Spring on the grounds of the Kaminski House Museum is particularly abuzz with memories in the making.
Not only are visitors touring the house, but the lawn is the site of concerts and festivals and nuptials amidst the varieties of camellias and daffodils.
“It really symbolizes Georgetown,” says Deputy Director Kim Leatherwood.
The activities are all the more special this year as they coincide with the 250th anniversary of the construction of the Kaminski House.
Sitting on the banks of the Sampit River, the Kaminski House was originally built in 1769 and has had 13 owners, including three Georgetown mayors. The last residents were Harold and Julia Kaminski. In 1972, Mrs. Kaminski willed the house to the City of Georgetown to be opened as a museum. Friends of the Kaminski contracted to manage it in 2013.
It’s a gift that continues to give to the Georgetown community, playing a role in educating local residents as well as their milestone celebrations.
It’s become the place couples go to begin their lives together.
About five years ago, a handful of weddings had taken place on the grounds. Today, that number is up to about 100 between the lawn and its adjacent Kossove Terrace.
“We have Georgetown brides who get married here, but we also have a lot of destination weddings,” Leatherwood says. “A lot of the girls say the Kaminski House Museum and Georgetown are memorable for them because they grew up in the area and then went to college and moved away. But this place is always special in their heart, and when they get married they come back to get married someplace special.”
Even those not getting married on the grounds may use the lawn as a backdrop for their engagement photos. Couples can schedule free time for the shoots.
Prom-goers, too, flock there for photos, a tradition that has spanned generations.
“You’ll hear stories from them about how their parents came out for their prom pictures,” Leatherwood says.
It’s been the scene of much joy for youngsters and families. One highlight is the annual Easter Egg Hunt that local residents have grown up attending to the fall Family Fun and Literacy Day in which every child attendee leaves with a free book after spending time in the pumpkin patch and healthy food tent. Another is the summer 4th of July Concert on the Lawn, at which the Indigo Choral Society performs for the 23rd year this July.
“The house is special to the community in so many ways, and our programming reflects that,” Leatherwood says. “We work really hard to be inclusive of the entire community.”
The museum draws people wanting to view the collection of 18th and 19th Century American and English furnishings, antiques and artifacts acquired by the globetrotting Kaminskis. It also promotes Georgetown in general, pointing visitors to other museums and activities, such as trolley tours, dining and shopping.
“We really act as a visitors' center because we tell people everything that’s going on,” Leatherwood says.
Work to Do
The Kaminski House has been meticulously preserved, but is in need of some attention this year. The museum needs a new climate control system to keep the decorative arts and antiques -- some dating back to the early 1700s -- safe from moisture.
Donations are being requested for a new HVAC system. Online donations received Tuesday, May 7th, will be matched by the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation for Palmetto Giving Day. Visit the Palmetto Giving Day website at palmettogivingday.org and type in Kaminski House Museum for more information.
Kaminski House Museum, 1003 Front St., is open Monday - Saturday, 10 am - 5 pm. Tours are at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Admission is $12; seniors 65 and over, $10; children 6 to 17, $6. Children under 5 are admitted free. For additional information, visit KaminskiMuseum.org or call 843-546-7706.