Textiles and History
Jan Hiester, Curator of Textiles, the Charleston Museum
History is told in many ways, and one key way is through textiles. Seeing the garments and footwear people wore, both elaborate and humble, as they lived out their lives raises our understanding of those times. The flags, the needlework, the tapestries and draperies all enhance our understanding of history. Such artifacts are the domain of the Charleston Museum’s Curator of Textiles.
Grahame Long, Curator, the Charleston Museum
During both the American Revolution and the Civil War, Charleston was not just a symbolic target but also one of the wealthiest–at least until the shelling started. Once the redcoats of 1780 and the Yankees of 1865 stormed in, nary a church, business or private home was spared fevered plundering. Worse, Charleston’s own homefront defenders oftentimes helped themselves to unguarded heirlooms. In 1779, Eliza Wilkinson’s shoe buckles were stolen right off her feet. In 1865, Union soldiers butchered several of Williams Middleton’s valuable water buffalo and stole the others, some of which were later found at the Central Park Zoo in New York City. Join author and historian J. Grahame Long as he recounts the looting and lost treasures of Charleston.
The Center for Creative Retirement (CCR) invites individuals from diverse
backgrounds to make presentations on a wide array of topics. The views and
opinions expressed by these presenters are not necessarily those of either
CCR or The College of Charleston.*