American Heroes and Everyday Folk
— Living Music Traditions —
Pickens County Museum of Art and History
The Pickens County Museum collects, preserves, and exhibits local artifacts. It features exhibits on the Cherokee Indians, General Andrew Pickens, Vice President John C. Calhoun, pioneer life, military history, railroading, and much more. The museum celebrates the living traditions of our region, including exhibits on "Upcountry Harmony, the History of Music in the Upstate" and programs such as the annual Upcountry Folklife Festival and Old Time Fiddlin' Convention at Hagood Mill. The museum building, constructed in 1902, was once the old Pickens County jail (Gaol).
The Pickens County Gaol
At the turn of the 20th century, the town's sheriff lived on the second floor of the building and cared for the inmates. James Henry Grace McDaniel, Pickens County Sheriff from 1892 to 1904, was the first to run the gaol, along with his wife and extended family. Today the building still features a jail cell, but now is home to many artifacts and exhibits about town and county history.
The Hagood Mill
Hagood Mill is a working water-powered gristmill, built around 1825. Operated by the Pickens County Museum, it includes a restored 1790 cabin, the Ol'Mill Moonshine Still, picnic areas, and nature trails.
The Hagood-Mauldin House
This structure was built in 1856 and moved to its current location in 1868, when the town was founded. Today it houses the Irma Morris Museum of Fine arts, featuring an impressive collection of antique furniture and paintings.
A Rich Musical Heritage
The musical heritage of the region shows the roots of those who settled here. Ballads and hymns originating in the British Idles have been handed down to the present day; fiddle-playing (of Irish origin) and banjo-playing (of African origin) remain part of the musical repertoires of both blacks and whites in the Upcountry.
Bluegrass bands, which grew out of old-time string music, are popular across the region. Gospel singing, especially by quartets, and shape-note singing (using hymnals with differently shaped notes) are also widely practiced. Visitors can experience musical performances and informal jam sessions at festivals, restaurants, flea markets, and churches throughout the region — as well as sampling regional foods such as barbecue or country style meat and vegetables.
For more information on events throughout the region, check the visitors desk inside the museum.