The Past & Future of Drayton Hall

 

Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program Presents The First in the Spring 2017 Wells Fargo Distinguished Lecture Series

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 – College of Charleston — Addlestone 227 — 5:00pm

Carter-Hudgins-headshot-2013-resized-for-web-small-cropped-336x377

Guest Speaker Carter C. Hudgins, President & CEO, The Drayton Hall Preservation Trust

 

Within studies of American architecture and material culture, Drayton Hall (c.1738) is regarded as an icon of colonial identity that reflects an intimate connection to popular European design, sophisticated craftsmanship, and the wealth of South Carolina’s plantation economy. Complementing Drayton Hall’s architecture is a remarkable collection of surviving furniture, ceramics, artwork and artifacts that exhibit distinctive patterns of 18th century consumption, taste and intellect.

Drawing from surviving resources, this presentation will explore the 18th century formation of Drayton Hall and the values that led to its survival. This will be followed by a discussion of Drayton Hall’s future, including a vision to transform the site by improving the visitor experience and expanding our stewardship of the past.

claw-flyer-test2

 

 

 

 

A Historic Survivor

by Carter C. Hudgins, President and CEO

Drayton Hall Ponds

Drayton Hall welcomed Hurricane Matthew to the Lowcountry with secured windows, barricaded doors and a decade of preventative tree maintenance that resulted in relatively few damages to the property. Thanks to the ongoing stewardship efforts of staff and a focus on disaster preparation and management, only minor amounts of rain entered the historic main house, and less than 30 trees were toppled. Though record rains and a significant tidal surge resulted in the ponds overflowing and eroding portions of the entrance road (shown above), none of Drayton Hall’s historic live oaks or magnolias were impacted, and I strongly believe this stands as a testament to our recent efforts to proactively prune, fertilize and stabilize the site’s horticultural gems. Without the generosity of the Friends of Drayton Hall and their support of our historic trees, the storm could have resulted in the loss of significant landscape features.

Still, hurricane cleanup is/and will continue to be part of the daily routine for Drayton Hall’s landscape staff and partners, including Bartlett Tree Experts, shown below as they help us to remove a downed tree. For now, the roads have been resurfaced, the site has returned to normal operation and we look forward to welcoming you onsite in the days ahead.

Matthew’s impact from preparation to damage and clean-up to restoration:

14463259_10153983948572473_2487921152881266450_n

dsc_9613dsc_960614519921_10153998706447473_4744562577253321521_n14523173_10153997961697473_2875953558488171457_n14600871_10153997961987473_7491314044208430193_n

dsc_959914716308_10154001662047473_2809547552369320822_n

14717116_10154000627472473_2782527172513505548_n

Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America’s Founding Fathers

LS-DVD-cover-300x300

Drayton Hall is pleased to present the first Charleston-area screening of the award-winning documentary film “Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America’s Founding Fathers,” produced and directed by filmmaker A. Troy Thomas of Inertia Films.

America’s Founding Fathers were men yearning for a nation of individual liberty and unprecedented independence. Thomas Jefferson expressed this desire in the Declaration of Independence in 1776: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” But the origins of America were already seeded with a cruel paradox because many of the liberty-loving, southern Founding Fathers, including Jefferson and Washington, were also slave owners. Slavery was commonplace in the 18th century—not just in America, but in the world.

But why did the non-slave-owning Founding Fathers compromise with the slave-owning Founders when it came to ratifying the U.S. Constitution?

How do we make sense of this paradox?

Watch as “Liberty & Slavery” searches for answers through a series of interviews with respected authors, historians, theologians, and many other notables.

Thursday, September 8
The Charleston Museum
360 Meeting Street
5:30 – 8:00 pm

    Free and open to the public. No advance reservations required.

Doors open at 5:30 pm with a reception and introductions by Carter C. Hudgins, President & CEO of the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust, and filmmaker Troy Thomas. A Q&A session will follow the screening.

Watch Trailer

 

For additional information, please contact:
Tara Odom, Special Events Coordinator
(843) 769-2627 or todom@draytonhall.org

Drayton Hall In The News

 

AFA Summer 2016 Cover

Article Preview

Written by Drayton Hall’s President and CEO Carter C. Hudgins, Ph.D.,  a 2006 Wood Family Fellow, the article describes the significant impact that one committed donor can have on an institution. It also shows how each of the Fellow’s work has informed the next and has led to many remarkable discoveries over the past ten years–helping to shape a new era of acquisitions, expansion of our museum collections, and site interpretation. Read the entire article here.

