Beaufort History Museum to hold exhibit on fish camps 'Goin Down the River'

Local author and photographer Janet Garrity’s new book Goin’ Down the River, Fish Camps of the Sea Islands has sparked interest in a tradition that spans more than 250 years of history in the Sea Islands. This interest can be seen up close and personal at a new exhibition that opens on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at the Beaufort History Museum.

The exhibit, “Goin’ Down the River,” will feature photographs from Garrity’s book and a handcrafted model of a fish camp by Dennis Cannady. The photographic display will include old photos that demonstrate the history of “goin’ down the river” and Garrity’s original photos that capture the essence of fish camps and their natural surroundings.

“Fish camps are as familiar to South Carolina as shrimp boats, crab pots and plantations,” Garrity said. ‘Goin’ down the river to the camp’ is a very old, generational ritual in this part of the world, and my book is a means of preserving the tradition. In that spirit, what better place to hold a photographic exhibit of an historic activity native to this area than the Beaufort History Museum?”

When Garrity’s book first hit the shelves of local stores, Katherine Lang, president of the Beaufort History Museum, wasted no time in approaching Garrity about showing her work at the museum. “When I learned about Goin’ Down the River, Fish Camps of the Sea Islands, I immediately went to Janet’s web site to look at her photographs. I thought they were wonderful, so I went to her first book signing in late September, bought a copy of the book, and right on the spot asked Janet to consider an exhibit with us. We met soon after and agreed the subject matter fit with the museum’s mission, so we started work putting together this fine exhibit.”

The “Goin’ Down the River” exhibit’s opening night reception will be held Thursday, December 13, 2012, from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at Beaufort’s City Hall, home to the History Museum. For reservations to the opening night reception, send a check for $25.00 per person (non-members) or $20.00 per person (members) to Beaufort History Museum, 1911 Boundary Street, Beaufort, SC 29902. In addition to being among the first to view the exhibit, reception guests will be entertained by the music of The Bull Grapes (Kirk Dempsey and Adam Grenade) and have opportunity to meet Janet Garrity and purchase a signed copy of her book. A portion of the proceeds from book sales that night will be donated to the History Museum. Ticket prices include admission to the exhibit and cocktail foods, featuring barbecue and oysters. Wine and beer will be available for purchase. The exhibit will be on display until January 26, 2012.