Museum Association President Carolyn Shortt said a primary purpose of the gathering will be to showcase the Witherspoon Building, the new and expanded site for the Laurens County Museum. The facility is named in honor of the late Don Witherspoon, a resident of Texas who contributed several hundred thousand dollars to purchase and rehabilitate the building for a larger and more central location for the County Museum. Witherspoon formerly lived in Laurens County and his family was prominent in the agricultural and civic life of the county.
The drop-in will also allow the Museum Association to thank those association members and volunteers who are crucial to the development of a functioning and growing museum for Laurens County. The public will have the opportunity to meet and converse with new and returning members of the Association’s Board of Directors, learn about upcoming events and meet Phoebe Jones, a Presbyterian College student who is assisting the Museum Association as an intern. Food and background music will also be provided.
The Witherspoon Building is a three-floored structure located directly across the Public Square from the Historic Laurens County Court House. Utilizing available funding, the Museum Association has largely completed the refurbishment of the building. The installation of a required fire suppression system is nearing completion, with the assistance of the Laurens Commission of Public Works. The installation of an elevator is the major capital expense remaining for the completion of the building. .
The main floor of the Witherspoon Building will feature shelving and showcasing for the display of the many artifacts collected by and donated to the Museum Association. The association already has in its possession thousands of individual artifacts that are on display at the “old” Museum, located on Laurens Street. The Laurens County Museum Association also has a Native American collection, which rivals any in the region.
“The Museum Association is developing a facility that will be an education and research center for scholars from throughout the country, who will come to Laurens County to do hands-on research,” Shortt said. “The Association is confident that this county museum will be a focal point for the educational and economic development of Laurens County.”
The Witherspoon Building also features a large public area on its third floor that will host wedding receptions, class reunions and other public functions. A complete audio-visual facility is already available on the main floor of the building.
The Laurens County Museum Association is seeking county-wide participation in the Museum through memberships, volunteers and student participation.
“We want to make this Museum a living and vibrant part of the county, where patrons, students and scholars can learn more about the rich and diverse history of our county,” said Shortt. “We urge everyone to attend the Membership Appreciation Drop-in on January 21.”
(photo courtesy of the Laurens County Museum Association)