The building that was once the Avery Normal Institute, the first accredited secondary school for African Americans in Charleston, is now the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston, The center recently reopened after a two-year renovation and is a fascinating way to experience Charleston history.

Originally constructed in 1867, the 153 year old building houses a variety of historical documents and artifacts, as well as permanent exhibits highlighting African American culture and history. To mark its reopening, the Avery Center is hosting a series of new exhibits, including:

Since 1920: Zeta Phi Beta Centennial – The Gamma Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated presents a centennial exhibit filled with the rich history of the sorority in print and paraphernalia.

The Water Keeps Rising – Hip-hop artist and activist Benny Starr will be creating an interactive exhibit based on data from the Avery’s State of Racial Disparities Report in Charleston County. This exhibit will create an immersive experience for visitors.

Resilient – Local artist Chris “Kolpeace” Johnson will highlight the power of being resilient with this work that recognizes African Americans who have shown strength through adversity including the late local activist Muhiyidin D’baha and Cyntoia Brown, who faced life in prison after being convicted of homicide as a juvenile.

The African Origins of Mathematics – Charleston resident and artist Robert “King David” Ross highlights the direct impact Africa has had on modern mathematics in this exhibit. Showcasing the first math instrument, the Ishango bone, the exhibit allows visitors to see the influence Africa has had on every aspect of life.

The Avery Research Center is located at 125 Bull Street in downtown Charleston.
The center is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm and is free to the public.
Guided tours are available at 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm and 3:30pm.
For more information, call 843-953-7609 or visit www.avery.cofc.edu.