By Lauren Joseph
Whether visiting or living in Georgetown County, a place you must visit is Brookgreen Gardens. An award-winning botanical garden, native wildlife zoo, Lowcountry history center, and art museum, everyone can find something to love at Brookgreen.
Now celebrating its 90th year, Brookgreen was founded in 1931 by Anna Hyatt Huntington and Archer Huntington and opened to the public in mid-1932. It was the first public sculpture garden in America and is home to the largest and most significant collection of American Figurative Sculpture in the country. Brookgreen continues as a leader in sculpture conservation, environmental conservation, and protection of the plants, animals, and history of the South Carolina Lowcountry. It is also one of the few institutions in the United States to earn accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, as well as being designated a National Historic Landmark and being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Seasonal programming keeps members and guests coming. Educational programs such as Brookgreen U for adults, and Homeschool Explorers and Camp Brookgreen for children help fulfill the educational mission of the Gardens. In the new Rosen Galleries, you will find temporary exhibits such as the National Sculpture Society’s Annual Awards Exhibition, a juried exhibition which showcases a collection of figurative sculpture by artists from around the country, rising starts to great masters. In the Wall Lowcountry Center, a permanent history exhibit “Lowcountry, Change and Continuity” features the history of the area and the Gullah Geechee Gaardin gives insight into the history and culture of the Gullah Geechee people, descendants of enslaved Africans who were brought to work on the rice plantations in the Georgetown district.
Special events that occur annually include a fall tribute concert, Harvest Home Weekend Festival, Spring and Fall “Brookgreen Grown” plant sales, Earth Day Festival, and Nights of a Thousand Candles, Brookgreen’s popular holiday light event. For Summer 2021, Brookgreen is introducing Summer Light: Art by Night, an evening event that will feature lighted displays by Brookgreen’s own creative Public Exhibitions team along with gallery tours and an opportunity to enjoy the gardens and sculptures in the cool of a summer evening.
There is so much to experience at Brookgreen that an admission ticket is good for 7 consecutive days. Memberships, which include an annual pass and other benefits, are available for purchase. Start your exploration of Brookgreen Gardens by visiting www.brookgreen.org for more information.