On our way home from our little jaunt in Murrells Inlet I wanted to swing into the Historic Georgetown Waterfront. I was secretly hoping to find a shop or two open that we could meander around. It was Sunday, the place was dead, I mean d.e.a.d. except for one little store that I thought was an antique shop.
Jeremy hates shopping but agreed that we could stop in. After walking around for a few minutes it became obvious that the place was more about local art than antiques. After perusing the store I looked up and noticed that the ceiling had a glass cut out and you could see into the upper levels of the old building.
I asked the shop owner about this and he looked at me weird, and then quickly told me that we were in the Rice Museum. He said that only the shop level was open on Sundays. After I told him that we were just passing through he said if we were willing to walk through without a guide he would give us a discount. I quickly agreed and Jeremy looked at me from across the room like I was crazy.
Normally when you tour the Rice Museum the building with the shop and the building next door (the clock tour) is included. The museum worker walked us up to the third floor where we could see the “vessel” that was recovered from the canals of Georgetown. I was expecting a canoe or a barge, but it was actually a seriously sized boat. Who knew?
The boat called the Brown’s Ferry Vessel was discovered by an amateur scuba diver in 1975. The Brown’s Ferry Vessel is the oldest known colonial made vessel in the United States. It’s dated between 1730 and 1740. The recovered ship was taken to the University of South Carolina to be restored and conserved. When the restoration was complete they actually removed the roof of the Rice Museum and lowered the ship in by crane. Needless to say, I was not expecting that. I was expecting a few artifacts from local rice plantations.
There were quite a few artifacts that were recovered from around the ship which were in surprisingly great condition.
The second floor was pretty cool too. Mostly little pieces of history from Georgetown that have been encapsulated on the second floor of the museum. If you didn’t know this about me, I LOVE antiques. I love that they tell a story. The reach for the past and point towards our future. The second floor of the Rice Museum, while small, was so fun to meander around.
The building itself is also a piece of history. Built in 1842 the building housed Kaminski Hardware, where many of the artifacts on the second floor were from.
The old windows, brick, rickety wooden floors, and the beyond-gorgeous stairway are all preservations of the old south.
From the antique cash register, to a very antiquated elevator, to record books, to the old school bell, life in a simpler time is preserved for us ponder. While our lives have been blessed with many modern conveniences, sometimes I think it would be nice to go back when there were no computers, cell phones, and far fewer distractions. Maybe that’s why I like traveling so much–it forces me to unplug.
Anyhow, I was pleasantly surprised by the Rice Museum. Who knew that such a important discovery was up in the attic of an old building in Historic Georgetown. While I can’t tell you everything that the museum and tour has to offer because we didn’t get to experience it, if you’re ever in the area I would consider checking out this little museum.