new Olympia-Granby Mill Village Museum, which will be located in the one-room Olympia Mill Village School in Columbia. The museum will open to the public on September 28, 2018. SC Humanities supported the creation of exhibits for the museum with a Major Grant.
The Olympia-Granby Mill Village Museum is dedicated to educating the public about the village’s first school, the conditions of life in the mill village for families, the influence of the mills on workers, and the importance of community. The Foundation has been collecting artifacts to display in the museum, including old photographs that depict how the mill communities used to look.
Olympia and Granby mills are located just outside of downtown Columbia on the Congaree River. They were both designed by innovative mill engineer W.B. Smith Whaley. When it opened in 1889, Olympia Mill was the largest Cotton Mill in the world under one roof. The neighborhoods around the two mills were largely populated by mill workers and their families. Dr. Sherry Jaco, a Foundation member, said: “These villages were seen as separate communities from the rest of Columbia. They were tight-knit, working class communities where everyone had to pitch-in to help the family make ends meet.” These communities have come together in a grassroots fundraising effort to raise money to purchase the one-room schoolhouse and support the creation of the museum.
More information about the Olympia-Granby Mill Village Museum can be found on their website at: Olympia-Granby Mill Village Museum.
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 20-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.