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  October–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 a History Forum of the Lowcountry 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. The 2017-18 topics are listed below.

Discovery Lectures – 2018 – 19:

The Coastal Discovery Museum’s Discovery Lecture Series will be offered weekly in the fall beginning in early October. Please check the online calendar (or follow the links below) to register.


Responsible Oystering in the Lowcountry

Wednesday, December 19th – 3 PM – $7 per person
Andrew Carmines – Founder of Shell Ring Oyster Company, General Manager of Hudson’s Seafood Restaurant

Join us and meet Andrew Carmines, a native of the lowcountry, born and raised on Hilton Head Island. Carmines grew up exploring the salt marshes and coastal environments of the lowcountry. He has always been interested om 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 he founded the Shell Ring Oyster Company, an environmentally positive Marciculture operation, and Oyster Shellstock Shipper. He 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. Register Here.

Biogeography of The Carolinas

Wednesday January 9th– 3 pm -$7 per person
Dr. Chris Marsh-Executive Director of both the Spring Island Trust and the LowCountry Institute

Dr Marsh has over 40 years of experience working in habitats throughout North and South Carolina.   For the past 16 years he has served as Executive Director of both the Spring Island Trust and the LowCountry Institute, prior to moving to the Lowcountry, Dr. Marsh was a biology professor at Coastal Carolina University where he taught ornithology, ecology, and animal behavior.Dr. Chris Marsh will give a bird’s eye view of the biogeographical regions of the Carolinas, discussing how unique habitats add to the region’s diversity of plants and animals. Register Here.

Plastic Waste in the Lowcountry

Wednesday, January 10th – 3 PM $7 per person
Michelle Meissen – Palmetto Ocean Conservancy

Michelle Meissen, Founder/CEO Palmetto Ocean Conservancy, Guardians of the Sea will discuss the impact of the plastic industry in our oceans and our environment. Palmetto Ocean Conservancy has started several local efforts with the goal to spread awareness and encourage recycling and recovery of plastic. Come and learn about the impact plastic waste in our lowcountry environment and the things you can do to help.  Register Here.

Lowcountry Dolphins

Wednesday January 16th– 3 pm-$7 per person
M.S. Pete Schramm-Master Naturalist and Dolphin Enthusiast

Dolphins are a diverse and fascinating group, and watching them in their natural habitats can bring the patient observer considerable enjoyment. Often those brief encounters present the viewer with even more questions about the nature of dolphins. This talk will give the audience new insights into this fascinating creature. It is an excellent opportunity to acquire a broad knowledge and appreciation of the bottlenose dolphin. The talk includes an overview of dolphin anatomy, physiology, cognition, communication and social dynamics of these remarkable marine mammals. Conservation and captivity issues are also addressed.

Pete’s passion for the ocean began at a young age when he would spend his summers along the New Jersey shores, fishing and boating. After receiving his B.S. from Temple University in Philadelphia, P.A., he headed east and received his Master’s Degree at Monmouth University, Long Branch, N.J. where he further launched into a career in a variety of technical subjects as Director of Engineering at Bell Labs – Lucent Technologies. While his life’s work was removed from marine studies he remained interested in marine life and committed to the scientific principals he developed at Bell Labs. Retirement brought him back to his interest in marine mammals attracted him to the work of the Coastal Discovery museum where he delights in sharing his knowledge of the beach and bottlenose dolphins with the public. Register Here.

Reducing Plastic in the Lowcountry

Thursday, January 17th – 3 PM
Rikki Parker – Coastal Conservation League

Despite our best efforts, litter continues to be a major environmental concern for water quality, human health, and wildlife. Giant patches of garbage are accumulating in our world’s oceans. Microplastics make their way into our food systems, potentially impacting our local fisheries. Fortunately for our local waterways, citizens, business owners and governments are implementing strong measures to combat the problem. One of the most impressive successes is Beaufort County’s ban on single use plastic bags. Rikki will discuss the magnitude of the plastic pollution problem in the Lowcountry and how the county’s ban on single-use plastic bags was passed.

