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COLUMBIA – In The State Museum’s newest exhibit, "South Carolina and Reconstruction, 1865-1876," guests will explore life for South Carolinians during Reconstruction, a time of fundamental social, economic and political change. The end of the Civil War in 1865 may have given nearly 4 million slaves their freedom, but as guests will experience, the process of creating that “new birth of freedom,” in South Carolina, introduced a new set of significant challenges.

Guests will walk through a timeline of impactful changes for South Carolinians during Reconstruction. First, they had to recover from the wounds of war and objects in the exhibit such as a wooden leg and mourning gown show the physical and social destruction that Sherman’s army inflicted. The exhibition also includes a caisson used by soldiers returning from Appomattox, V.A., an authentic carpetbag and farm tools used by workers in the aftermath of the war.

“This exhibit is rich with artifacts that will give guests a real take on the struggles of South Carolinians during this era,” said cultural history curator, JoAnn Zeise. “It charts African-Americans’ struggle to define their newly acquired citizenship on their terms against forces that would return the state to its prewar structure.”

South Carolina government significantly changed as the state’s first interracial legislature put forward a progressive new state constitution in 1868. Guests will get an up-close look at a desk and chair from the statehouse, used during Reconstruction as well as a copy of the state’s 1868 constitution, and school desks from the State’s first public schools.

South Carolina and Reconstruction examines a tumultuous time for South Carolinians, and explores the broad triumphs and groundwork laid future victories in civil and equal rights not only in South Carolina, but across the country.

Guests can experience "South Carolina and Reconstruction, 1865-1876," free with museum general admission or membership. General admission to the museum is $6.95 for children 12 and under, $7.95 for seniors and $8.95 for adults. For more information, visit scmuseum.org.

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