For the past 40 years, people have visited the South Boston-Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History in South Boston and come away with a new sense of discovery, a surge of joy and happiness, and a refreshing connection to life. where they live, its people and its past.
It’s this emotional response felt at the local museum that keeps people coming back, and it’s all thanks to the vision of the museum’s early founders like W. Lowell Strickland and the ladies of the Tuesday Woman’s Club who persisted and ultimately made that vision a reality. . July 11, 1982.
From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, the museum will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a reception open to the public around a moment of memory sharing intended to arouse the same joy and wonder.
Attendees will have the opportunity to visit the cultural, natural and artistic exhibits, including many of his most recent exhibits – The Crossing of The Dan, South Boston in the 1800s and The World of Charlotte’s Web.
Also at the museum, visitors will find many other exhibits that honor and educate about our region, including exhibits highlighting the county’s medical, military, and tobacco history as well as its Native American culture and the Abbyville Collection of salvaged artifacts. at a 17th century site in northeast Halifax County.
It will be a time of celebration where the community will have the opportunity to come together to learn more about the region they call home and better understand the vision and passion of the museum that has served to excite and teach visitors while continuing to hold on for four decades.
The public is invited to attend this special afternoon celebration on Sunday, July 17 to reminisce, rekindle old friendships and make new ones while enjoying delicious refreshments served by museum volunteers.
Here is where the visible and lasting memories of the area’s past are preserved forever, a place where the citizens of South Boston and Halifax County of today and tomorrow can go to see firsthand hand something of their heritage.
With the centerpiece of the Crossing of the Dan exhibit surrounded by many other significant artifacts and exhibits such as the Harrell Buggy, the museum has an interesting and growing collection, with many, many more promised over time.
The 40-year history of the museum in brief
On August 16, 1980, the Tuesday Woman’s Club of South Boston received a letter from concerned citizen W. Lowell Strickland, retired owner of the Electric Service Company, Inc., asking the club to consider a civic improvement the establishment of a museum in which to preserve and display artifacts and items of historical city and county value, loaned or donated from any source.
Strickland said, “The ideal time to do so is during the planning year for the centennial celebration of the present city of South Boston, founded by Captain E. B. Jeffress and incorporated February 26, 1884.”
The Tuesday Woman’s Club accepted the challenge and created the nonprofit, naming it the South Boston Historical Museum. Strickland was named chairman. Officers and committees have been appointed, as well as the board of directors, which makes the main political decisions.
Fast forward 22 months, thanks to the combined efforts, support and expertise of Tuesday Woman’s Club Committee Chair Louise Gilliam and club members, the Rotary Club, City Council, City Manager Aubrey Houghton, volunteers, community leaders and interested citizens, the project became a reality with the official groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday, July 11, 1982. And the South Boston Historical Museum became a first for Halifax County.
The museum was originally located at 514 Yancey St. in South Boston in a former garage that had been an automotive paint shop. With financial support from the City of South Boston and the efforts of many volunteers, the building was renovated to provide an attractive home for artifacts and collections that were donated or loaned for display and preservation.
The museum remained in this location until GJ Hunt’s former residence was made available four years later. Through the generosity of the City of South Boston and Main Street United Methodist Church, the museum moved to the Hunt House on North Main Street in South Boston. Once again, countless hours of work by loyal volunteers have made possible the renovation of the former Hunt residence into the South Boston Historical Museum. It was officially inaugurated on June 1, 1986.
Over the next decade, museum furnishings and various collections outgrew the facility, and in March 1996 the board purchased the Wilborn Avenue property, which formerly served as the South Boston Manufacturing Company and earlier as A & P, to become the permanent headquarters. houses the South Boston–Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History.
The local museum has come a long way over the past four decades in translating one man’s great idea into a very worthwhile event. And we can’t say enough on behalf of the ladies of the Tuesday Woman’s Club who so successfully created the museum 40 years ago.
The museum’s motto continues to be “Going into the Future by Appreciating the Past”, and it seeks to better serve this community through its regularly changing special exhibits.
The museum is supported by membership fees, contributions, the gift shop, fundraisers, and financial donations from the City of South Boston and Halifax County. Pam Smith is director of the museum and is assisted by staff and volunteers who contribute to the work of the museum.
The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is free.