 

“Writing Drayton Hall’s Next Chapter” by Robert Behre

Portico by Robert Behre staff

Drayton Hall’s projecting double portico facing S.C. Highway 61 is considered the front of the house and is perhaps its most iconic feature. The renovation work, seen above, is expected to be done by year’s end. ROBERT BEHRE/STAFF

Great article in the Post & Courier by columnist Robert Behre on our new President and CEO Carter C. Hudgins, PhD., and Drayton Hall’s upcoming plans, including a new facility with exhibit space for many of the site’s collections objects and archaeological artifacts and a new nature trail around its historic rice ponds.

Post and Courier Online

Writing Drayton Hall’s Next Chapter by Robert Behre – Post and Courier – pdf

Read the transcript here:

Post and Courier – October 31, 2015

Writing Drayton Hall’s Next Chapter

By Robert Behre

It would not be inaccurate to say Carter C. Hudgins began his career at Drayton Hall by mowing the grass many years ago and now he is outstanding in his field.

Hudgins, who followed his father’s footsteps into a career of preservation, recently became president and CEO of the iconic Lowcountry house museum and one of South Carolina’s most famous and enduring works of architecture.

And he says the real change there is still to come.

Hudgins is taking the reins at a pivotal time as the site begins a new life, one directed by a local board, the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust, rather than by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which has given up control but still retains ownership.

He is quick to detail the plans, which include more staff, new buildings and a continued commitment to preserving and interpreting the mid-18th century house and its grounds.

“We are a world-class site,” he says. “We want a world-class engagement with the public.”

No, there are no plans to put furniture in the grand main house or restore it back to its original 1750 appearance.

But the trust expects to begin construction next year on a new building project that not only will handle the routine functions of a welcome center, gift shop and restrooms but will eventually display many of the furnishings and artifacts connected to the Drayton family and the home they built.

“We are actively acquiring objects,” Hudgins says. “We want to be able to show what was in the house, but not with the goal of refurnishing it.”

Instead, the goal is to expand visitors’ experiences without placing further wear and tear on the historic house itself.

Preservation is challenging here because the house is open to the public, and some 60,000 people a year visit it. That’s more feet and weight than most houses are designed for.

Balancing public access and preservation is the crux of Drayton Hall’s mission, and the new building will help.

Drayton Hall already has plenty of items to put in it. Its collection includes more than one million archaeological artifacts and several hundred individual other objects, including dozens of pieces of furniture, one of which is considered perhaps the finest ever produced in Colonial America.

The grounds also will get work soon, with plans to drain the ponds, trim vegetation from their banks and build a new nature trail around them.

Hudgins says Drayton Hall is working with Ducks Unlimited to make sure this work respects wildlife, not just history.

The new attention to Drayton Hall comes at an auspicious time, as there is a growing realization of the importance of how the history and architecture of the city of Charleston blends into the history and landscape of its surrounding plantations.

This interdependence is highlighted in the Charleston World Heritage’s efforts to get the Lowcountry listed as a world heritage site, the highest such designation possible.

The coalition’s new statement on Charleston’s significance begins, “The plantation culture of Charleston and the surrounding Lowcountry represents an exceptional example of human manipulation of land to exploit natural resources and create a distinct social and economic system that infuenced the geo-cultural region from the late 17th into the late 19th centuries.”

That might sound a bit fancy and academic, but it really boils down to this: Preserving buildings and landscapes like Drayton Hall is every bit as critical as preservation downtown.

Reach Robert Behre at (843) 937-5771 or at twitter.com/RobertFBehre.

Preserving the Past, Preparing the Future: Celebrating Ten Years of Wood Family Fellows

 The Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series – Thursday, September 17, 2015

Stephen Wood photo black and white

Stephen Wood at Drayton Hall, 1980

Presented by Carter C. Hudgins, Ph.D., Acting President and Executive Director, Drayton Hall Preservation Trust

One of the most significant contributions to the initiatives of Drayton Hall has been the establishment of the Wood Family Fellowship, which was created by Anthony C. “Tony” Wood in 2005 in honor of his parents Leonard and Tanya Wood, and in memory of his brother Stephen Wood.

In August 1980, Stephen was a young preservationist who was repairing Drayton Hall’s main house as part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Restoration Workshop when the scaffolding that he was on gave way. He fell to the ground below and later that day succumbed to his injuries. Some 24 years later, misfortune revisited the family as the lives of Tony’s parents Leonard and Tanya, who reared their children on the lessons of history and the value of preservation, were claimed by a car accident while traveling east of their home in Charleston, Illinois.

To further the legacy of his brother and parents in a manner that would build on the Wood family’s values and dedication to education and historic preservation, Tony and his husband, Anthony Badalamenti, established the Wood Family Fellowship at Drayton Hall in 2005. By design, the Fellowship is intended to foster the care and research of Drayton Hall while providing guidance and inspiration to rising scholars in the fields of history, historic preservation, anthropology, decorative arts, and architectural history.

