Charleston, South Carolina State Museum close to deal to send Calhoun statue to Columbia

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 3:58 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2022 at 11:20 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A statue of former United States Vice President John C. Calhoun could soon find a new home in a museum in the state’s capital.

The City of Charleston and the South Carolina State Museum said Monday they are close to a deal that would move the Calhoun statue to Columbia.

The statue was removed from Marion Square in Charleston in June 2020 after a unanimous vote from the Charleston City Council, a month after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

Calhoun was the seventh vice president of the U.S., and his support of slavery prompted calls for the statue’s removal.

“As I’ve said from the start, I don’t support erasing history, but rather, serious efforts to place complicated figures such as Mr. Calhoun in their full context,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said. “And, in this instance, I can’t imagine a more appropriate institution to perform that valuable public service than the SC State Museum.”

As part of the deal, the city would loan the statue to the museum, who would be responsible for transporting it to Columbia, as well as maintaining and preserving it.

“The State Museum looks forward to working with Mayor Tecklenburg and the City of Charleston,” South Carolina State Museum Commission Chairman John F. McCabe said. “We believe the museum will be an important resource in determining an appropriate resolution to the care and interpretation of the monument.”

Brett Barry, the president of the American Heritage Association, an organization that advocates to protect historical monuments, said in a statement:

“The woke movement believes most monuments should be removed from the public square and displayed in museums as oddities of the past. From a state policy perspective, this would set a dangerous precedent that the State Museum is now a repository for South Carolina’s monuments.”

A final decision as to the monument’s fate has not been made yet.

An agreement would need to be approved by the SC State Museum Commission and Charleston City Council.

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