Charleston Museum board votes against housing John C. Calhoun statue

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – An official home for the John C. Calhoun statue which once towered over Marion Square in downtown Charleston has not yet been identified.

The statue was removed on June 24th.

Charleston City Councilman Harry Griffin said the Charleston Museum Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees voted Wednesday night to not accept the statue.

The museum cited the statue’s height and their lack of space, along with the idea that Calhoun was not a Charleston figure.

The vote was unanimous. You can read a statement from the museum below:

It is the recommendation of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees to not accept the relocation of the statue of John C. Calhoun recently removed from Marion Square to The Charleston Museum. The Museum’s collection acquisitions are governed by its Collections Policy, most recently reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees in November 2019. Section IV.A.14 of the policy notes that “the size and weight of any individual object should be such that it can be accommodated by Museum personnel and facilities.” As such, the statue, at over 12’ in height would be unable to fit in the Museum’s freight elevator, making it inaccessible to the second floor, and at roughly 6,000 lbs., would require reinforcement to the floor. The Museum lobby space is limited and used frequently for Museum and outside organization events, which would preclude its being placed there. The only other possible space is the Museum Courtyard, a primary entranceway to the Museum open to the public during Museum operating hours, meaning the statue would be going from one public space to another.

While we recognize that John C. Calhoun was a man of significant national historical importance, he was not a Charleston figure and as such his biographical history does not fit in with the Museum’s general purpose and mission of interpreting the cultural and natural history of Charleston and the Lowcountry. Moreover, the Museum has not traditionally collected statuary of political figures.

The Museum fully supports the relocation of the Calhoun statue to an educational institution that can most appropriately interpret it.

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