ELLOREE -- If you want to learn about midwifery, how cotton is grown and processed, or what elixirs were whipped up in pharmacies of the past, visit the Elloree Heritage Museum and Cultural Center for charmingly interactive displays about those and other aspects rural history.
The museum and cultural center located at 2714 Cleveland St. got its start in 2002 from an effort to revitalize the town and draw more visitors to it.
Administrative Manager Kay Shirer said an average of 3,000 to 4,000 people from as far away as Arizona come through the facility each year. Once they leave the gift shop filled with cotton boll wreaths, John Deere toys, regional books, home decor, collectibles and more, they are greeted by the town's founder, William J. Snider.
"When I look up and down Cleveland Street, I still see a place I want to share with all my friends. And I hope you, my new friends, enjoy your visit today," he says.
Snider's booth is the first stop along an audio tour, which can include docents dressed in period clothing similar to that worn by farmers 100 years ago.
As visitors stroll through Elloree's Cleveland Street as it appeared in 1900, they can discover a barbershop, pharmacy, blacksmith shop, bank, hotel and hardware, dry good and drug stores.
Old timey post office boxes requiring combinations to open them are among the many relics displayed in the museum and cultural center.
The original 18th-century Snider cabin and replica farm yard are also included on the tour, along with a cotton exhibit, which shows how cotton is grown and processed and includes the Connor Cotton Gin, which is more than 100 years old and was rescued by volunteers from an old cotton house and restored.
The museum also celebrates the town's railroad and logging history and includes an exhibit on birthing and medical care from years past, as well as quilts which have been displayed in the museum from its opening.
Upstairs is where visitors can get a birds-eye view of Indian artifacts, an exhibit celebrating the life and times of prize-winning jockey and Elloree native Chris Antley and a gallery which can include everything from wildlife art to period dress items from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.
"It's Elloree history. It's overwhelming to think about volunteers doing something like this. It's true effort and heart. ... So many people donated so much," Shirer said.
Oyster roasts and teas are among the events that are held in the facility to bring the community together in the spirit of fellowship and fun.
The museum and cultural center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, but group tours for all ages are also welcome to come visit the museum for a glimpse inside the state's rural past.