New Rental Special Announced: Host Your Meet-up, Tweet-up, Corporate Event, Holiday Party and More!

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Historic Columbia Foundation is announcing A NEW rental special! An ideal fit for your corporate meetinglunch n’ learn sessionholiday party, family reunion, meet-uptweet-upconference and more, HCF is offering a 20% rental rate for events held before January 31, 2013.

Book your fall or holiday event before October 31, 2012 and receive a savings of 20% off the rental rate! This special includes night and weekend rentals. Hold your event at one of our four historic venues before January 31, 2013 and you’ll enjoy a memorable venue at a price that will surely dazzle you…

Our Special Offer to You: 

We’re more than weddings, and we’re ready to accommodate! Allow us to prove it to you! Contact Amy Kinard at 803.252.7742 ext. 11 or to learn more about this special offer. In the meantime, we’re sharing quick-looks at each of our properties below. *Offer excludes weddings.

seibels-houseExplore your options…
The circa-1796 Seibels House and Gardens is Columbia’s oldest remaining structure, located at 1601 Richland Street. The beautiful gardens feature large Palmetto trees, a striking fountain and blossoming flowers, while the house itself provides an intimate atmosphere for both large and small groups. The indoor space accommodates 80 seated and 150 standing with tables and chairs provided, while the garden accommodates 400. Learn more…


The Big Apple was home to a synagogue circa-1915 before it was transformed into a 1930’s African-American nightspot. This one-of-a-kind building provides a spacious floor plan with breathtaking hard wood floors, beautiful large windows and a small upstairs balcony. Located at 1000 Hampton Street, the building accommodates 80 seated and 150 standing with tables and chairs provided. Learn more…


The Robert Mills House and Garden is one of the city’s few National Historic Landmarks. Robert Mills, a native Charlestonian, designed scores of landmark buildings throughout South Carolina and Washington, D.C. The circa-1823 home provides a picturesque backdrop for any event, also featuring the Founders’ Garden and newly installed My Mother’s Garden with lush landscaping and ornate gardens. Located at 1616 Blanding Street, the carriage house and courtyard accommodates 75 seated and 125 standing while the full grounds accommodate 400. Learn more…

hampton-preston-mansionWhat could be more charming than holding your event on the grounds of a Columbia landmark that epitomizes the lifestyle of the planter-elite in antebellum South Carolina? The grounds of the circa-1818 Hampton-Preston Mansion, with four acres of lush green grass, newly rehabilitated gardens and of course a stunning antebellum home, can be the venue for your next memorable event. The space accommodates 400. Learn more…

What Others are Saying…
We were extremely happy with the service, attention and cooperative manner we were given. The house is beautiful and we had a fabulous time and will be recommending this venue to all our friends and family.
– DeShauna Branham Blinard about the Seibels House and Garden

I had great feedback from my guests at the event. The Big Apple was an excellent place for our reunion and I hope we can use it again in the future.– Anthony L. Mosley

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Father's Day Gift Ideas from Historic Columbia Foundation

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Father’s Day is just around the corner! Shop Historic Columbia Foundation for the perfect gift for your loved one. Shop local and tax free and know your purchase helps fund local preservation and education efforts.

The Museum Shop is conveniently located at 1616 Blanding Street, with free parking. We’re open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am – 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.. 

Father’s Day Gift Ideas


For the Book Lover
If your Father is a book enthusiast, our Museum Shop features a wide array of books, many priced under $20 including Photograph Sketch Book of the Civil War.

A wide array of books, many priced below $20

For the Business Man

Keep Dad’s office organized with a beautiful Glass Paperweight depicting Historic Columbia Foundation’s Hampton-Preston Mansion. Only $15 each.

Historic Columbia Foundation Glass Paperweights, $15/each

For the Foodie
Our Museum Shop carries a variety of special preserves, dips and other goodies made especially for the Foundation. Selections include everything from Peach Preserves to Pub Beer Mustard Dip. 

A variety of jarred dips and preserves including Salsa con Queso and Pub Beer Mustard Dip, $4.40/each

For the History Enthusiast
Pick up an Antiqued Parchment for less than $2! Perfect for framing, replicas include the Constitution of the United States 1787, Bill of Rights 1789, Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag 1954 and United States of America State Seals.

