In New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art resides in Central Park. In the Pee Dee region of South Carolina, the Florence Museum of Art, Science and History graces Timrod Park. Housed in a 5,000-square-foot, art-moderne structure, the Florence museum is a collection of objects from around the world – a collection that has been growing since the museum was founded in 1924. “We have an Asian collection with something from every Chinese dynasty, an incredible Pueblo pottery collection, and an African and oceanic collection,” says Andrew Stout, executive director. “We also have a Florence and South Carolina history hall and three rotating galleries that change every other month.” Children and adults can take classes at the museum in areas such as the American Civil War, pottery, watercolors, drawing, basket weaving and sculpting. In addition, the museum hosts a free educational family event the second Saturday of each month. “The museum celebrates the diverse cultures around the world,” Stout says.
“You can come into the museum and travel the world. We have great authentic objects that you’d be hard-pressed to find at other institutions.” The museum was borne from the Florence chapter of the National League for Women’s Service. During World War I, the league established and operated the Blue Bird Tea Room, a kitchen and dining room, which raised funds assist the American Red Cross during World War I. When the tea room closed at the end of the war, the remaining funds were set aside for a worthwhile project that became the museum. Today, the museum carries on its mission, featuring changing art exhibits, regional history, Asian, African, ancient Mediterranean and Southwest Pueblo cultures.