SC History Trail

The Florence Museum of Art, Science and History

Historical exhibits and artifacts ranging from the prehistoric to the present are displayed at the Florence Museum, including extensive collections of art. Among the highlights: the Francis A. Lord Collection of Civil War Artifacts, exhibits on local and South Carolina history, the World War Hall, artifacts and displays related to slavery and African American culture, and ancient art and artifacts from throughout the world.


The Florence Museum of Art, Science and History
558 Spruce St., Florence, SC
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Site Description
Located at 558 Spruce Street in Florence, the Florence Museum offers visitors a broad variety of exhibits and artifacts related to local and South Carolina history, as well as an impressive, eclectic collection of art and objects d'art. The museum's collection of historical artifacts ranges from the prehistoric era to the modern era.

One gallery features art and objects from South Carolina's antebellum era through the Reconstruction Period. Slave-made furnishings are exhibited along with period documents and photographs. Art from the era includes the work of South Carolina artists William Harrison Scarborough, Elizabeth White, Alfred Hutty and Anna Heyward Taylor.

One of America's most extensive collections of Civil War artifacts is held by the museum: the lifelong personal collection of Dr. Francis A. Lord, author of The Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia, who was the "father of modern Civil War collecting." Lord amassed an extraordinary collection of Civil War artifacts that reflect the daily life of Civil War soldiers and the wartime experiences of Northern and Southern civilians. Displays from the Lord Collection are rotated as changing exhibits.

The Florence Museum also displays a meaningful collection of 20th century African-American art by artist William H. Johnson, who was a native of Florence. In an unusual act for a Southern black man in the early 20th century, Johnson began traveling and studying art in America and Europe at age 17. In 1938, he returned to the U.S. and developed a personal style of abstract art that is both somber and vibrant, as he depicted the African-American experience from both a historical and personal experience. The museum preserves the legacy of Johnson's life and work through changing exhibits and on-going education programs.

The World War Hall at the museum includes exhibits depicting military and civilian life during World War I and II, including a variety of military artifacts from both conflicts, and an exhibit documenting a local World War II military post - the Florence Army Air Field - which trained fighter, bomber and transports crews for the Army Air Corps. In a rotating art gallery, the museum also displays an extensive, eclectic collection of African artifacts, Asian arts, Native American pueblo pottery and historic art and objects from ancient Mediterranean civilizations.

Also on display on the museum grounds is a vintage 1917 steam locomotive and wood car built by the Vulcan Iron Works, and arrangements to tour the Florence Railroad Museum on Irby Street may be made with the museum.
Access and Admission
Access Description: Open Tue-Sat, 10am-5pm Sun 2pm-5pm
Admission: $1 - $3 per family
Ownership: Public