S.C. State Museum Roadshow brings out the artifacts and the curious

Dr. Jack Meyer

The Museum Roadshow is one of the most-popular days at the S.C. State Museum.

And Saturday’s Roadshow drew a crowd with family heirlooms, antique store curios and garage sale guesses. There were experts on silver, military equipment, art and jewelry on hand to track the history of the artifacts and appraise the value in many cases.

“We only hold the Roadshow once a year,” said Celeste Wszola, the museum’s public programs director. It does very, very well and we have a really good turnout today.

Wszola said the museum gets inquiries about the Roadshow six months ahead of time.”It’s one of our most popular events,” she said. And the ages of the attendees ranged from young and up.

Matthew Ployhart, 14, of Chapin came with his mom, Lynn. He studied World War I in the seventh grade. He brought a military dress hat and some trench art, made from mortar shell casings, to have it appraised by Dr. Jack Meyer, an expert on the value antique guns, Militaria, coins and currency.

Cravens Ravenel, and his daughter Virginia Ravenel, brought two art pieces for fine art appraiser Amy Crane to inspect.

“This one is worth anywhere from $250-to-$400, Virginia Ravenel said after presenting a painting to Crane. She said the early twentieth-century work was from an Italian artist. But another art piece that appeared to be a product of Sumter-born artist Robert Courtwright could likely be worth up-to $10,000. Paul Matheny, the museum’s director of collections, confirmed that it was a work by Courtwright, who worked out of New York City and Europe. Matheny said the museum had displayed a collection of Courtyard’s work. “It’s a really nice piece,” Matheny said.

Kim and Hollis Snead of Chapin brought a painting, a family heirloom, of a Native American girl holding a corn doll. Thom Kuhn, a Native American expert, told them the Nicholai Fechin art looked like it was from 1921 and could be Taos-related in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“It’s very sought-after art,” said Kim Snead. The piece could be worth four figures. The Sneads were waiting for Crane to appraise the painting.

Linda Cook of Lexington had an 1877 portrait of a mysterious man. She said the painting was purchased at an antique store in Ballentine.

“It’s by the same artist who has a painting of (Gen.) Stonewall Jackson in the Smithsonian,” said Cook.

She said Crane is going to conduct a facial recognition effort to see if she can identify the man in the portrait.