Historic Columbia announces August 2021 events and programming 

July 26, 2021

Historic Columbia’s slate of events for August will center on women’s history in a nod towards National Women’s Equality Day (Aug. 26). HC is welcoming guests for a variety of themed activities, including a Historic Water Balloon Battle that links to stories of heroic women on the battlefield, a Storytime in the Garden collaboration with Richland Library focused on women and the third annual She Did Day on Aug. 26 when Historic Columbia, in collaboration with the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN), will announce the 2021 honorees for the Columbia City of Women map.

Visit HistoricColumbia.org for more information.

Teacher Workshop

Aug. 5-6 | 9 a.m.-3 p.m. | Carriage House at Robert Mills House and Gardens 

This year’s teacher workshop will explore the deconstructed skills covered in the 2019 Social Studies Standards as well as the progress and limitations of Progressivism in the South in wake of the Jim Crow era.

Teachers will have the opportunity to develop curriculum materials aligned with the new standards to use in their classrooms through resources and guidance from scholars with Teaching American History. Participants must register through TeachingAmericanHistory.org to receive the materials for this portion of the workshop.

Participants will also explore resources available for their classroom through the newly completed reinterpretation at the Modjeska Monteith Simkins House.

Continuing education credit is available. Registration, which includes lunch for both day and a T-shirt, is $20 for HC teacher members and $25 for non-members. Visit HistoricColumbia.org, email HC Education Manager Kelly Kinard ([email protected]) or call (803) 252-1770 x 26 for more information.

Please note that a virtual option will be available. To register for the virtual option, please e-mail [email protected]. Those who participate virtually will be mailed the materials from the workshop and given access to a private link in order to participate in the sessions live or to watch a recording of the session. Participants will only have access to the live sessions from the portion of the workshop led by Teaching American History.

Storytime in the Garden

Thursday, Aug. 5 | 10-10:45 a.m. | Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens 

Enjoy women’s history-related stories, songs and activities with Richland Library and Historic Columbia staff. This event is free and open to children of all ages.

Registration is required for this event.  Each registration is for a “family square,” which will accommodate up to five people. Please bring blankets or chairs for lawn seating.

To register, visit RichlandLibrary.com.

Historic Gardens Tour

Friday, Aug. 6 (first Friday of every month) | 10-11 a.m. | Robert Mills House and Gardens, Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens

Explore the native and exotic with Historic Columbia’s Director of Grounds, Keith Mearns, as he offers insight into the varied and beautiful gardens on HC’s properties.

Each encompassing a full city block, the development of the gardens at these sites is guided by collections policies formulated to maximize their interpretive value. Subjects discussed will include botany, horticulture, landscape design and historic precedent. Tours begin in front of the Gift Shop at the Robert Mills House.

Walk-up registration is available at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills, but advanced online registration is encouraged. Tickets are $10 for the general public and free for HC members. Visit HistoricColumbia.org, email [email protected], or call (803) 252-1770 x 23 to register.

Historic Happy Hour presented by The ART of Real Estate| Historic Water Balloon Battle

Friday, Aug. 13 | 5:30-7 p.m. | Robert Mills House and Gardens 

Historic Columbia’s sixth annual Historic Water Balloon Battle will explore military tactics of the past from the American Revolution to the 20th century. The stories and events of women on the battlefield will be examined in this year’s activities as part of this month’s recognition of Women’s Equality Day.

Drinks are included with admission. Food is available to purchase from Doggy Bagz. Participants must be 21 or older to attend this event.

Tickets are $15 for Historic Columbia members and $20 for non-members. Visit HistoricColumbia.org, email [email protected], or call (803) 252-1770 x 23 to register.

Dollar Sunday | Mann-Simons Site

Sunday, Aug. 15 | 1-4 p.m. | Mann-Simons Site 

A tradition continues as residents of Richland and Lexington counties are once again invited to tour one of Historic Columbia’s house museums for just $1 on third Sunday of the month!

The August attraction is the Mann-Simons Site, the home to generations of the same Black family for nearly 130 years. While only one house stands today, this site was a collection of commercial and domestic spaces owned and operated from at least 1843 until 1970. Midwife Celia Mann and boatman Ben Delane made this site their home by the early 1840s. Members of Columbia’s small population of free people of color, the couple challenged social norms at a time in which most Africans and African Americans were enslaved.

