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Penn Center

Closed Now: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Open today: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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  • Excellent47%
  • Very good34%
  • Average16%
  • Poor2%
  • Terrible1%
Travelers talk about
“gullah culture”(21 reviews)
“civil war”(16 reviews)
“freed slaves”(15 reviews)
Tucked in the heart of the South Carolina Sea Islands surrounded by glimmering marshes and nestled beneath the silvery moss-draped limbs of massive live oaks, is Penn Center. It is the site of the former Penn School, one of the country's first...more
Closed Now
Hours Today: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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Suggested duration: 2-3 hours
16 Penn Center Cir W, Saint Helena Island, SC 29920-5302
+1 843-838-2432
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Reviews (172)
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All reviews gullah culture civil war freed slaves martin luther king african americans gift shop welcome center famous speech mlk jr history lesson american life sacred place the cottages important piece of history min video staff was friendly historical context
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11 - 20 of 172 reviews
Reviewed April 7, 2018 via mobile

Penn Center was founded by Laura Townes from Philadelphia during the second year of the Civil War. It was founded as a school to teach formerly enslaved people. It remained a school for the African American population in Beaufort County until the second half of...More

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank Fletch1946
Reviewed March 27, 2018 via mobile

Cost is $7 a person for the museum. You pay in the welcome center the go to the museum. The docent working had been a former student. There are random items and books to purchase in the welcome center. There is a 20 minute video...More

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank Kristi G
Reviewed March 21, 2018

I believe what took place at Penn Center is a very important part of our history. I thought the whole thing could have been presented with a bit more clarity.I was also disappointed that the other buildings were not available for perusal. The Gullah-geechee culture...More

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank Mainelytravel
Reviewed March 1, 2018

The museum explains and documents the history and evolution of this school for freed slaves from reconstruction to present time. We were guided to watch a 20 minute video by one of the last students of the school. The video is a must see to...More

Date of experience: February 2018
1  Thank Linda M
Reviewed February 22, 2018

Visited here before Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma which closed the Hunting Island Campground where we usually stay each February. However, visited this establishment in 2016. The staff was friendly and the museum most interesting and well-done.

Date of experience: March 2017
Thank pattiz64
Reviewed February 16, 2018

today it did not seem to be very tourist friendly, maybe because we did not want to spend seven dollars each to go in the museum (mostly because our time was limited. ) I was given a map, but I found it hard to understand....More

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank JuneNY
Reviewed January 16, 2018 via mobile

As retirees, we have been interested in learning about our countries history and the institutions that make the US such a great nation. We were hoping a visit to the Penn Center would give us a greater understanding of the reconstruction era and how it...More

Date of experience: January 2018
1  Thank don9290
Reviewed October 26, 2017

The Penn Center is an African-American cultural and education center, we visited on Saint-Helena Island, while on tour with our senior citizens group. The first building we went into we saw a film, and an exhibit area. There was a man Mr. Milton who was...More

Date of experience: October 2017
Thank brontz
Reviewed October 26, 2017

Unlike some of the other reviews, I did not find this place a disappointment at all. Maybe it's because I had already researched and knew the history behind the Penn Center and campus, and about the time MLK Jr spent there, along with other civil...More

Date of experience: October 2017
2  Thank southernfoodgal
Reviewed August 22, 2017

We stopped here spur of the moment and w/o prep. We had a very interesting discussion with a couple of guides at the front desk and got a great tip about a sweetgrass basket weaver whose work I admired at the center. Do not miss...More

Date of experience: August 2017
1  Thank Laura M
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
hotels (5 Replies)
Need a hotel within walking distance to 2601 N. Third St., One Penn Center, Harrisburg. Can anyone help? A cab would be ok also. Thanks
July 02, 2011|
Response fromFlyEagle|
There are no hotels in the immediate area of 2601 North Third Street. You are in a somewhat residential neighborhood near the Polyclinic Campus of Pinnacle Health. Your closest hotels would be the Hilton Inn or Crowne Plaza in downtown Harrisburg or a Days Inn at 3919 North Front Street. Either would be a short cab ride.
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Special Museum Program 4/22 (0 Replies)
The Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn will host Evelene Stevenson as Laura Towne on Monday, April 22nd at 3 pm. This living history of the origins of the Penn Center will feature Stevenson, a re-enactor and owner of The Spirit of Old Beaufort historic touring company, as a first-person, living history. Donned in period costume, she will portray the real-life character of Laura Towne, a dedicated abolitionist and educator from Pennsylvania. Towne arrived in the Sea Islands in...More
April 12, 2013|
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Some questions and seeking comments on upcoming trip (8 Replies)
I will be arriving on a Saturday, flying in. We plan on taking the train (R1 line) to the Penn Center Station stop and walking to our hotel at 16th and Chestnut. We plan on dropping off our luggage and walking over to the Reading Terminal Market for some food. On the list is the Roast Pork from Dinnic's and sampling some other goodies. Then a walk down to the Libert Bell Center. Do we need a ticket to view the Liberty Bell or is this only to go inside Independence Hall. I am concerned...More
March 31, 2010|
Response fromLoonbeam|
At the game, I recommend Bull's BBQ - licensed by Greg Luzinski, he's often there to sign autographs. Walk around the entire stadium, its quite nice. The NL Championship and WS trophies may or may not be on display.