Four Different Antiqued Parchments all suitable for framing, each under $2

Surprise your Dad with the gift of history!
Memberships start at just $35 and offer free admission to our house museums, a subscription to our quarterly newsletter, guest passes, free or discounted admission to HCF events, a shop discount and more. More about HCF membership…

For the Sightseer…

If your Dad enjoys taking in Columbia sights, reserve a place at one of our upcoming events, including our July Cemetery Tour! Browse our bustling calendar of events here.

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Full-Time Head Gardener Position Open at Historic Columbia Foundation

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Historic Columbia Foundation has an opening for a full-time Head Gardener. Position details are listed below.

The Head Gardener supports the Director of Grounds in the maintenance and development of the gardens. The key responsibilities of this position are:

▪    Daily general maintenance of the garden areas – both plants and hardscape
▪    Oversee Rental Preparation Duties
▪    Equipment Maintenance
▪    Specific focus of work is on preservation & maintenance of historic landscapes.

Core competencies include:

▪    Knowledge: Thorough understanding of care of herbaceous and woody plants, as well as turf grass management. Knowledge and experience in landscape maintenance – particularly with best management practices for sustainable landscaping. Skilled in plant identification. Knowledge and skill in safe handling of different gardening equipment, as well as safe application of integrated pest management practices, chemicals and plant nutritional supplements.
▪    Data Collection: Ability to ensure accurate record keeping of plant care and health. Ability to keep accurate inventories of supplies, materials and equipment.
▪    Coordination: Ability to supervise others, including part-time staff and volunteers, in the maintenance of HCF’s plant collections and hardscapes within the gardens.
Ability to organize work schedule and plans and identify and establish priorities under the direction of the Director of Grounds. Ability to train and monitor
volunteers and part-time staff.
▪    Communication: Ability to use verbal and non-verbal skills when working with others to ensure efficient and safe management of landscapes.
▪    Leadership: Ability to work in a supervisory role.

Minimum training and experience requirements:

▪    High school diploma, or equivalent, and demonstrated possession of the competencies to perform the work.
▪    Possession of a valid driver’s license.

Preference will be given to those applicants with training and experience such as:

▪    Possession of an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in horticulture or related field
▪    Other relevant educational experience, such as completion of a Master Gardener certification program
▪    Previous professional gardening work

The successful candidate should possess interest in and knowledge of plants, and demonstrate an enthusiasm for garden care and development. The Head Gardener will exhibit self-motivation, attention to detail, excellent communication skills, and good organizational skills.

Historic Columbia Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

Resumes may be submitted in person, by email to, or by mail to: Historic Columbia Foundation, Attn: Debbie Giles, 1601 Richland Street, Columbia, SC 29201. All resumes must be submitted by close of business day Monday, June 18. 

About Historic Columbia: As a city leader in heritage tourism, Historic Columbia Foundation provides daily house museum tours, walking tours and guided bus tours of Columbia’s cultural and historical assets. Additionally, the organization hosts annual programs and events such as the Gardening Symposium and the Jubilee Festival of Heritage. As an advocate for the preservation of Columbia’s built history, Historic Columbia Foundation works closely with city and county officials to ensure proper protection is provided to structures with cultural and historical importance.

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HCF's New Volunteer Training Featured on ABC Columbia

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Friday, June 8, Monique Williams from ABC Columbia visited the Seibels House to talk about HCF’s New Volunteer Training Sessions, which kick-off Monday June 18. A story featuring volunteerism in the midlands aired later that evening highlighting the Foundation’s new classes and volunteer needs.

Check out the story online here. For more information on HCF’s Volunteer needs and how to sign up for this FREE training session, call Ann Posner at 803.252.1770 ext 24.

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Garden Projects from Hampton-Preston and Robert Mills Houses featured in The State Newspaper

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Last week The State newspaper visited the Robert Mills and Hampton-Preston properties to take a look around the newly completed garden projects. Both properties underwent major changes to their landscapes during the last six months.

