Most Recognizable Landmark in Sumter Plans Special Exhibit

Friday, August 12, 2016 10:26:00 AM Categories: downtown sumter historic music sumter opera house

Artifact Day and History Seminars will highlight plans for exhibit at Sumter Opera House

SUMTER, S.C. (August 12, 2016) –The City of Sumter is excited to announce a partnership with the Sumter County Museum to create a permanent exhibit in the City Centre that will detail the historical significance of the Sumter Opera House. This project is made possible with grant funding from the South Carolina Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Department through their Undiscovered South Carolina program.


The Sumter Opera House has been a recognizable landmark in the Sumter community for over a century, surviving the Great Depression, hurricanes, fires, and floods. This exhibit will highlight the diverse uses of the building since its completion in 1895, important performers that have graced the stage, and its significance within the Sumter community.


An Artifact Day has been scheduled for Wednesday, August 24th from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm for anyone to bring old photos, programs, or other historical items for the exhibit curators to review. The items will be documented, photographed or scanned for archival purposes, then returned to their owner. Should the curators of the exhibit wish to utilize any items from your collection, contributors would receive special recognition in the Opera House exhibit.


While the Sumter Opera House and Sumter County Museum already have some photos, programs, and posters in their existing archives, they continue to search for additional items of historical significance. Because of the state of disrepair that existed in the building when the City of Sumter renovated the building in the 1980s, many items from the building were discarded. Some specific items on the exhibit wish list include:

  • Marquee pieces
  • Seats from inside the theatre
  • Light fixtures or sconces
  • Sections of flooring
  • Old machinery or projectors used inside the theatre
  • Posters or programs from shows at the theatre
  • Interior photos prior to 1984


On Thursday, August 25th, local historian Sammy Way will present two seminars on the Sumter Opera House.  The lectures will be given at 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm, both are free to the general public. Mr. Way will have photographs on display in the City Centre and will provide historical stories on a variety of topics about the diverse history of the Sumter Opera House.


The public is encouraged to bring any items pertaining to the history of the Sumter Opera House to Artifact Day, whether they are prized heirlooms or simply junk in the attic. They are also invitedto attend one of the seminars provided by Sammy Way to develop more appreciation for this important landmark in the Sumter community. Individuals interested in learning more about the special exhibit for the City Centre will have access to project staff during both events.


Any questions about either the Artifact Day or the History Seminars may be directed to the Sumter Opera House at 803-436-2616. Both events will be held in the City Centre, located at 25 North Main in Downtown Sumter, and are free to the general public.