The Hartsville Museum is proud to announce that they have been awarded a major grant from the South Carolina Humanities for the H.H. Butler—Grand United Order of Odd Fellows Digitization Project. The funds from SC Humanities will help the Hartsville Museum take a piece of Hartsville history and bring it to life with easily searchable data for research and genealogical connections. This grant was specifically awarded to the Hartsville Museum for their efforts to digitize the thousands of papers on loan from the Grand United Order of the Odd Fellows. These documents include pertinent historical and genealogical information specifically relating to African Americans in Hartsville, but also across the entire state of South Carolina.
The loan of these documents to the Museum was facilitated by Shawn Cannon, District Grand Master for the South Carolina Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, as he sought to preserve these documents. Cannon commented on the SC Humanities Grant, “This award of the funds from SC Humanities is a pivotal point for the Odd Fellows Organization as we work with the Hartsville Museum to help bring to light the history contained in these documents that will help so many families trace knowledge of their families that otherwise would not be available or easy to access.”
This project includes the digitization of these documents as well as community outreach and educational components. The award of this grant comes as the Hartsville Museum has placed an emphasis on expanding the African American Heritage exhibit inside of the Museum and making all of Hartsville feel welcome. Hartsville Museum Manager, Andrea Steen welcomes the challenge of preparing these documents and says, “The Hartsville Museum team met with leaders in the community to work on ways to welcome and include all of Hartsville not only inside of the Museum, but also with outreach opportunities in the community. We were delighted to learn of these Odd Fellows documents that have been in Hartsville for over 100 years. Our team is thankful to Mr. Cannon and to the SC Humanities for trusting the Hartsville Museum to preserve these documents and make them widely available for people that may not have otherwise had the opportunity to access such information about their own heritage.”
This project is no small task, but it is one that the Hartsville Museum is ready to tackle with the help and support of the community. The Museum hopes that this project will spark excitement and encourage community members to take a look through their homes for any memorabilia that could help the Museum increase representation throughout the Museum. The Museum also plans to host collection events with a storytelling component in the community once COVID restrictions relax a bit more.
John Nichols with the Hartsville Museum Foundation says, “The Hartsville Museum Foundation is very excited to be a participant in this project as it will significantly add to the relevance of the Hartsville Museum in the community today and in the future by bringing to life yet another facet of Mr. H.H. Butler’s life and career. The team at the Hartsville Museum and other community partners have all passionately pursued the acquisition of these artifacts, funding for the project, and creation of the accompanying exhibit. The Hartsville Museum Foundation looks forward to our community benefiting from their efforts and being able to learn more about our heritage.”
This project is sponsored by SC Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment of the Humanities; Inspiring, engaging and enriching South Carolinians with programs on literature, history, culture and heritage. Visit the Web site at www.schumanities.org. For more information on the Odd Fellows project, contact the Hartsville Museum at 843.383.3005. The Hartsville Museum is located at 222 North Fifth Street and is open Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.