Hilton Head Gullah Museum to receive $7,000 grant

bheffernan@islandpacket.comMarch 27, 2013 

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"The Little House" on Gumtree Road on Hilton Head Island is shown here in April 2011 after exterior work on the home was completed. The house is part of the planned Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island.


The Hilton Head Gullah Museum is expected to receive full funding from a $7,000 matching grant from the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.

With a Friday deadline approaching, the museum was able to raise $7,000 to match the foundation's contribution and deliver a bank statement Tuesday showing the foundation it had the money, according to museum chair Ruth E. Germany.

The foundation is in the process of validating the fundraising amount, said Carolyn Torgersen, foundation vice president for marketing and communications.

Had the museum fallen short of the $7,000 goal, it would have received only half of the grant.

The museum plans to use the money for signs at a restored historical Gullah home off Gumtree Road and create two documentaries about life in the Gullah community on Hilton Head between the Civil War and 1956 when the James F. Byrnes Bridge connected the island to the mainland.

One would be a series of one-on-one video interviews with elders from the island community, in which they would recount oral histories of family structure and everyday life in the bartering and farming Gullah community, according to Carrie Hirsch, a founding executive board member of the museum.

The grant would also be used to produce the first three chapters of a book of drawings, paintings and photographs depicting the people, structures and ways of life of Hilton Head's original Gullah communities, Hirsch said. The money will help the museum pay for usage fees charged by historical archives to use the images for the book.

Completing the first three chapters might be enough to attract a publisher, Hirsch said. She also said museum organizers have talked with academic publishing houses about publishing the book, but she declined to name them at the publishers' requests.

Follow reporter Brian Heffernan at twitter.com/IPBG_Brian

Related content:

Historic Gullah home to be commemorated on Hilton Head, March 26, 2012

Gullah Museum's Preservation of Duey's "Little House," in Hilton Head Island, S.C., to Receive Preservation Honor Award, Oct. 24, 2012

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