Read about the newly installed “My Mother’s Garden” and the first phase of the Hampton-Preston garden revitalization online here.

For more information on all of our gardens, click here.

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Historic Columbia Foundation Seeks Volunteers Able To Donate 6 or More Hours a Month: New Volunteer Training Class Runs June 18 – August 20, 2012

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COLUMBIA, SC (May 24, 2012) – Historic Columbia Foundation’s new volunteer training class kicks off on June 18, 2012, with a total of eight sessions running through August 20, 2012.  Each session lasts approximately 90 minutes and begins at 10 am. Schedule below.  Those not able to attend the first session are still welcome to pick up the training on June 25.

Those able to donate at least 6 hours a month towards the Foundation’s mission to nurture, support, and protect the historical and cultural heritage of Columbia and its environs are encouraged to participate in the training.  Volunteers will learn about the organization, its historic house museums, historic gardens and grounds, historic neighborhoods, Columbia and Richland County history and more.   More information can be found online at

Volunteer Training Sessions:
June 18: Orientation (Seibels House, 1601 Richland Street)
June 25: Mann-Simons History (Mann-Simons Site,1403 Richland Street)
July 9: Gardens of Historic Columbia Foundation Properties (Carriage House, 1616 Blanding Street)
July 16: Collections and Woodrow Wilson History (Carriage House, 1616 Blanding Street)
July 23: Tour Techniques, Seibels’ and Kitchen House (Seibels House, 1601 Richland Street)
July 30: Hampton-Preston History (Carriage House, 1616 Blanding Street)
Aug 13: Robert Mills History (Carriage House, 1616 Blanding Street)
Aug 20: Overview of Columbia’s Early History (Seibels House, 1601 Richland Street)

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Historic house museum tours,
  • Walking tours,
  • Step-on tours around Columbia,
  • Gardening work days on a seasonal basis to tend to the historic grounds and gardens of Historic Columbia Foundation,
  • Assisting the Education Department,
  • Administrative and Rental assistance, and
  • Assisting the Cultural Resources department on an as-needed basis

Volunteer benefits include:

  • Complimentary entrance into the historic house museums (volunteer and members of his/her immediate family),
  • Free or reduced rates towards admission to special Historic Columbia Foundation functions,
  • A 15% discount on museum shop purchases, and
  • A free subscription to Historically Speaking, Historic Columbia Foundation’s quarterly newsletter.

For more information on how to find your place with us, contact Ann Posner, Coordinator of Volunteer and Visitor Services at 803.252.1770, ext. 24

Members of the media are encouraged to contact Ashley Tucker at 803.252.7742 ext. 16, or for more information.

About volunteering at HCF, Robin Waites, Executive Director of Historic Columbia Foundation says, “By volunteering at Historic Columbia Foundation, you meet new people, visit historic sites, and discover the culture and lifestyles of South Carolina’s capital city and Richland County”.

On her volunteer experience, Historic Columbia Foundation volunteer Pat Ceresoli says, “Volunteering at Historic Columbia Foundation has given me the opportunity to meet many warm, interesting, and intelligent people including staff, volunteers, and visitors to the houses”.

Historic Columbia Foundation was founded in 1961 by a group of preservationists determined to save the Ainsley Hall House, known today as the Robert Mills House.  More than five decades later, Historic Columbia Foundation manages four historic house museums and their associated artifacts, and tells the stories of people, places and progress in Columbia and Richland County. For more information, please visit


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Historic Columbia Foundation Offers Guided Walking Tour of Arsenal Hill Neighborhood on Sunday, June 10 at 2 p.m.

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COLUMBIA, SC (May 24, 2012) – Do you know the history of the Arsenal Hill neighborhood in Columbia, South Carolina? Named for the military academy established here in 1842, Arsenal Hill rests within the northwest section of Columbia’s original two-mile-by-two-mile city limits. Traditionally, this 30-block area has been bounded by Upper (today Elmwood Avenue), Assembly, Taylor, and Huger streets.

