Belton Area Museum Association
100 North Main Street
Belton, South Carolina  29627

Mission Statement:  The Belton Area Museum Association's purpose is to collect, exhibit, preserve, and interpret the artifacts, sites, antiquities, and genealogical, archival, cultural, and natural history of Belton, SC, Anderson, SC, and the State of South Carolina.  BAMA also provides cultural enrichment, intellectual stimulation, learning opportunities, and activities to increase the appreciation of the traditional, visual, and performing arts.

BAMA Board Members
Membership Application and Information


The Animal Kingdom from A to Z
 Exhibit at Belton Depot

[PDF files]


Heritage Days at the Depot October 4, 2014 from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM


Community Members Share History of Belton
with Amber Tysl's 5th Grade GT Class

Shirah Smith, BAMA Director, discussed the historic landmarks in Belton; Jay West, City Councilman, talked about our city government; Betsy Chapman, BCA Director, shared our cultural history; Dale Lynch, pastor at Belton First Baptist, revealed the city's long religious background; Gene Clinkscales talked about the mills in the city; and Charlie Bill Martin, former owner of Wilson's Dime Store, reminisced about the businesses on the Square during his lifetime.

Photo Album 
[Link to Picasa Web Album]


Belton Museum Promotional Video on YouTube

BAMA Newsletter:  Museum Musings  Spring 2012

Upstate Heritage Quilt Dedication
Belton Gets Historic Marker
Belton Train Depot Restoration Wins Historic Preservation Award

Ruth Drake Museum Wins Award

Construction & Reconstruction of the Depot - website

Grand Opening (& Photos) for Historic Belton Depot & Museums

Depot Re-dedication Ceremony

Historic Items for Sale

8th Annual Heritage Days at the Depot

South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame Museum
(A Nintendo Wii system is located in the Tennis Hall of Fame - no charge to play.)

BAMA News and Events


Upstate Heritage Quilt Dedication
 at Belton Depot June 23, 2013
Dedication Program     News Release  
[PDF files]

Belton Gets Historic Marker

Confederate Strongbox Recovered from Sherman by Mans JollyBelton's Historic Marker Dedication was held Sunday, January 31, 2010 at the depot with over 100 people in attendance.  The marker commemorates Belton's founding as a railroad town on the Greenville & Columbia line.  Donations received from members of the community funded the historic marker.  It was unveiled by Rufus Callaham, mayor of Belton and Nancy Johnson, owner of Pickens Railroad.  The marker committee was headed by Don Kay of the Belton Area Museum Association.  During the program Margaret Cole acknowledged the Ruth Drake Museum's largest acquisition of genealogical materials to date, the Gambrell papers donated by Mr. Wyatt Gambrell.  Alison Darby presented an informative and entertaining slideshow presentation on the history of Belton as a railroad town.  Guests were entertained prior to the dedication by cellist Brenda Leonard and enjoyed the new exhibit Railroads:  Tracks from the Past.  The historic marker was on display to the public through Saturday, April 17th, after which it was placed on the grounds of the Historic Belton Train Depot.


Belton Train Depot Wins
Historic Preservation Award
March 27, 2008


Pictured are Front Row:  Agnes Willcox, President of the Palmetto Trust;  Bill Lloyd, Anderson County Project Engineer; Michael Cunningham, Anderson County Deputy Administrator; Alison Darby, BAMA President during the renovation; Shirah Smith, BAMA Director; Back Row:  Rodger Stroup, Director of the SC Department of Archives and History; Ed Zeigler, representing the architectural firm Craig, Gaulden, and Davis; Mike Bedenbaugh, Executive Director of the Palmetto Trust, and Jim Marshall, BAMA board member. 

The Belton Area Museum Association, Anderson County, and the Belton Area Partnership were presented with the Heritage Tourism Award recognizing these organizations for their use of historic resources in promoting tourism in South Carolina through the restoration of the Historic Belton Train Depot.  The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation handed out the 2008 Heritage Tourism Award at the opening session of the Landmark and Preservation Conference in Greenville.

"Restoring the Belton Train Depot was important to our community because the railroad is why Belton was founded," said Shirah Heller, Director of the Belton Area Museum Association.

A museum and venue for bluegrass music for many years, the almost century-old train depot underwent renovation in 2006 to restore its flooring, termite-damaged and plagued with asbestos, and tackle other problems.  Inspections also revealed needs for renovating the HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems.

Thanks to grants from the S.C. Budget and Control Board and the Anderson Area Transportation Study, and matching funds from Anderson County, this project was made possible.  Local individuals and businesses donated thousands of dollars in monies, in-kind services and resources to ensure the success of the renovation.

With new hardwood flooring, and HVAC system that meets museum standards, handicap accessibility, repaired and newly painted walls and updates to the plumbing and electrical systems, the Belton Train Depot was rededicated on October 26, 2006.  A grand re-opening on March 27, 2007 featured food, games, period attire and tours of the renovated space for the nearly 500 attendees.

"Since the renovations have been completed, the depot has become an even greater asset to our community," said Heller.

Continued...  Next Page

Contact Shirah Heller at the Ruth Drake Museum (338-7400) for more information.


Ruth Drake Museum Wins Award
for "Heritage Days at the Depot"Lou Bolton & Alison Darby (L-R)

The Belton Area Museum Association is proud to announce that The Ruth Drake Museum is now an award-winning museum.  The Belton Area Museum Association has been awarded the top honor in the state among member museums in South Carolina.

Each year, the SC Federation of Museums selects an organization to receive its Award of Achievement.  For hosting the event "Heritage Days at the Depot," organizing and manning the event solely by volunteers, obtaining significant patronage from business partners and foundations, and providing the community with a quality artistic and historical experience, the Belton Area Museum Association was recognized as the most deserving of all museums who had applied for the honor.

"Your organization exemplifies what this award was designed for," stated selection committee member Susan Turpin Illner.  "It is presented to museums who have created an exhibit, program, or publication which demonstrates excellent utilization of the resources available to that institution.  It's amazing that you were able to accomplish this three-day event with just volunteers."

The award was accepted by Depot Manager/Museum Curator Lou Bolton at the annual spring conference in March 2007.

"It was just breath-taking to have the selection committee announce that our little museum beat out the big institutions like the Charleston Museum, York County Museum, and the SC State Museum for this honor," said Ms. Bolton.  "They even gave us a standing ovation.  I was just thrilled!"

The plaque announcing this honor is proudly displayed at the Ruth Drake Museum and all subsequent press releases can advertise "Heritage Days at the Depot" as an award-winning event.

"Heritage Days at the Depot" was a three-day event (Oct. 5 -7, 2006), run solely by volunteers, showcased the talents of 12 folk and traditional skill artisans.  On Thursday and Friday, 1148 teachers, parent volunteers, and children in grades 1-3 in Anderson County School Districts attended sessions with various artisans.  On Saturday, over 7,000 people attended informal discussion and demonstration sessions.

"Heritage Days at the Depot" has helped to foster in our community a greater understanding and appreciation for the traditional arts and skills of our forefathers.

Congratulations are due to Alison Darby and the Board Members and volunteers for this well-deserved honor and thanks for all the hard work, time, and imagination that a project like this involves.



Shirah Smith, Depot Director/Museum Curator
Belton Area Museum Association
100 North Main Street
Belton, SC  29627
Phone:  338-7400

Museum hours: 
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM  (Wednesdays - Thursdays)
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM  (Friday)
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM  (Saturday)



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Belton Alliance - PO Box 368 - Belton, SC  29627