Though we have extensively explored Greenville in our time here, there was one museum we had not yet visited – The Upcountry History Museum. With my mother in town visiting, the perfect opportunity presented itself upon learning the museum currently has an exhibit featuring the art of Jan Brett, of which my mother is a big fan.
|From the book "Gingerbread Baby"|
If you have any children or were a child yourself, then you might recognize some of Jan Brett’s books. The favorite in this house is “The Mitten,” a story about a young boy who loses one of the white mittens his grandmother knit for him, only for it to become home to a whole bunch of animals. Luckily the boy finds the mitten on his way home, and his grandmother is left wondering how it was stretched to such enormous proportions. Many of the stories begin with a folk tale and feature rich details about cultures around the world, but each and every book is filled with detailed, colorful illustrations that just astound in their beauty. It was a treat seeing the illustrations up close, from so many of her books that I have not yet read with the boys. For those of you in the Upstate, Jan Brett will be doing a personal program and book signing at the museum on April 2nd at 6pm, and the exhibit “The World of Jan Brett” runs through May 4th. For details, please visit the museums website.
|From the book "The Umbrella"|
Another temporary exhibit is “Protests, Prayers and Progress: Greenville’s Civil Rights Movement.” Leading visitors on a visual tour of the schools, churches and lunch counters, the exhibit documents the local civil rights movement during the 1960s. The exhibit runs through June 15th of this year.
The two floors of the museum documents the history of the Upcountry from the days of its early inhabitants, through the days of the frontier and the first days of Greenville, all the way to the Civil War, days of textile growth and WWII. Through interactive exhibits, videos, artifacts and maps the history of the area is brought to life, providing an educational experience to children and adults alike. I was impressed with all the activities geared towards younger kids, such as the boxes filled with hands-on activities in each exhibit, or the special kids corners in the temporary exhibits (a room with comfy seating and Jan Brett’s books allowed for a moment of peace to look at the art display upstairs, and a classroom complete with toys and seats gave the boys a pause in the Civil Rights exhibit).
The museum is a rather new addition to the Heritage Green. In 1983 a new organization was formed, the Historic Greenville Foundation, whose vision and hard work resulted in completion of construction of the museum in 2002 and five years later a grand opening to the public. Incorporating elements of the area’s history even in its construction (a clock tower similar to that of Greenville’s Old City Hall, a brick façade and barrel-vaulted roof like that of Textile Hall and featuring original cobblestones preserved from downtown Greenville), the museum is an educational tool in constant motion, with new exhibits rotating through every year.
Heritage Green is also home to the main branch of the Greenville public library system and the Children’s Museum of the Upstate. Free parking for museum patrons is located on Atwood Street. Admission is $5/adult, $4/seniors and $3/children 4-18, and hours are 10:00am to 5:00pm Tuesdays through Saturdays 1:00pm to 5:00pm Sundays.
|There's even a room dedicated to Pepsi and its history in the Upstate|
For more on Jan Brett, please visit her amazing website, http://www.janbrett.com/index.html. With over 5,000 free coloring, video and activity pages, the site provides hours of rainy-day activities in addition to contests, games and information about her books and appearances.