FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The Florence community celebrated the reopening of the Florence County Museum Saturday after nearly seven years of development.
The Florence County Museum is full of history and is making history itself. A decade ago, many people said they could never imagine the 12 million dollar investment standing tall. Now, they see it as a key building block to the reemerging downtown.
The museum doors flooded with locals, tourists and developers who all wanted to get a first hand look inside. But for James Johnson, the displayed art holds a special place in his heart.
“That's a picture of our mother, our grandmother, and my sister,” said James Johnson, W.H. Johnson's Nephew.
His uncle was William H. Johnson, a Florence native. His paintings are featured in the new beginnings gallery.
Over the last 80 years, the organizers collected more than 15,000 objects to fill the new building. Betsy Olsen is just one of the many who contributed.
"It brings the world to the people of Florence. It it shows the world what the people of Florence are and have been," Olsen said.
Since 2008, staffers have worked to fill the four exhibit spaces, two of which will change at least on an annual basis.
Peggy Brown owns a coffee shop right across the street from the museum. She hopes it will bring her more customers.
"I think it's going to be absolutely wonderful for the Florence community, educational wise, tourist wise. I think it's something that we've all been waiting for," Brown explained.
Developers say this won't be the last milestone for downtown. In the meantime, they hope this museum will bring visitors to dine, shop and explore Florence.