COLUMBIA, S.C. — Historic Columbia Foundation will offer active duty military personnel free tours of its historic house museums from Memorial Day, May 27, 2013, through Labor Day, September 2, 2013, as part of the Blue Star Museums program.
Historic Columbia Foundation is one of more than 1,800 museums across America to offer free admission to military personnel this summer as part of the Blue Star Museums program, a collaboration between the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense.
“Historic Columbia Foundation is proud to be a part of Blue Star Museums,” said Robin Waites, executive director of HCF. “Through this collaboration, service members and their families can experience Columbia’s history, and we are thrilled to give back to those who give so much for our country.”
Historic Columbia Foundation offers daily tours of the Robert Mills House & Gardens, Hampton-Preston Mansion and Mann-Simons Site. Tours start on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (last tour starts at 3 p.m.) and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday (last tour starts at 4 p.m.). HCF’s museums are closed on Mondays. Tour tickets can be purchased at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills at 1616 Blanding Street, Columbia
The free admission program is available to active duty U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the NOAA Commissioned Corps.
Source: HCF press release
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Robert Mills House
The Robert Mills House was built in 1823 for Ainsley Hall, a Columbia merchant. Unfortunately, he died before it was completed and it was never used as a private home. It was a Presbyterian seminary, a boarding school for missionary children and the first home of the Columbia Bible College (now Columbia International University.)
The Hampton-Preston Mansion is one of the oldest homes in Columbia. Built in 1818 for Columbia merchant Ainsley Hall, Hall sold the house to General Wade Hampton I where his descendants lived until the 1870s.
The Mann-Simons Cottage, part of the Mann-Simons Site, was the home of the descendants of Celia Mann, a free black woman, from the 1870s to the 1970s. In the last few years, archaeological research has revealed many new facets of the history of the property. New ghost structures and wayside signage help to further tell the story of this remarkable property.