On Sunday, June 10 at 2 p.m.; Historic Columbia Foundation is offering a guided walking tourhighlighting the architecture and history of this historic neighborhood.  A free tour for Historic Columbia Foundation members, the cost is just $6 for non-member adults and $3 for non-member youth (17 and under).  Tickets can be purchased at, by calling 803.252.1770 ext. 24 or by email at  Walk-up registrations are also accepted – the tour will meet at Palmetto Armory and Ironworks (1900 Lincoln Street).

More about Arsenal Hill:
As the highest point within the capital city’s downtown, with impressive vistas to the south and west, Arsenal Hill became a desirable residential area for white elites during the antebellum era and then for middle- and working-class African Americans during the later 19th and 20th centuries. Combined with this residential development soon after came industrial, commercial, spiritual, educational, and governmental institutions, all of which have resulted in an eclectic mix of architecture and community histories.

About this month’s Second Sunday Stroll, Robin Waites, Executive Director of Historic Columbia Foundation says “View Columbia from a different lens as you retrace our shared past on a guided walking tour of Arsenal Hill.”  Members of the media are encouraged to contact Ashley Tucker at 803.252.7742 ext. 16 or

About Retrace: Connecting Communities Through History:
Historic Columbia Foundation invites you to retrace our shared past through its series of web tours, walking tours, mobile apps and wayside exhibits. Explore six virtual tours of Columbia’s historic neighborhoods (including Arsenal Hill) by clicking on the “Retrace” icon at Self-guided tour brochures are available in the Museum Shop, located at 1616 Blanding Street. Your story could be just around the corner.

About Historic Columbia Foundation:
In November 1961, a small group of individuals intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition, officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next five decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would take on the stewardship of seven historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. The 50th Anniversary year of Historic Columbia Foundation (which officially began on November 13, 2011) will include a variety of community celebratory events. Visit for details.



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Date for 2012 Jubilee: Festival of Heritage is Set Historic Columbia Foundation Makes a Call for Vendors and Demonstration Artists

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Columbia, SC (May 16, 2012) –  It’s one of the region’s most-anticipated festivals each year, celebrating the rich cultural heritage and entrepreneurial spirit of the Mann-Simons family. Historic Columbia Foundation’s 34th annual Jubilee: Festival of Heritage will be held on August 18, 2012 at the Mann-Simons Site (1601 Richland Street) in Columbia, SC.  The festival is free and open to the public, running from 11 am – 5 pm.

HCF is seeking food, marketplace and non-profit vendors to participate in this year’s Jubilee: Festival of Heritage.  Associations, churches, civic/service groups, health/medical organizations, charities and other businesses are all invited to participate. The cost to participate is $25 for non-profit vendors, $50 for marketplace vendors and $100 for food vendors.  One table and two chairs are provided at no charge.   Additional items (such as electricity, extra tables and extra space) are available for an additional charge ($15-$25).  Those interested in being a part of this year’s Festival are encouraged to download the vendor form on the Foundation’s website here.  Deadline for registration is August 4, 2012.

This year’s Jubilee: Festival of Heritage takes place during the Foundation’s 50th anniversary year, and coincides with the debut of a brand-new “ghost structure” exhibit.  The exhibit will be free and open to the public, allowing visitors to visualize the structures that once stood alongside the family’s home.

2012 Festival activities include: 

  • Hands-on demonstrations from some of the region’s most skilled artists and craftsmen,
  • Live musical entertainment including R&B, jazz, blues and gospel,
  • Vendors with African-influenced and traditional merchandise,
  • Crafts and activities for children,
  • Tours of the Mann-Simons Site (adults $1/children free)
  • Bus tours of African-American heritage sites (adults $2/children free), the Modjeska Simkins property, and
  • Many other events throughout the day.

About the Mann-Simons Family:
Although only one house stands today, the Mann-Simons Site historically was a collection of commercial and domestic spaces owned and operated by the same African-American family from at least 1843 until 1970. Former slaves from Charleston, Celia Mann, a midwife, and Ben Delane, a boatman, became the first generation of family members to live on the property and laid a social and material foundation that allowed successive generations to pursue a variety of businesses and social undertakings.
The property and its multiple buildings changed considerably over time to better accommodate the needs, tastes, and aspirations of this remarkable family.

