Tucked into the corner of Heritage Green on the outskirts of downtown, the Upcountry History Museum has provided cultural and historical connections since its opening in 2007.
Its numerous exhibits, both permanent and rotating, offer thorough and engaging insight into our region’s history, and the Smithsonian affiliate museum is passionate about creating pathways to invite the community inside to experience them. Two monthly programs, Connections Cafe and Lunchbox Learning, are doing just that.
Six years ago, the museum began a special partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association of Greenville. Now, every second Thursday of the month, individuals with dementia or early onset Alzheimer’s, along with their caregivers, gather free of charge at the museum for refreshments, an exhibit tour, and a special activity.
“It’s unique because for the individuals with Alzheimer’s, it’s engaging, but it also gives those caregivers a support group,” says Kristen Pace, the museum’s education and program manager. “It really is a community. I would say museums are vitally important players in providing opportunities for people to feel connected to the community. Connections Cafe is the definition of that.”
Pace mentions that sometimes during exhibit tours, a photograph, a sound clip, or a line of music will trigger a memory for an individual, creating a moving moment. And the special activities aren’t limited to arts and crafts. A few months ago, when the museum highlighted AMECO, a local producer of construction equipment, the AMECO team came out and offered rides on their boom lift. As the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s increases in the coming years, the museum hopes this monthly event will continue to be a rewarding community resource.
Upcountry History Museum, 540 Buncombe St., Greenville, 864.467.3100, upcountryhistory.org. Connections Cafe: Second Thursdays, 2pm. Free.
Connections Cafe: Second Thursdays, 2pm. Free.
Typically following the museum’s changing exhibition schedule, Lunchbox Learning is a monthly lecture series that highlights interesting and unexpected aspects of history via a local author or professor. Free for museum members or included with general admission, the hour-long program includes light refreshments and features topics from the legacy of Warner Bros. animation to the South during the Great War.
While the series has had virtual presentations in the past, Pace says the museum tries to maintain the in-person experience. She laughs that one regular attendee enjoys it because “you get to learn about a certain topic without being quizzed at the end of it.”
Lunchbox Learning: dates vary, noon–1pm. Free with museum admission.