History & Culture
Click below to explore our instructors and the classes offered.
The Charleston Museum has been offering outreach programming to local students for over 100 years. With our large and varied collections we can offer exciting experiences for all ages covering a wide range of topics. From mummies to mammals to people that made history we work with you to develop programs that bring to life the classroom curriculum. Colonial and Revolutionary Charleston • Learn what life was like in Colonial Charleston. Read the accounts of people and families who moved to the New World and discover what their journey and new lives were like in a strange land. Create a tableau scene using costumes and props to tell the story of new colonists. Play a game that lets you become someone living in colonial Charleston and learn what life was like for a gentry girl, a young apprentice, and an enslaved boy. Understand the role of Charleston and South Carolina during the American Revolution. Enjoy a role playing activity where students dress the part of King, Parliament, Tax Collector, and Colonists to understand taxation. Option to add day about apprenticeships and learn what life was like for an apprentice. Read an indenture contract and learn about someone of the skills apprentices were taught. Create your own pottery piece and learn about an enslaved apprentice, Dave Drake, known as Dave the Potter (Make Your Mark Class—Gullah Traditions). Gullah Traditions • Contributions by African Americans have made a significant impact on the Lowcountry. Students will use artifacts, documents, and replicas to understand the African American experience from their lives in Western Africa, to the plantations of South Carolina, to life after the Civil War. Then choose from one of three possible activities – • The Rhythm of Rice – Many steps of rice production were done to a rhythm. Learn the steps of rice production using art work, a fanner basket, and a mortar and pestle. Handle African instruments and learn the history of work songs and call and response. • Make Your Mark - Objects tell stories, learn stories of the life of the enslaved by studying items they made from the Museum’s collection. Read the jars created by Dave the enslaved potter, feel the fingerprints left by enslaved brick masons, and create a piece of pottery as a way to leave your mark. • Document Detectives (recommended for older grades) – In South Carolina it was against the law for the enslaved to read and write. Most written documentation of the lives of slaves was not written by the enslaved, but by the enslavers. Analyze documents of slave sales, runaway slave ads, and more to uncover information about their lives. Technology, Engineering, and Perspectives of the Civil War • Learn about the realities of war by investigating technology, engineering, and perspectives of the Civil War. This 5 day class allows students to have a hands-on experience with history by discovering haversacks representing how different groups of people impacted and survived the war. These haversacks cover the perspectives of Union and Confederate soldiers, women on the home front and woman at war, and the experience of Black Union soldiers and the enslaved people in Charleston. Students will use their haversacks to create plays and tableaus, perform artifact analysis, and compare perspectives. Students will also explore the science of war by learning about medical technology and techniques used in the war. They will practice bandaging, handle a 3D model of a prosthetic arm, and explore a surgeon’s kit. In addition, they will learn about photography in the Civil War and how it captured the first real images of war. An additional day covers the construction of forts in the Lowcountry and students will see images of different types of fortifications built in our area and will have a chance to build their own fort using sugar cubes. Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Natural Disasters of the Lowcountry • Experience natural disasters like never before! Students will learn the science and history of earthquakes and twisters in our area by exploring images, documents, and oral histories. Students will also have a chance to create their own earthquake proof-buildings by making structures from household materials and testing their strength on earthquake tables. They will learn why their buildings worked and why some did not. Students will also create twisters in a bottle to see how hurricanes and tornadoes form. They will also use their map reading skills by studying the Halsey Map which covers all the natural disasters, history, and governments of Charleston from 1670 to the 1940s. South Carolina Natural Resources • Learn about the natural resources of South Carolina through the exploration of artifacts! This 3 day class covers how Indigenous Peoples survived in the Lowcountry, how the European colonists used the resources to build wealth, and how rice, indigo, and cotton were grown using enslaved workers from Africa. This class include the Rhythm of Rice activity. Students will create pinch or coil pots using clay just as the Indigenous Peoples did. Students will also learn to card cotton and read a story about Eliza Lucas Pinckney and how she brought indigo to South Carolina. Day at the Dill • Immerse yourself into history, science, and the arts by creating your own combination of programs at the Dill Sanctuary. Choose either Marsh Walk or Hidden History and add two or three activity stations. Each station takes 20 – 30 minutes. Science and Art Stations • Pluff Mud Painting – What’s that smell? Pluff Mud is nature’s soup that feeds creatures of the salt marsh. Learn about its importance to life in the salt marsh as you create a painting using it. • Nature Art – Nature plays a vital role in our creative expression. Students will collect items from their nature walk and work in groups to create a sculpture based on the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy. • Creature Creations – All animals have creature features or adaptations that help them survive in their habitat. Students will create a new creature, one that does NOT already exist, that can survive in their assigned habitat. Each group will use magnetic creature feature drawings to assemble their new creation and explain its adaptations. • Gyotaku – Students will create a colorful fish print and learn basic fish anatomy using a hundred year old Japanese art form. Science Stations • Web of Life – Students will represent plants and animals living in a shared habitat. Using string the students will make connections to each other to visually simulate the web of life. • Eat Like a Bird – Can a pelican slurp up nectar? No – all bird beaks are designed for a specific type of food. Students will investigate bird beaks and their diet by using every day tools and trying to atch their food. • Walk like a Coyote – Hiding, seeking, sneaking, stalking – learn to walk like different animals and learn how animals acquire their food. Social Studies Stations • What is It? – Artifacts help tell us about people that lived here before us. Analyze various artifacts to try to piece together the past.