The fourth and final phase of excavations at the Mann-Simons Site recently came to a close, and was featured on FOX News nationally.  Thousands of artifacts were uncovered over the course of several years; a selection of artifacts is on display for festival-goers and visitors to enjoy.

Members of the media are encouraged to contact Ashley Tucker at 803.252.7742 ext. 16 or    High resolution photos of this last year’s Jubilee: Festival of Heritage  are available for immediate download on the Foundation’s Flickr account.  Click on the Jubilee image set, then click on the desired image thumbnail to enlarge.  Right-click the enlarged image and follow the instructions to download the full-size image.

About Historic Columbia Foundation:
In November 1961, a small group of individuals intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition, officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next five decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would take on the stewardship of seven historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. The 50th Anniversary year of Historic Columbia Foundation (which officially began on November 13, 2011) will include a variety of community celebratory events. Visit for details.




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A Look Back: Columbia's Preservation Efforts Featured in The State Newspaper

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Big thanks to our friends at The State newspaper for featuring last night’s look back at Columbia’s Preservation efforts from the last 50 years and the 2012 Preservation Award Winners.

Read the online article here.

For more information about the 2012 Recipients check out the blog post announcing the awards here.

About Preservation Matters:
Since its inception fifty years ago, Historic Columbia Foundation has remained true to its most basic principle – to save architecturally and culturally significant places by educating the public as to their importance. After preventing the destruction of the Robert Mills House the organization grew to further serve the capital city and Richland County as a preservation advocate championing the future or historic structures. Today, Historic Columbia Foundation models historic preservation and public education at the seven historic sites under its stewardship, through public outreach within downtown and county communities alike, and by allying itself with strategic partners dedicated to improving the quality of life for contemporary and future citizens. What follows are stories behind Historic Columbia Foundation’s evolution over five decades into a leader in historic preservation and education.

Ways to Get Involved:

1. Become a member of Historic Columbia Foundation.
For as little as $35 (individual), your membership cost helps Historic Columbia Foundation in our local preservation and education efforts. Learn more…

2. Visit our historic house museums and gardens, including the Mann-Simons Site, Hampton-Preston Mansion, Seibels Garden, Robert Mills House & Garden, Woodrow Wilson Family Home (open the first Tuesday of the month for hard hat tours). Learn more…

3. Donate to Historic Columbia Foundation in honor of our 50th Anniversary. In an effort to save the Robert Mills House from demolition 265 visionary individuals, families and businesses each contributed $1,000 (equivalent to a $7,341 gift in 2011!) to Historic Columbia Foundation between 1961 and 1964. As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Historic Columbia Foundation, our Board of Trustees invites you to continue the legacy of the 265 founding leaders by being among the first 265 donors to make a contribution to our 2011 – 2012 Anniversary Campaign. Your gift may serve as a memorial or honorarium and may be directed to benefit our special projects, endowment or general operation fund as noticed in 50th Anniversary donation form here.

4. Become a fan of Historic Columbia Foundation and Preservation Matters on Facebook.(  and/or follow us on Twitter (@histcolumbia). Your likes, comments and retweets help us spread the word about our organization.

5. Volunteer for Historic Columbia Foundation. By volunteering for Historic Columbia Foundation, you meet new people, visit historic sites, and discover the culture and lifestyles of South Carolina’s capital city and Richland County. Spend as little as six hours per month, or volunteer each week with us fulfilling our mission to nurture, support, and protect the historical and cultural heritage of Columbia and its environs through programs of advocacy, education, and preservation. Learn more about becoming a volunteer (and the many volunteer benefits) here.

6. Spread the word about our 50th Anniversary by posting a link to this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and/or your website. Direct link is Shortened title with link for Twitter is “@ColumbiaSC historic sites associated with the legacy of slavery via @histcolumbia:

7. Encourage your employer to support Historic Columbia Foundation. Much like the 1,000 visionary donors in 1961, sustaining the efforts of Historic Columbia Foundation for the next 50 years will require donations not only from individuals and families, but also from local businesses. You can learn more about our business partners here. Contact Wendi Spratt in our development office at 803.252.7742 ext. 12

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