Area Museum Association
100 North Main Street
South Carolina 29627
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
BAMA Board Members
Membership Application and Information
Heritage Days at the Depot October 5,
2013 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
[Link to Picasa Web Album]
Belton Museum Promotional Video on YouTube
Museum Musings Spring 2012
BAMA News and Events
Upstate Heritage Quilt Dedication
at Belton Depot June 23, 2013
News Release [PDF
Belton Gets Historic Marker
Belton'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.
Contact Shirah Heller at the Ruth
Drake Museum (338-7400) for
Ruth Drake Museum Wins Award
for "Heritage Days at the Depot"
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
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.
Depot Director/Museum Curator
Belton Area Museum Association
100 North Main Street
Belton, SC 29627
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM (Wednesdays - Thursdays)
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM (Friday)
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM (Saturday)