Coastal Discovery Museum in Hilton Head Island, SC, Named an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution


It is being announced today in Washington, DC, and Hilton Head Island, SC, that the Coastal Discovery Museum has received the honor of being named an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

The Coastal Discovery Museum joins 201 museums, educational and cultural organizations across the United States which have earned this honor. Smithsonian Affiliates are selected for their record of scholarship, professionalism, high quality exhibits and effective museum education programs. The Smithsonian considers affiliate proposals from institutions whose missions are parallel to the Smithsonian’s and who demonstrate a strong commitment to serving their communities.

Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops long-term, collaborative partnerships with museums, educational and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. The partnership fosters resource sharing, educational initiatives, scholarly exchange and research efforts.

“The Coastal Discovery Museum’s recognition as a Smithsonian Affiliate will allow us to grow significantly in several areas related to our mission” said Rex Garniewicz, director of the museum. “We are always seeking to improve our visitors’ understanding of how coastal wetlands will respond to a changing planet, and the Smithsonian’s Global Change Research Wetland is a great partner for improving our presentation of this science to the public.”

“On the cultural side, there are a number of great organizations on the island have come together with the common goal of preserving Gullah music, crafts, fishing traditions, cuisine, story-telling, and family life. We would like to serve as a conduit to connect these organizations with the resources of the Smithsonian and vice versa. Although the Coastal Discovery Museum is the repository for archaeological artifacts recovered from Mitchelville and other significant sites on Hilton Head Island, telling the story of our heritage is really an island-wide and a county-wide collaboration, and it is one that the Smithsonian Institution would like to support.”

“Today, the Smithsonian is doing more than sharing its treasures with the museums of America,” said Harold A. Closter, Smithsonian Affiliations Director. “We are building relationships with people in their own communities, ensuring that all Americans can enjoy a quality Smithsonian experience, regardless of their proximity to Washington, DC. By partnering with Coastal Discovery Museum we hope to help explore the rich history, science, and culture of the Lowcountry of South Carolina and collaborate on educational programs, exhibitions and research projects. We are honored to welcome the Coastal Discovery Museum into the family of Smithsonian Affiliates.”

The Coastal Discovery Museum will celebrate its Smithsonian Affiliation, and Harold Closter, the Director of Smithsonian Affiliations, will make a brief presentation to the museum, at our Nov. 18, 2015, “Hilton Head in the Modern Era” lecture, featuring Steve Riley and his appropriately titled presentation “Where Do We Go from Here?”

Established in 1996, Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops collaborative partnerships with museums and education and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources.

Established in 1985 and celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2015, the Coastal Discovery Museum makes a difference in the way people think about and interact with the environment, history, culture, and art through telling the story of the Lowcountry.

More information is available at ( For more information about the museum call 843/689-6767 or visit (


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