The Lowcountry in Living Color: Making Historical Photographs Come to Life

May 28, 2021

The Charleston Museum presents The Lowcountry in Living Color: Making Historical Photographs Come to Life, the latest offering in its Lowcountry Image Gallery, opening June 7, 2021. Over 90 percent of the photographs housed in the Museum’s Archives are black and white. And while many viewers find them historically charming, others find it difficult to see particular details within the image. By colorizing a black and white photograph, certain components otherwise overlooked, become visible.

For years, photograph colorization was used mainly by high tech production companies. Recently however, computer programmers have created colorization operating systems that use Artificial Intelligence. Modeled after the human brain, the AI software can recognize objects in a photograph and determine their likely colors. Although, it can still be time consuming and rather tricky, colorizing a historical photograph is now more accessible to everyday users. The software used for this exhibit included Computer Vision from and Deep AI along with Photoshop 2020 to blend and adjust where needed. This exhibition offers the opportunity to view historic photographs through a new lens.

Lowcountry Image Gallery

The Lowcountry Image Gallery is an exhibition gallery that showcases previously unseen photography and other works of art from the Museum Archives. Comprising over 40,000 photographs and representing a variety of themes, subjects and locations from around the Charleston area, this collection provides a glimpse into Lowcountry life from the dawn of the photography era to the present.


The Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum, founded in 1773 and considered America’s first museum, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located at 360 Meeting Street in downtown Charleston. The Museum is home to the most extensive collection of South Carolina-related natural and cultural history materials known, two National Historic Landmark Houses and the Dill Sanctuary, a 580-acre wildlife preserve. The Museum’s mission is to educate Charleston area residents and visitors about the natural and cultural history of the South Carolina Lowcountry through collections, exhibitions, preservation, conservation, research and related programming. Museum hours are Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Museum admission is $12 for adults and $5 for children; Tickets, including admission to two or more sites offered at a discount, can be purchased at the Museum, its historic houses, or online in advance.