Fritz Hamer is leaving the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia. For the last 25 years, Hamer has been the curator of Cultural History and a major player in the history scene in South Carolina. He has been with the Museum since it “was in a bunch of office buildings on Devine Street”
This week, I spoke with Hamer at his State Museum office.
Hamer says he is leaving the Museum with “mixed emotions, a lot of things have happened, some really good ones, some rather disappointing. My roots are here. I’m going to miss a lot of people.”
Asked what his greatest achievement at the Museum was, Hamer replied, “developing relationships around the state that have benefited the museum, especially with exhibits and with content and programming. In a nutshell, that’s the best thing I have contributed.”
Hamer has overseen many exhibits in 25 years at the Museum. Asked about the most significant, he said, “My favorite was the exhibit on the home front in World War II in 1991. Very little was out there in published material and I helped pull some of this together and turn it into an exhibit.” Hamer said that he published a book and several articles based on this exhibit. He also mentioned the exhibit “Changing Minds & Opening Doors” dealing with the first 100 years of mental health care in South Carolina. This exhibit ran in 1994.
Asked about his greatest disappointment, Hamer stated, “it’s been sad to watch our staff decline. When I came here, we had about 70 full-time employees and now, as I’m about to leave we’re down to about 22, and it’s been tough to keep it going.”
Hamer is leaving the Museum to work as the Curator of Published Materials at the University of South Carolina Caroliniana Library. His last day at the Museum is Friday, September 2nd.
On a personal note: it has been my privilege to work with Fritz Hamer on various projects at the Museum. He always has been a great guy to work with and someone I’ve learned a lot about SC History from in my capacity as a Museum volunteer. I, and a whole bunch of other people, will miss him. Good luck, Fritz!
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