Minerva T. King
A Charleston native, I was educated in the public schools here and received the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Lincoln University in Missouri.I received the Master's Degree in Library Science from Case western Reserve University in Ohio. I use storytelling to educate as well as entertain and have been on the SC Arts Commission's Arts in education Roster since 1992, telling African, African-American, Jewish, Native American and West Indian stories. American Civil Rights Movement: Emphasis is on instructor's participation in the Civil Rights Movement in Charleston. African Stories: Emphasis on African folktales- with some student participation. Pourquoi Stories-Lesson in creative writing and critical thinking.
Music & Storytelling
For over twenty years, Ann has made her living as a vocalist and performing artist singing Jazz, R & B, Pop, Gospel and Spirituals. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the classroom as she engages students in music making. Ann's unique programs introduce students to historical songs in a fun and meaningful way, integrating history with music. African American history lessons for young people.
WO'SE African Dance & Drum
Andres Liviola, a resident of Charleston, SC for over 14 years, is a seasoned musician and educator who specializes in traditional African drumming as a lead member of WOSE drum and dance company under the direction of Queen Atterberry. He educates people of all ages through group movement and polyrhythm, embracing creative expression and connectedness. Andres strives to engage the creative minds of young people to enrich their lives with a sense of purpose and community.
Dancing with Ms. Nina
Ms Nina is a Gullah Geechie native born in Charleston, SC who specializes in performing arts of West African Dance, songs, Gullah storytelling, African drumming, impactful monologues, fashion, song writing, hip-hop & African & Gullah history & culture. She is a fashion business & management graduate of the Art institute of Charleston who loves to share her art forms w/kids of the lowcountry & surrounding areas. *Solar Dance w/Ms Nina: Students will learn about our solar system and all of its entities such as: our planets, our different moons, our Sun, asteroids, meteoroids & comets w/Ms Nina's "Did You Know Fun Facts" exercise demonstrated & taught w/ cohesive modern & classic hip-hop dance moves & rhythm. Students will also learn a song listing our planets in order closest to the Sun. Our little scholars will then partner into groups of at least 3 and team build and create their own dance routine using some of the moves they learned w/our "Did you know Fun Facts" exercise and some that they create themselves. Lastly, after presenting their cool new moves we will put all of their routines together and create a complete dance reflecting our solar system and all of it's great entities- Solar Dance w/Ms Nina *Dancing in dynasties & empires w/Ms Nina: Students will learn about different dynasties and empires (which ones in particular are determine by grade level & curriculum standards) for example: Middle School: students will learn about the empires and dynasties of West Africa such as the Ghana, Mali & Songhai empires w/Ms Nina's "Did You Know Fun Facts" exercise demonstrated and taught w/ traditional and modern African, jazz, contemporary & hip-hop dance moves. Students will also learn 2 traditional West African chants that date back to the early 400 BC. Students will then be paired into groups and will be able to partner up, communicate with each other, team build and create a dance routine that reflects what they learned about the 3 dynasties of West Africa. Next, students will present their cool new dance routines. Finally, students will learn a fun upbeat afrobeat dance routine collectively as a class reflecting the 3 dynasties of West Africa: the Ghana, Mali, and Songhai empires. *A taste of Gullah w/Ms Nina: Students will learn different aspects of the Gullah culture of Charleston, SC such as: it's history, customs, traditions, cuisines, fashion, language & a few influential leaders w/ Ms Nina's "Did You Know Fun Facts" excercise demonstrated and taught w/jazz, contemporary, African and lyrical dance moves. Students will also learn 2 Old spiritual songs that reflects the struggles of Africans brought to America during the early 1600s until the mid 1800s, communication to freedom from the plantations and the rise & perseverance of Gullah culture. Next, students will learn a traditional West African dance that reflects customs and traditions of Gullah Geechee people. Then students will be paired into groups of at least 3 to create their own dance routine representing Gullah traditions. After presenting what they created, students will then collaborate the traditional African dance they learned with their cool moves they created A Taste of Gullah production!
The Gibbes Museum
Art & the Creative Process
The Gibbes Museum enhances lives through art by engaging people of every background and experience with art and artists of enduring quality, by collecting and preserving art that touches Charleston, and by providing opportunities to learn, to discover, to enjoy, and to be inspired by the creative process. The Time Machine: Using costumes and props, students interact with each other and collaborate to create music and videos reflecting another time. Previous projects have traveled to and visited the Mayflower Compact (1620), Charleston Towne and the Lords Proprietors (1670), the Italian Renaissance (15th century), and the Civil Rights movement in Charleston from the Cigar Factory Strike (1949) to the Charleston Sit-In (1963). Writing Workshops: Students are inspired by art to write poetry and narratives. Some sample workshop projects include: Reflections: A 2-session writing workshop Tall Tales: based on Zora Neale Hurston’s Lies and Big Tales Pick-a-Path: A 1-2 session workshop. Which path will you take? Mosaic Mania: Each student will create a paper mosaic picture in a 10x10 square grid with their choice of colors to create a symbol, picture or design. Upon completion of their individual mosaics students will share mathematical information about their design before gathering as a class to assemble a giant mosaic. We are also happy to customize or tailor any of our existing programs to meet your needs.