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Podcast: Our State, Our Stories

Join the museum as we explore stories that uncover South Carolina's rich past through in-depth looks at the museum's collection, behind-the-scenes peeks, and more.

New series explores museum history and more!

The South Carolina State Museum is excited to release its first-ever podcast series: Our State, Our Stories. This season we explore how the historic Columbia Mills Building became the State Museum, learn the true story behind "Bubba the Ghost," dive into the creation of Finn the Megalodon, and learn about how the museum is reaching out to communities across the state.

Follow and subscribe to Our State, Our Stories today and listen to an exclusive trailer for Season 1!

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SC2004.19.7br of Yellow and Red Handled Flat-edge Carving Tool


Headphones hang on a microphone stand with a purple and blue wall in the background

Episode 1: From Mill to Museum

(Published: Oct. 10, 2023)

How did the first fully electric textile mill in the world become the largest multi-disciplinary museum in South Carolina? Find out in our debut episode as you hear stories from members of the museum's original staff and more.

Episode Guests: Overton “Tony” Ganong, Former State Museum Executive Director | Rodger Stroup, Former State Museum Director of Collections | Michael Fye, Former State Museum Director of Exhibitions | JoAnn Zeise, State Museum Curator of Cultural History

Black and white images shows 4 adults (1 man and 3 women) cutting through a large ribbon with an oversize pair of scissors.


Episode 1 Bonus Content

Mini-Episode: Spinning a (Ghost) Story

(Published Oct. 17, 2023)

For more than 30 years museum staff and guests have been telling tales about an overall wearing, headless museum ghost named "Bubba". This episode explores where this legend may have originated from and offers a fascinating look at how a tragic event in the mill's past became a modern-day ghost story.

Episode Guests: Overton “Tony” Ganong, Former State Museum Executive Director | JoAnn Zeise, State Museum Curator of Cultural History | Tonia Johnson Alston, State Museum Chief of Public Safety

Black and white image of Columbia Mills interior showing loom machinery

Mini Episode Bonus Content

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Episode 2: One Million Objects, One Million Stories

(Published Oct. 24, 2023)

Go behind-the-scenes with museum collections staff and learn more about the object, artifacts, artwork, fossils and specimens in the care of the State Museum. 

Episode Guests: Paul Matheny, Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs | Robyn Adams, Registrar | Ramon Jackson, Curator of African American History and Culture | JoAnn Zeise, Curator of Cultural History | Dave Cicimurri, Curator of Natural History | Allison Moore, Curator of Art

SC2006.43.1- Cropped Image of Untitled [Canges-sur-Mer]

Episode 2 Bonus Content

(Robyn Adams. Registrar South Carolina State Museum) “Objects hold a special place in our lives.”

(Paul Matheny. Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs, South Carolina State Museum) “They preserve our past and have the power to inspire and bring stories to light.”

(Robyn) “From billions year old meteorites,”

(Paul) “stunning pieces created by South Carolina artists and craftspeople,”

(Robyn) “and one-of-a-kind pieces of cultural history.”

(Paul) “Each object of the museum contains the tangible history of South Carolina- offering a connection to our past, present and future.”

(Robyn) “And what you see only scratches the surface.”

(Paul) “My name is Paul, and I'm the Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs here at the South Carolina State Museum.

(Robyn) “My name is Robyn and I'm the State Museum's registrar. My job is to coordinate the care of the collection. With limited space in the museum's galleries with over 1.1 million objects, specimens, artifacts and fossils within our care, most of the State Museum's collection remains in storage.”

(Paul) “Fine art, folk art, contemporary art- all created by South Carolina artists and craftspeople, and dating back as far as the 1500s.”

(Robyn) “Culturally significant pieces throughout South Carolina's history. And drawers upon drawers of ancient shark teeth, fossils and modern day specimens.”

(Paul) “These invaluable objects are stored, preserved, cataloged and cared for. Ensuring artifacts like this face vessel, created by an enslaved craftsperson from the Edgefield area, can bring the compelling, diverse stories of South Carolina to life for many years down the road.”

(Robyn) “Recently, the State Museum has been awarded a series of grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and received funding from the South Carolina State Legislature to assist in digitizing our collection.”

(Paul) “This not only improves our quality of care for the collection, but also increases access for researchers, educators and the public.”

(Robyn) “Each object is carefully handled, photographed, measured, and all details noted about its condition, background, maker, and whether it's on loan, a purchase, or a donation. Then it is carefully placed in storage or in the museum galleries for you to see.”

(Paul) “Thanks to these efforts, portions of our collection are now accessible online for you to explore!”


Search the Collection Online

Mini-Episode: A Shark Tale

(Published Oct. 31, 2023)

The museum's iconic 43 ft long Megalodon replica, "Finn", has been "hanging out" on the second floor for 35 years. But where did he come from? Find out how a local artist crafted this memorable museum piece from tip to tail.

Episode Guests: Michael Fye, Former Director of Exhibitions, South Carolina State Museum | Scott Jones, President, American Floral

Giant Megalodon replica sits on the back on a National Guard flatbed truck in a parking area

Episode 3: Reimagine the Experience

Published Nov. 7, 2023

For 35 years the museum has been welcoming guests and students from all over the state - and the world. How is the museum planning for the next 35 years? Find out with this in-depth interview with the museum's Executive Director, Amy Bartow-Melia.

Colorful drawing depicts guest around a projection table showing a map of revolutionary war battles

A Life Etched in Clay: The Story of Dave

(Published Nov. 14, 2023)

Through the better part of the 19th century in the Old Edgefield district of South Carolina, enslaved African American potter David Drake, also known as “Dave the Potter,” created countless ceramic jugs. In this episode museum staff take you behind-the-scenes in collections storage to examine his work and explore the history of this important South Carolina artist.

Episode Guests: Paul Matheny, Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs, South Carolina State Museum | Dr. Ramon Jackson, Curator of African American History and Culture, South Carolina State Museum

Dave Drake voiced by Darion McCloud, award-winning actor and Creative Director, NiA Theatre Company


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Episode 4: Building a Museum for All

Coming Nov. 21

The museum is on a mission to hear from communities around the state as we plan for the Reimagine the Experience project. Find out how we have been working to expand our Accessibility related resources, from renovated bathrooms to special events and more.

Episode Guests: Tony Ganong, Former Executive Director, South Carolina State Museum | Laura Ybarra-Kane, Manager of Education and Interpretation, South Carolina State Museum | Stephanie Turner, Autism Division Director, South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs

A young boy and girl look up in awe at something out of frame