Sumter County Museum Opens Jewish History Center

Sumter, SC- The Sumter County Museum and Temple Sinai are excited to announce the opening of Temple Sinai Jewish History Center (TSJHC) located at 11 Church Street. The Center will feature an exhibit that covers the Holocaust as well as Jewish life in Sumter. All members of the community are invited to attend opening events scheduled for Saturday, June 2.


The public opening will begin at 10 a.m. with a ribbon cutting and opening remarks. Following these remarks, the community will be invited, free of charge, to explore the new exhibit at their own pace aswell as the Temple’s beautiful stained glass windows. Docents will be stationed around to answer questions. The exhibit will close temporarily at noon to allow for a lunch break and an afternoon program. Self-taught artist, Mary Burkett from Columbia, SC, will give a presentation on her drawings of children of the Holocaust at 1 pm in the Temple sanctuary, and the exhibit will be open until 5 p.m.


The historical exhibit covers a brief introduction to Judaism, Jewish settlement in South Carolina, Jewishlife in Sumter, the Holocaust, and Sumter’s ties to the Holocaust, containing a special section devoted to local Holocaust survivor Abe Stern. The stories are told through photographs, documents, audio excerpts, and objects including a dagger that Stern removed from a deceased German soldier. While the exhibit is mostly permanent, artifacts, photographs, and sections of the exhibit will rotate over time. The Sumter County Museum has developed an archive of exhibit-related materials and will continue to accept items related to the exhibit topics for future use. The exhibit has been designed and fabricated by HW Exhibits of Charleston, SC.


TSJHC would not be possible without the support of many different groups in Sumter and beyond including, but not limited to, generous donors, Sumter County Museum Board of Trustees, the Temple Sinai Board of Trustees, Congregation Sinai members past and present, the local community, College of Charleston Special Collections staff, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina, South Carolina Council on the Holocaust, and Central Carolina Community Foundation who awarded the project a $65,000 Connected Communities grant.


TSJHC will begin a normal operating schedule the following week starting Thursday, June 7. The center will open on Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 1 pm. The Sumter County Museum can arrange group tours outside of these hours. Admission fees will be $5 for adults 18- 64, $2 for students 6-17 and seniors 65+, and free for children 5 and under. Combination tickets will beavailable for visitors wishing to see both the Sumter County Museum’s Williams-Brice House and Carolina Backcountry Homestead as well as the Temple Sinai Jewish History Center. Museum members will receive free admission at all sites.


For more information, please contact Annie Rivers, Sumter County Museum Executive Director, [email protected] or 803-775-0908 or Elizabeth Moses, Sumter County Museum Education and Outreach Coordinator at [email protected] or 803-775-0908.