Women played an important role in maintaining the family’s success. Celia Mann was known to have delivered many Columbia babies, both Black and white, in her career as a midwife. Her daughter, Agness Jackson, led the family to middle class status and her daughter in-law Amanda Green was a respected dress maker. Successive generations of their family negotiated the eras in which the capital city evolved from Jim Crow into the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Threat of demolition in 1970 galvanized a grassroots movement that saved the remaining structure, which opened as a house museum in 1978.

Self-guided tours are offered from 1-4 p.m. Purchase admission at the Mann-Simons Site or at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills, located at 1616 Blanding Street. Tickets are only $1 for Richland and Lexington County residents with a valid ID.

Email [email protected] or call (803) 252-1770 ext. 23 with questions.

Columbia City of Women | She Did Day 

Thursday, Aug. 26

National Women’s Equality Day – celebrated to acknowledge the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted the women the right to vote – has been aligned locally with the Columbia City of Women (CCoW) initiative since 2019 when Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin officially proclaimed Aug. 26 as She Did Day.

This year, CCoW, in association with Historic Columbia and the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network, will continue its tradition by announcing nine new honorees in a downtown celebration. Event details will soon be released on ColumbiaCityofWomen.com.

Gift Shop at Robert Mills 

Nestled in the shadow of the Robert Mills House, Historic Columbia’s Gift Shop offers an array of locally-sourced, unique products.

This month, in collaboration with programming and the countdown to Women’s Equality Day, the Gift Shop at Roberts Mills is featuring several books that spotlight women’s history.

“101 Women Who Shaped South Carolina” by Valinda W. Littlefield tells the history of the state through recognition of sacrifice, persistence and sheer grit by its heroines.

“Divided We Stand” by Marjorie J. Spruill paints a broader portrait of the two women’s movements that spurred an enduring rift between liberals and conservatives. The story is portrayed in the Hulu series “Mrs. America.”

“The Woman’s Hour” by Elaine Weiss tells the story of women leaders who – in the face of towering economic, racial and political opposition – fought for and won American women’s right to vote.

The Gift Shop at Robert Mills, located at 1616 Blanding Street, is open from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. each Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and from 1-3 p.m. on Sundays.

Visit ShopHistoricColumbia.com to order Gift Shop items online.

Historic House Tours

Semi-guided tours through four HC properties are offered at limited capacity each Tuesday and Friday-Sunday.

Tuesday – Mann-Simons Site (10 a.m.) and Robert Mills House and Gardens (1 p.m.)

Friday – The Museum of the Reconstruction Era (10 a.m.) and Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens (1 p.m.)

Saturday – Mann-Simons Site (10 a.m.) and Robert Mills House and Gardens (1 p.m.)

Sunday – The Museum of Reconstruction Era (1 p.m.) and Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens (3 p.m.)

The Mann-Simons Site, home to the same entrepreneurial African American family for nearly 130 years, traces the journey of Columbia’s Black community from enslavement through urban renewal. Women were at the root of maintaining the property. Throughout the 1800s, the mother-daughter duo of Celia Mann and Agnes Jackson prospered under difficult circumstances and created a thriving middle-class life for their family.

The Robert Mills House, named after its famous architect, operates as an historic house museum featuring period rooms and focus galleries highlighting late-18th through mid-19th century decorative arts. Current exhibits include Mary Chesnut’s Columbia During the Civil War, which highlights a restored dress once owned by the noted diarist.

The tour of one of Columbia’s oldest remaining structures, the Hampton-Preston Mansion, explores the lives of enslaved workers and their planter-class owners. Women were an integral part of this house, from the white residents of the Hampton and Preston families, to enslaved workers such as Nancy, Patty and Lucy, to the students that attended the all-female Chicora College which occupied the house in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Museum of the Reconstruction Era at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home is the nation’s only museum dedicated to interpreting the post-Civil War Reconstruction period and is housed in South Carolina’s only remaining presidential site. Women gained the right to vote in 1920, during President Wilson’s time in office.

Face coverings are required for each tour. To purchase tickets, visit the Gift Shop at Robert Mills (1616 Blanding Street), email [email protected], or call (803) 252-1770 x 23. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for youth and free for HC members.

All house museums, including the Modjeska Monteith Simkins House, are available for private group tours within HC’s capacity guidelines. Please contact [email protected] or (803) 252-1770 x 23 to ask about group tour availability and pricing.


About Historic Columbia  

In November 1961, a small group of individuals intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next six decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would take on the stewardship of six historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. Visit HistoricColumbia.org or find us on TwitterFacebookInstagram or YouTube.