FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – Jim Fitch
In 1978, I received my first grant. It was a $12,000 matching grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior to restore the exterior of the Kaminski Building to its early 20th century appearance. At that time, the Kaminski Building was owned by the Rice Museum, but was being leased as a hardware business to Mr. Ray McDaniel. I collected the rent. It was $250 per month.
The grant money was obtained for the Rice Museum by Senator Strom Thurmond and Representative John Jenrette. The grant was administered through the SC State Archives. I was excited to be using some of the historic preservation skills I had learned in graduate school that helped me in applying for and using the grant funds.
I got to know and interact with the staff of the Archives in Columbia and to collaborate with other professionals in my field. I was quoted in the Georgetown Times as saying “We will use the Kaminski Building for several things including continuing exhibits and the development of a Georgetown County Archives.” The archives never happened but the exhibition space did in the form of the Charlotte Kaminski Prevost Gallery, named after the founder of the Museum. The Prevost Gallery is the heart of the Museum’s exhibition space and is ongoing today, housing not only the art gallery space, but also the Rice Museum shop.
Receipt of the restoration Grant for the Kaminski Building was a galvanizing moment for Georgetown as it was just beginning the process of restoring Georgetown’s remarkable historic district and realizing its place in South Carolina history.