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Editorial: Morris Center aims to be community catalyst

  • Aaron Bradford, lead historic interpreter from the Coastal Heritage Society, fires a musket as part of the Morris Center for Lowcountry’s Heritage’s South Carolina in the American Revolution program.

We were lured by the sound of a drum echoing from around the corner.

Outside of the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage in downtown Ridgeland last Friday afternoon, just blocks from our office, a soldier in full regalia was marching the street in support of the center’s latest program: South Carolina in the American Revolution.

Aaron Bradford was acting the part to commemorate when British soldiers arrived in 1779. He later gave children the thrill of seeing how a musket is fired. The children covered their ears as Bradford, lead historic interpreter from the Coastal Heritage Society, fired and smoke filled the air as the children’s eyes grew wide.

The Morris Center has been a fixture in Ridgeland since it opened in 2015 and it is thriving.

Program director Annmarie Reilly-Kay said more than 6,000 people have visited the center on Jacob Smart Boulevard and it is estimated that 4,000 to 5,000 people will visit this year.

People are coming from all over to visit the center, including 29 states and four countries.

Many of its members are from Jasper County, but also from Summerville, Walterboro, Edisto, Bluffton, Hilton Head, and Columbia.

“Clearly the center is very much what we always said we were — a regional museum,” she said.

The center’s hosted 60 programs this year, double the amount of 2016.

The programs offered feature a variety of interests, from history lessons to archery, archaeology and drum classes and a look at Lowcountry raptors.

In September, the Morris Center will host hour-long yoga sessions, a filmmaking and documentary workshop and a class on healthy eating tips.

The diverse topics aim to appeal to the entire area.

“We want to be a community catalyst,” she said.

More growth is underway because by early next year the Morris Center plans to expand to the building next door, inside the former grocery store.

The space will seat 200 people, will feature more exhibit space and a kitchen area for cooking classes.

We are pleased at the Morris Center’s success and look forward to its continued growth.

We’ll see you there.

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