In 1997, the Museum of York County in Rock Hill, SC, and the York County Historical Commission merged to create the York County Culture and Heritage Commission.
Museum of York County
In 1950 the Junior Welfare League opened the Museum of York County as the Children’s Nature Museum of Rock Hill. Exhibits and programming have always included not only natural history, but also cultural history, the arts, and content for adults as well as for children. In 1952 the museum held the earliest known exhibit of Catawba Indian pottery, featuring potters active at that time.
Decades of growth
Maurice Stans donated the Stans African animal collection in the late 1950s. A new building opened in 1965 featuring dioramas showcasing the African collection. The museum also maintained programming and exhibits on local history, regional natural history, and the arts. The Settlemyre Planetarium opened in 1977; in 1978, the museum became repository for the Vernon Grant collection of illustration art by the originator of Snap!® Crackle!® Pop!®.
York County Historical Commission
The York County Historical Commission was created in 1959 to preserve and maintain a former York County plantation then in a dilapidated state. The Brattonsville Historic District was listed on the National Register in 1971 and named Historic Brattonsville. Restoration was sporadically pursued until the 1980s, when work became more focused, and continues today.
In 1989, the commission established the Historical Center of York County in York, SC. The Historical Center, located in the McCelvey Center, is the repository for county records and holds extensive collections of documents and photographs related to county history.
The McCelvey Center building has been the home of many institutions dedicated to education. The current facility is comprised of sections constructed in 1903, 1922, and 1956. In 1987 the York School District turned over ownership and operation of the building and one acre of land to McCelvey Center for use as a community and performing arts center. In 2001, following the 1997 merger, the York County Culture and Heritage Commission assumed operation of McCelvey Center.
York County Culture and Heritage Commission
In 2003 a new Culture & Heritage Museums logo and brand was adopted, and in 2004 the Culture and Heritage Commission adopted a revised mission statement.
The Culture & Heritage Museums are managed by the Cultural and Heritage Commission of York County. The Culture and Heritage Foundation supports the CHC and its museums.