Throughout the year, the Museum offers lectures and discussions about the Lowcountry’s history, culture, and environment. Topics vary and guest presenters come from around the region.

Select weekdays (typically Wednesdays)  from  August–May the Discovery Lecture Series is offered.
$7 per person (for the majority of programs)
Reservations required: call 843 689 6767 ext. 223 or register online.

The Coastal Discovery Museum also offers aHistory Forum” series.  Check the event calendar or call for other lectures, talks and guest speakers offered throughout the year. These programs are $10 per person for non members, $5 for basic members,and free for supporting and above membership levels.

Discovery Lectures – 2017:


Colonial Nesting Birds of SC – Seabirds and Wading Birds

Wednesday, March 29th – 3 PM, $7 per person
Presented by Tom Murphy

Colonial Nesting Sea and Wading birds present particular management concerns in that a large percentage of a species can be located in just a few nesting locations.  This means that the loss of just a few nesting sites can impact the entire species in the state.  Historically, several wading bird colonies supported more than 10,000 nesting pairs.  Following SCDNR’s work with the endangered Brown Pelican they expanded our work to include additional seabird species.  Likewise their work with the Endangered Wood Stork was expanded to include additional wading bird species. Murphy will document the monitoring and management activities of SCDNR over a period of several decades.  During this time a variety of census techniques for colonial nesting birds in South Carolina were implemented and the agency established baseline population data.  During survey years SCDNR counted over 59,000 wading bird nests of 14 species at over 100 colonies.  In addition, they counted over 20,000 seabird nests of 11 species at 76 colonies. Tom Murphy, a retired biologist from the South Carolina Department of Natural resources who was in charge of endangered species during his long career, will share his knowledge of the natural history and nesting behavior of the diverse colonial nesting birds of the Lowcountry and the efforts in place to protect them. Register Here

Manatees in South Carolina

Wednesday, April 5 th – 3 PM, $7 per person
Presented by Dr. Al Segars, SCDNR

Surprising to many in South Carolina, we appear to have anexpanding population of Florida Manatees that spend the warmer months in our local waters. Join Dr. Al Segars of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and learn about these amazing creatures, their stay in our local waters and how we impact them in positive….and negative ways. Dr Al Segars is a veterinarian with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources with a long carrier studying the endangered and threatened species in our coast.  Register Here


Zika Virus: What are the risks from Zika and other mosquito-transmitted viruses in the Lowcountry and Caribbean?

Wednesday, April 12th – 3 PM, $7 per person
Presented by Dr. John Edman

One domesticated African mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is primarily responsible for the spread of yellow fever, dengue fever, Chikungunya and now Zika in the New World.  A related more cold tolerant Asian mosquito, Aedes albopictus, also has invaded the Americas in recent years and can transmit these same viruses.  Recent introduction of Zika virus into Brazil and its rapid spread throughout South and Central American and the Caribbean Islands has raised new and greater concerns about these two imported mosquito species and the expanding disease threat that they pose in the United States. Limited outbreaks of Dengue have occurred recently in Texas, Florida and Hawaii so a similar pattern could occur with Zika virus when people infected in the Caribbean or other parts of Latin America bring it to the U.S. This lecture will contrast the biology and distribution of these two vector mosquitoes and how they are able to maintain and transmit flaviviruses to people.  The disease symptoms and threat posed to the U.S., and South Carolina in particular, will be discussed along with ways to protect yourself when traveling to areas known to have Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya viruses.

Dr. John D. Edman retired to Sun City Hilton Head after a 40 year academic career of teaching, research and administration at the University of California, Davis, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory.  His broad interests in the behavior and ecology of blood-feeding arthropods and the infectious diseases they transmit, resulted in nearly 200 research publications, reviews, book chapters and a text for graduate and advance undergraduate students. Register Here

Responsible Oystering in the Lowcountry

Wednesday, April 26th – 3 PM, $7 per person
Presented by Andrew Carmines

A native of Hilton Head Island, Andrew Carmines grew up exploring the salt marshes and coastal environments of the Lowcountry. Andrew has always been interested in the ocean, and feels most at home on the waters of Port Royal Sound. Andrew is the General Manager at Hudson’s Seafood Restaurant on Hilton Head Island. In 2013 Andrew founded the  Shell Ring Oyster Company, an environmentally positive Mariculture operation, and Oyster Shellstock Shipper. Andrew will discuss in detail, the process of producing single oysters from the brood stock, to the hatchery, to the upweller, and ultimately to the consumer.  The process is detailed and heartbreaking at times.  Andrew will take the attendees through the process from start to finish, and also answer any questions on where the project is going, and what the future holds for Oyster Farming in the Lowcountry.

Carmines is currently the General Manager of Hudson’s seafood restaurant in addition to operating his oyster farming company. In addition, he is the founder of the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival, the major fundraising arm for the DMC Foundation. He has also been a staff member of the Coastal Discovery Museum’s Sea Turtle Protection Project and served on many local agencies’ boards of directors. Register Here

History Forum:


Growing up in Beaufort in the 1950s and 1960s

April 19, 2017 -3 PM – Presented by Bernie Schein –  Sponsored in part by:Reservations: Please call 843-689-6767, ext. 224

Bernie Schein was a lifelong friend of another famous Lowcountry author, Pat Conroy, who wrote, “Bernie Schein is the funniest man alive, or so he has dogmatically maintained during burdensome decades I have known him.”  Conroy continues, “Bernie has staked his claim on the literary landscape of the South.” Schein will discuss what it was like growing up in Beaufort, South Carolina, in the 1950s and 1960s where everyone in town knew everyone else, making everyone either famous or infamous.  Schein says, “A stranger in town was as rare and odd as a UFO settling on the banks of the Beaufort River; but although we all knew each other or thought we did, what we didn’t know was far more powerful and important than what we did know.”  Listen to Schein recall spirited stories about Beaufort’s residents that will leave you laughing, infuriated, and compassionate.  Hear what it meant to live in the modern South as white, black, Jewish, Christian, military, civilian, sane, insane, young, old, male, female, gay, and straight.

BASF and Conservation in Beaufort County

May 17, 3 PM – Presented by Dr. William Bryan, Georgia State College

Reservations: Please call 843-689-6767, ext. 224

basf captain dave smallerIn 1969, an unlikely coalition of African American fishermen, vacationers, environmental activists, and developersjoined hands to block the construction of a massive petrochemical plant by the BASF corporation near Hilton Head Island. What began as a local issue quickly became a test case for the growing power of environmentalism nationally, and an indicator of the sweep of the first Earth Day—one of the largest mass demonstrations in American history. This talk will consider how this local environmental battle blossomed into a quintessential national example of the growing concern for the environment in the 1970s, and how such a diverse group of activists were able to bridge their differences to  keislander ad basfep BASF from building in the Lowcountry. William D. Bryan is an historian and educator in Atlanta, Georgia, where he teaches at Georgia State University. Bryan’s work explores topics related to American environmental history, sustainability, economic development, tourism, and the American South. His first book will be published soon.  The Price of Permanence: Nature and Business in the New South (under contract with the University of Georgia Press) explores how nature conservation shaped the American South in the years after the Civil War. Bryan earned a Ph.D. in history from the Pennsylvania State University in 2013.