L-R: Sarah Stroud Clarke, Carter C. Hudgins, Trish Smith

L-R: Sarah Stroud Clarke, Carter C. Hudgins, Trish Smith

Such an experience continues to lend to the advancement of Drayton Hall as past Fellows Carter C. Hudgins, Sarah Stroud Clarke, and Trish Smith presently serve as the site’s Acting President & Executive Director, Archaeologist & Curator of Collections, and Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, respectively. These three former Fellows will join Drayton Hall Preservation Trust Board Member Anthony C. Wood to celebrate ten years of success with an eye towards the future of the program.

This event is sponsored by Richard and Jill Almeida.

Members in the Friends of Drayton Hall will find more about the history and impact of the Wood Family Fellowship in the Spring/Summer 2015 (Vol 34, No 1) edition of their members newsletter, Interiors.

 

Drayton Hall’s Fall 2015 Distinguished Speakers Series Starts September 17

Website Header

The Friends of Drayton Hall are pleased to present the 2015 fall season of the Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series. Beginning with the opening event on September 17, you can expect thought-provoking presentations related to American history and culture by some of today’s most respected historians and curators. Speakers will also highlight the connections of Charleston and Drayton Hall to their research interests and answer questions from the audience. All programs will be held at South Carolina Society Hall.

For more about the fall series, visit the Distinguished Speakers’ website.

Carter Hudgins headshot 2013 - bwSeptember 17th – Dr. Carter C. Hudgins, Drayton Hall, will celebrate Ten Years of the Wood Family Fellowship — one of the most significant contributions to the stewardship and advancement of Drayton Hall. Past Fellows include Hudgins, Sarah Stroud Clarke, and Trish Smith who presently serve as the site’s Acting President & Executive Director, Archaeologist and Curator of Collections, and Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, respectively. Sponsored by Richard and Jill Almeida.

Portrait of Suzanne Hood; August 13th, 2014.

October 15th – Suzanne F. Hood, Colonial Williamsburg, will present China of the Most Fashionable Sort: Chinese Export Porcelain in Colonial America, including ceramics owned and used in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century America with a particular emphasis on archaeological ceramics, Chinese export porcelain, salt-glazed stoneware, and British pottery.

Inaugural Chipstone Lecture:

Milestone Portraits; Cary Carson; 30 Years;

November 19th, Cary Carson, Ph.D., Colonial Williamsburg, retired, to present All Dressed Up, But No Place To Go, which examines the extraordinary archaeological discovery of three of Colonial Virginia’s most lavish structures: over-the-top, eye-popping plantation houses, similar to the colonial stature of Drayton Hall — except that their owners never resided in their grandiose mansions. Why? Dr. Carson will unravel the mystery. Sponsored by the Chipstone Foundation.

 

All programs will be held at South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street 

Doors open at 5:30pm with a Wine and Cheese Reception.
Presentations start promptly at 6:30pm.
No advance reservations; please arrive early as seating is limited.
The 2015 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series
is sponsored by The Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SC.

FMlogo

By George! The Charleston Art & Antiques Forum’s 17th Annual Fine & Decorative Arts Series

Charleston Art and Antiques Forum 2014 cover imageThis year’s Charleston Art & Antiques Forum, By George!, celebrates 300 years of Georgian art and design. The Georgian period takes its name from the four British King Georges who reigned from 1714 to 1830, and crosses the Atlantic to include the presidency of George Washington.

This year’s line-up of speakers demonstrates this geographic span. Among the speakers is Tim Knox, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, who will deliver the keynote address, focusing on architecture for animals, specifically the exotic aviaries and menageries that fascinated English nobility in the 18th century and had the leading architects of the time competing to design the most extravagant and whimsical structures. Also, the Forum’s long-time moderator, Tom Savage, Director of Museum Affairs, Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, returns to guide discussions of the Georgian house, its furnishings, and its gardens.

Deputy Director and Acting Director of Preservation and Education Dr. Carter C. Hudgins will give a lecture on Georgian furniture, ceramics, artwork, and archaeological artifacts, and will explain why Drayton Hall is considered one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the North American colonies. Entitled Rediscovering Drayton Hall in the Georgian Era, it will take place on Saturday morning, March 15th.

Drayton Hall has been named as one of the 2014 beneficiaries of the Charleston Art & Antiques Forum. A portion of the proceeds from all ticket sales will benefit Drayton Hall’s Collections Fund to help Drayton Hall acquire and conserve additional Drayton objects and artifacts to be shared with the public in exhibits, programs, and future facilities. Additional information about the 2014 Forum, its speakers and topics, is available at www.charlestonantiquesforum.org.

We hope to see you there!