Rikki Parker is a project manager and legal analyst for the Coastal Conservation League’s South Coast office. She was born and raised in Arthur, Illinois. In 2010 she graduated cum laude from the University of Evansville with a B.S. in cognitive science. Rikki earned her J.D. from Louisiana State University in 2013 where she served as president of the Trial Advocacy Board. After graduation, Rikki practiced in the areas of employment discrimination and environmental law. In 2015, she served as policy director to Scott Angelle’s campaign for Governor of Louisiana. Register Here.

“Conversation” with a Civil War Soldier, A First-Person account from the 26th SC Regiment

Wednesday, January 23rd – 3 PM
Steve Quick – Historian and First-person reenactor

Who were the simple farmers, underequipped, underfed and overstretched who wore the gray and held off the world’s mightiest military for four years? They were men like 27-year-old Stephen Quick who joined his brother at Petersburg after a middle brother was killed defending Charleston. Twice wounded and paroled at Appomattox he returned home to SC to find the life he’d built destroyed in the tornado of Sherman’s March. Join us to “meet” Stephen as he is depicted by his ancestor (great-great-great grandson). Historian Steve Quick reconstructed his family history and has augmented it with extensive source details. Quick shares his story in the plain spoken unvarnished narrative of his ancestor for groups of all ages.

Since 2000 living historian Steve Quick has told the story across the upper Midwest to schools, libraries, museums, round tables and historical events. Relocating to SC he now brings this one of a kind story home. Part history, part technology, part mystery there is something in this compelling story for everyone. Register Here.

Fiddlers, Birds, and the Salt Marsh Food Web

Wednesday, January 30th – 3 PM
Robert Rommel – Wildlife Photographer

If you’ve walked near the saltmarshes of Hilton Head at low tide you may have seen armies of Fiddler Crabs marching across the pluff mud.  This talk will examine fiddler crabs and the birds and other animals that feed on fiddlers.  Join us to hear about the behavior of these critters and how they fit into the ecology and nutrient cycling of the saltmarsh.

Robert Rommel received degrees in biology and ecology from Princeton University and the University of Michigan.  Robert now works as a wildlife photographer based out of the Lowcountry and traveling across North America. Register Here.

“Correct Mispronunciations” of Some South Carolina Names

Thursday, January 31st – 3 PM
Grace Cordial

Coosawhatchie. Pocataligo. Combahee.  These words can be difficult for newcomers, or even old-timers, to pronounce.   Join us to learn how to properly pronounce local family and place names the way native South Carolinians do while also picking up some local history tidbits. By “correct mispronunciations” we mean, of course, pronunciations that are considered correct in South Carolina but will probably seem wrong to you if you come from anywhere else.

Beaufort District Collection manager, and South Carolina native, Grace Cordial will share fascinating stories of our local history, places, and families – and the correct way to mispronounce them.

Grace Morris Cordial, degreed librarian and certified archivist, has been responsible for the management and operations of the Beaufort County Library’s special collection and archives unit since 1999. Under her leadership, the contents of the Beaufort District Collection have tripled in size.  In addition to helping customers and overseeing operation of the Research Room 40 hours each week, she organizes historical programs for the public, coordinates projects with the Lowcountry Digital Library, and writes social media on the internet – all with the aim of raising community awareness of the people, places, and events in Beaufort District’s long and storied past as well as for the Library’s dedication to document and preserve stories and materials into the future. Register Here.

Oyster Shell Recycling, Renourishment and Management

Wednesday, February 6th – 3 PM
Ben Dyar- SCDNR, Shellfish Management

Oysters are a keystone species in our estuaries and play many critical roles. Learn why they are so important and why DNR is returning oyster shell back to our estuaries. We will discuss one way DNR is managing South Carolina’s oyster habitat and ways that you can help – including how to recycle oyster shells here in the Lowcountry. Ben Dyar has been with DNR for 15 years and is the head of SCDNR Shellfish Management.

