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Charleston Museum Board Votes Against Accepting John C. Calhoun Statue



The Board of Trustees of The Charleston Museum voted unanimously on July 15, 2020 to approve a resolution recommended by its Executive Committee to not take the Statue of John C. Calhoun recently removed from Marion Square.

Any previous statements made on the topic were not approved by Museum personnel and was not their official statement on this matter. The Charleston Museum’s official statement can be seen below:

It is the recommendation of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trust- ees to not accept the relocation of the statue of John C. Calhoun recently removed from Marion Square to The Charleston Museum. The Museum’s collection acquisitions are governed by its Collections Policy, most recently reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees in November 2019. Sec- tion IV.A.14 of the policy notes that “the size and weight of any individual object should be such that it can be accommodated by Museum personnel and facilities.” As such, the statue, at over 12’ in height would be unable to fit in the Museum’s freight elevator, making it inaccessible to the second floor, and at roughly 6,000 lbs., would require reinforcement to the floor. The Museum lobby space is limited and used frequently for Museum and outside organization events, which would preclude its being placed there. The only other possible space is the Museum Courtyard, a primary entrance- way to the Museum open to the public during Museum operating hours, meaning the statue would be going from one public space to another.

While we recognize that John C. Calhoun was a man of significant national historical importance, he was not a Charleston figure and as such his biographical history does not fit in with the Museum’s general purpose and mission of interpreting the cultural and natural history of Charleston and the Lowcountry. Moreover, the Museum has not traditionally collected statuary of political figures.

The Museum fully supports the relocation of the Calhoun statue to an educa- tional institution that can most appropriately interpret it.

Approved unanimously by The Charleston Museum Board of Trustees, July 15, 2020.

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