The Laurens County Museum is a non-profit organization that actively investigates and communicates information regarding our important prehistoric and historic resources. We excel in presenting authentic views and experiences to diverse audiences in our county, state, nations, and world through research, preservation, and education.
The Laurens County Museum Association (LCMA) was organized in 2005 by people representing different parts of Laurens County. Led by James Gambrell, this small group met at the Laurens County Library in July of that year to discuss the possibility of establishing a museum to preserve items of importance to Laurens County history. Within one year, this group purchased the building located at 205 West Laurens Street, secured grant funding, renovated the building, and opened the Laurens County Museum.
In 2012, John D. Witherspoon donated beautiful, and quite large, bedroom furniture. It became immediately apparent that the pieces did not fit in the space the museum currently owned (link to picture of old building with bedroom). Mr. Witherspoon had a solution! He purchased our new building located directly across from the County Courthouse and donated it to the LCMA. He mentioned that he would like to see his family furniture displayed on Main Street in Laurens and now there would be an opportunity to do so. Although this building was large and prominently located, the museum association was taking on a huge renovation project. The museum located on West Laurens Street has remained open during this complex and expensive renovation project. In 2016, the Dominick Building (located adjacent to the Witherspoon Building) became available. The LCMA saw the opportunity to generate some rental income and purchased this building as well. The first floor currently houses Designs by D & Vendor Mall and the second and third floors are currently serving as museum workspace and an archaeology lab.
It has long been the philosophy of the LCMA not to take out loans or acquire debt. Because of this, the work at the Witherspoon Building has taken a long time to complete. Major renovations were necessary to make the building usable. Essentially, the museum had to be completely gutted when the LCMA acquired it (link to photo) and work was done when money was available. The LCMA is deeply indebted to the late Tony Harper. Sadly, Tony passed away in 2019, but before he died, he bequeathed $1,000,000.00 to the LCMA. This money was to be used to complete the work on the Witherspoon Building, redesign exhibits and move them to the new location. The work necessary at the Witherspoon Building has included the installation of an elevator, a sprinkler system, electrical work, HVAC installation, framing, drywall, painting, and flooring. This work has been completed and we held our grand opening on January 2, 2022.
SERVICES & OFFERINGS
MUSEUM BOARD AND STAFF
Meet your Staff, Board of Directors and financial supporters that help to make it all happen...
LAURA CLIFFORD COOK
Museum Executive Director
Laura has worked as an archaeologist, educator, and preservationist for 30 years.
She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, a master’s degree in public archaeology (anthropology), a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, and a certificate of museum management.
Laura has also completed all coursework toward a Ph.D. in historical archaeology from the University of South Carolina.
Born and raised in Laurens County, Chris's family has lived here for generations.
He is a graduate of Laurens High School, attended Lander University with a degree in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on visual arts and education.
Chris is a multi-media artist
working with screen, natural wood and built environments.
Chris strives to bring authentic experiences to museum visitors.
The Laurens County Museum would not be possible without the help of our many financial supporters. Below is a list of those supporters. Join us in saying thank you for all of their support and contributions.