Shorebird Migration

Thursday, February 7th – 3 PM
Nick Wallover – ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve

Every spring, thousands of shorebirds utilize South Carolina’s beach and marsh habitats.  These habitats provide critical stopover areas for birds on their northbound migration to breeding sites, while others will nest in these beautiful coastal landscapes of South Carolina.  Come learn about the important role SC plays in the lifecycle of spring migrants and local nesting species, and what we can do to protect this incredible part of our state’s natural heritage.

Nicholas Wallover is currently the Regional Biologist for the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve and Manager of the McKenzie Field Station at Bennett’s Point. He has worked on numerous coastal protected species including sea turtles, shorebirds, and dolphins.

Rising Seas, Raising Awareness

Wednesday, February 13th– 3 PM
Kevin Mills – South Carolina Aquarium, CEO

Coastal dwellers everywhere can no longer ignore the obvious:  our seas are rising, and altering the course of our daily lives.  Learn what’s at risk in the Lowcountry, and what will be required to come to terms with a new reality shaped by the forces of climate change.  Kevin Mills is President and CEO of the South Carolina Aquarium, which operates the Resilience Initiative for Coastal Education (R.I.C.E.).

The Uniqueness of Port Royal Sound

Thursday, February 14th – 3 PM
Kristen Mattson – LowCountry Institute

The Port Royal Sound stands apart from other estuaries on the East coast. It is a submerged coastline created by rising sea level, exceptionally high tides, and unique geology. The result is a vast expanse of salt marsh, a critical marine habitat. Come learn about this unique environment and how it was formed, as well as about the fantastic biodiversity that lives here.

Kristen Marshall Mattson is an environmental educator for the LowCountry Institute and Spring Island Trust. She is a co-instructor of the Master Naturalist program and host of “Night Skies Over Beaufort County”. She has a background teaching biology in higher education and holds a master’s degree in ecology from the University of Florida.

Lowcountry Dolphins

Wednesday, February 27th – 3 PM
Wayne McFee


Blooms of the Lowcountry

Thursday, February 28th – 3 PM
Carol Clemens – CDM Docent, Photographer, and retired educator

Enjoy an overview of some of the blooming trees, shrubs, vines and grasses that are common in the Lowcountry.  The presentation includes both native and non-native blooms.  Come learn about Beauty Berry, Jessamine, Wisteria, Resurrection Fern, palmettos, and many others.

Carol Clemens is a retired High School Spanish teacher who moved to the Lowcountry after retiring in 2005. She has been involved in birding and photographing nature as a hobby since retiring.

Among her volunteer activities, Carol is a Lowcountry Master Naturalist, active in Audubon, a docent for the Coastal Discovery Museum, an interpreter at Volunteers in Medicine, teaches genealogy programs at the Heritage Library, and is a tutor at the Boys and Girls Club. She has presented numerous nature and genealogy programs for groups in the area. Carol holds advanced degrees from the University of Notre Dame. Visit her nature website on Shutterfly.



History Forum of the Lowcountry:

Since 2013, the History Forum of the Lowcountry has invited guest presenters to discuss various aspects of Lowcountry history, culture, and experiences. Speakers have included professors, authors, community leaders, archivists, genealogists, museum professionals, and other experts in the field. Click here to see a list of past speakers and programs.

$10 nonmembers, $5 basic members, n/c for supporting and above membership level – Please call 843-689-6767, ext. 224 to register. Online reservations are not available for these programs.

Resisting the rising tide of Jim Crow after the Great Sea Island Storm of 1893

Monday, December 17th – 3 PM
Caroline Grego – Ph.D. Candidate – University of Colorado, Boulder

The deadly hurricane of August 1893 had devastating immediate impacts on coastal South Carolina, sweeping away the homes and livelihoods of tens of thousands of South Carolinians and killing at least 1500 people. However, the storm had longer term consequences as well. The hurricane was a turning point in Lowcountry history because of its role in accelerating white supremacist processes of dispossession and disenfranchisement of Black sea islanders — though African Americans on the coast fought for their rights, their land, and their autonomy every step of the way. The storm-struck sea islands, as one of the last bastions of Black political power in the South, became the battleground on which white supremacists, Black sea islanders, and a few white allies clashed over both hurricane recovery and the future of the white supremacist state.

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