North Myrtle Beach Historical Museum & Toy Time Exhibit
We were enticed to the North Myrtle Beach area by an interactive, hands-on Toy Time exhibit featuring giant wooden folk toys created from 300 year old designs – toys that tumbled, slid, rocked, and danced, all because of gravity, inertia, and rhythm. However, we were delighted to find out that the building was home to a permanent North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum!
Kelly, my seven-year-old daughter, Hannah, and I arrived on a Sunday afternoon and found the museum off of Hwy 17 Bypass at the intersection of 2nd Avenue North and Ye Olde Kings Highway (the location creeps up on you quickly!). Upon entering we were greeted cheerfully and told that the permanent museum collection was on our left and the travelling Toy Time exhibit was on our right. Much to Hannah’s dismay, I suggested we start with the permanent collection first.
The museum is laid out in a way that you can follow the timeline and growth of the North Myrtle Beach area, starting from when the area was inhabited by Native Americans. On display are various photographs and artifacts from farm life in the area, hurricane damage, resort life, school life, and the history of the dance: the Shag (did you know that North Myrtle Beach is the birthplace of the Shag dance? And that the official men’s Shagging shoe is called a Weejun?). There are also display cases featuring native marine life with shells from the area, sharks teeth, and information on sea turtles.
There are many photo opportunities that allow you the chance to take a snapshot of history from the North Myrtle Beach area including a crescent moon cut-out replica that sat on Ocean Drive, a lifeguard stand, an old hair dryer you sit under, and a jukebox that plays real records next to a wooden dance floor. The jukebox is fully functioning and Hannah selected a song to which we danced. There are dresses on display from a past Miss North Myrtle Beach and some shoes worn by North Myrtle Beach native, Vanna White. One exhibit offered a short video featuring the Jim Caudle Artificial Reef located two and a half miles off the Little River shoreline, as well as the location of other artificial reefs along the South Carolina coast.
We finished our tour of the museum at the Toy Time exhibit which was exactly what I had hoped it would be. Giant wooden frames were located throughout the room featuring toys such as Jacob’s Ladder, a rocking horse, Appalachian loggers, and a racing game that taught children how to milk cows (if you pulled the strings too fast your person wouldn’t move, but if you alternated your hands in a slow, rhythmic motion, your person moved quickly to the top and won the race!) Each toy had a placard that explained how to “play” it, what method of science it used (gravity, levers, etc.), and if the toy had a purpose. There were also mind-boggling wooden puzzles challenging you to find a wooden coin in a box, make a “T” out of six misshapen pieces of wood, and construct a 3-D box. Hannah made sure we visited each toy twice, and Kelly and I enjoyed playing with the toys and figuring them out too.
The North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum offers changing short-term exhibits, children’s programs about the marine environment, field trip opportunities, and book signings.
If you are looking for something entertaining to do on a rainy day, check out this educational new favorite place of mine!
The museum is open Monday thru Saturday from 10am to 4pm and on Sunday from 12pm to 4pm. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 4-12 years old, free for children under 4 years old, and $5 for seniors, students and military personnel with ID. Memberships are also available.
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