The McCormick County Library will launch a month long program in the fall that aims to draw local citizens into the art and history of America. The program will feature engaging speakers, lively book and film discussions, and the public display of the Picturing America Collection both in the library and at the McCormick Arts Council.
In June 2010 the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded $2,000 to the McCormick County Library as part of the national Picturing America initiative. The McCormick County Library is the only library in SC and one of only 30 libraries nationwide selected to receive the award. This initiative aims to give Americans a deeper appreciation for our country’s history by introducing them to its great art. The Picturing America Collection (PAC) is composed of forty, carefully selected works of art spanning several centuries — all by American painters, sculptors, photographers, and architects. The NEH has distributed large, high-quality reproductions of these images to schools and libraries nationwide and made them available online.
The grant will enable the McCormick County Library to bring several presenters to the community. Bill Brockington, retired professor of history at USC, will draw upon the various references to railroads in the PAC and describe how railroads and other transportation systems shaped settlement patterns, economic growth and the evolution of South Carolina’s cultural infrastructure. Joseph McGill, Program Officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Civil War reenactor, will present the history of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry regiment as depicted in the 54th Regiment Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The presentation will be given in a Civil War uniform and will include a first-person characterization. Tom Pitts, associate professor of art history at Lander University, will preside over an evening reception at the McCormick Arts Council gallery where the PAC will be displayed. Pitts will informally share his knowledge of various pieces in the collection and will deliver a lecture entitled: “John Singleton Copley: America’s First Great Painter.”
Other activities will include a book and film discussion moderated by author and local historian Bobby F. Edmonds. The grant will also fund the addition of approximately thirty related books to the library collection. All dates and times are to be announced.
Picturing America is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, distributed in cooperation with the American Library Association. The Institute of Museum and Library Services has provided major support for Picturing America programs in public libraries. This program is also sponsored by The Humanities Council of SC, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities; inspiring, engaging and enriching South Carolinians with programs on literature, history, culture and heritage.