South Carolina State Museum


In 1980, Mount Vernon Mills, the successor to Columbia Mills, donated the locally known "Duck Mill" (so called because it produced cotton duck material) to the state for use as a museum. The museum's four floors are jam-packed with exhibits on cultural history, art, engineering, science, and natural history. Among the unusual items collected by the museum's curators are the surf board on which Dr. Kary Mullis (who was raised in Columbia) was riding when he got word he'd won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. You can also see the Nobel Prize medal presented to South Carolina native Dr. Charles Townes for the development of the laser.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Other
Topic(s):Electricity, Forces, Energy, Green, Health, Simple Machines, Sounds/Music, Space/Transportation, Structures, Technology/Materials
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:The former Columbia Mills building was the world's first totally electric textile mill when it opened in 1894. The General Electric Company designed and built the 17 65-hp AC motors used in the mill. Floor space was taken up by textile equipment, so the motors were hung from the ceilings, and power shafts were run the length of the building.
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