Hilton Head Gullah Museum to receive $7,000 grant

bheffernan@islandpacket.comMarch 27, 2013 

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Exterior work was recently finished on "The Little House" shown here Friday afternoon on Gum Tree Road. The house is part of the planned Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island.

SARAH WELLIVER — Sarah Welliver

  • Those interested in donating to the Hilton Head Gullah Museum should contact executive director Louise Miller Cohen at 843-681-3254 or hhistoryteller@aol.com.

With a Friday deadline approaching, the Hilton Head Gullah Museum says it has raised the $7,000 it needs to secure all of a matching grant from the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.

The money will be used for signs at a restored historical Gullah home on Gumtree Road called "The Little House," which serves as the museum. It will also be used to 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.

The foundation had to deliver a bank statement Tuesday to demonstrate it had raised the money, satisfying the grant terms, according to museum chairwoman Ruth E. Germany.

The foundation is validating the fundraising amount, according 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 grant will help create a video documentary of oral histories by elders of the island community, according to Carrie Hirsch, a founding member of the museum's executive board.

The grant also will be used to produce the first three chapters of a book of drawings, paintings and photographs depicting the people, buildings and ways of life of Hilton Head's original Gullah communities, Hirsch said.

Completing the first three chapters might also be enough to attract a publisher, Hirsch said. She also said museum organizers have talked with academic publishing houses about publishing the book, but said those publishers have asked not to be identified.

The Gullah Museum was one of many organizations that requested grants from the foundation last year, Torgersen said. She would not comment on how many applied, but did say the foundation awarded a total of $100,000 to six organizations in 2012.

"The Board of the Community Foundation understands the critical importance of preserving our community's rich heritage and therefore felt the application deserved funding," Torgersen said in an emailed statement.

The museum received a Preservation Honor Award in November from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for its restoration of "The Little House." It was one of 22 projects in the country to receive the award last year.

Related content

  1. Historic Gullah home to be commemorated on Hilton Head, March 26, 2012
  2. 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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