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Penn Center

Saint Helena Island, SC
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: History Museums, Historic Sites, Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Museums
Description: A significant African-American institution in the United States, its mission is to preserve the Sea Islands' history, culture and environment.
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54 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Joplin, Missouri
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
20 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2014

We stopped to check this out. No brochures could be found and noone offered to tell us about the place. Very cold reception and we felt Very Out of place.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Memphis, Tennessee
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2014

Penn Center is a poignant reminder of our far-too-recent past and far-too-real present. The video describing Penn Center's origin and history is well done, even moving; the setting of Penn Center truly beautiful; and the story of the people who have made Penn Center truly heroic and worthy of great pride. But like far too many places and situations in... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Melrose, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
17 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2014

Not only did I learn something new, but this facility provoked thought. I went home with questions and did some of my own research. Isn't that what a historical attraction can hope to achieve? The Penn Center was founded by two women in 1862 whose mission was to better the futures of freed slaves through education. What the Penn Center... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Evanston, Illinois
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
3 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2014

We so enjoyed our visit! The video is a must within the museum. It emphasizes the spirit and determination of these islanders to maintain the culture and land that is so dear to them. Beautiful photography throughout the museum. Take a trip for a half day- you won't be disappointed.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Bar Harbor, Maine
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2014

Beautiful location with an inspiring story to tell. A must stop for all ages. Would love to visit a 2nd time.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2014

This museum helps to tell the story of slavery in the Sea Islands, and that is a big part about what makes these islands so distinctive and so unforgettable. Allow time to read the wall labels and don't miss the newspaper article contemporary account of Robert Smalls' heroic and daring civil war escapade.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
miller Beach Indiana
18 reviews 18 reviews
6 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2014

We spent only a few hours touring the school and viewing the exhibits and movie. The school is full of fascinating history, so much we didn't know. The movie is hard to understand because of the dialect, the people of the area must speak differently, it was hard to follow and difficult to understand. Unfortunately the weather was quite cold... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Top Contributor
160 reviews 160 reviews
70 attraction reviews
124 helpful votes 124 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2013

This is the site of a school for children of freed slaves, built just after the Civil War and it stayed open until the 1970s. Unfortunately, all of this history is not well presented. There is a 20-minute video that emphasizes more recent times (1960s, civil rights movements, etc) but never tells how the place was set up, by who,... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Alexandria, Virginia
Top Contributor
207 reviews 207 reviews
99 attraction reviews
219 helpful votes 219 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2013

Sadly, during my two week business trip to the area, I could only get out of work early enough one day to visit Penn Center. Even then, I did not have enough time to see the 30-minute orientation video. Penn Center closes at 4 p.m. I had time to visi the Bailey Museum then to go over next door to... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Collierville, Tennessee
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2013

The movie and museum were well done and informative, but when it came to walking around the property to see the buildings, I didn't know where to begin or actually if all the buildings I could see were a part of the Center. I wandered into the lobby of another building that looked to be offices and a lady finally... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
Michael C, Penn Center at Penn Center, responded to this review

Greetings! I am Michael A. Campi, the new Executive Director here at Penn Center. I want to express my profound gratitude for your candid (on-target!) appraisal of your recent visit. Your objective observations are very valuable to us, as we embark on making demonstrative changes to the "Penn Center Experience." I invite you to visit our website: www.penncenter.com for updates... More

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