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)

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 – 2019- 20:

The Coastal Discovery Museum’s Discovery Lecture Series offers  presentations from late September through April. Please check back to find a full schedule soon. All presentations are at 2 PM unless noted. Please check the online calendar to make your reservations.

Captain William Hilton and the Founding of Hilton Head Island

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 – Author, Dwayne Pickett

Behind the pristine beaches and world renown of Hilton Head Island lies a history that dates back to the early exploration of the nation. In 1663, William Hilton, a mariner born in England, was hired by a group in Barbados to find new lands for them to settle. Hilton led an exploration of the Port Royal Sound area, where he named Hilton Head Island as a navigational marker for future sailors. The island began as a sparsely populated area on the fringe of English settlement in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, when it was called Trench’s Island on some maps. Author Dwayne W. Pickett details the life of Hilton, his exploration of the Carolina coast and the founding of an iconic island.

Paradise – Memories of Hilton Head in the Early Days

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019 – Authors Nelle and Ora Smith

The Smith family moved to Hilton Head in 1963 so that John could take a position with Charles Fraser and help develop and market the new Sea Pines Plantation.  What was Hilton Head like in the early days? Was it Paradise, Camelot, Utopia, or the Days of Wine and Roses? According to Nelle and Ora Smith, “It was all of those things. It was a quiet simpler time with mostly dirt roads, surrounded by incredible natural beauty. Being a part of the growing Island was the chance of a lifetime – witnessing the first Heritage Gold Tournament, feeling the joy as people began to discover the oceanfront treasure nestled in the tall pines. Our family was there to help plant the seeds that have grown Hilton Head into the beloved destination it is today.” Join the Coastal Discovery Museum to hear more about their experiences on Hilton Head Island as development was beginning. Nelle and Ora Smith will also have copies of “Paradise – Memories of Hilton Head Island in the Early Days” for sale at the presentation.

Natural History and Archaeology of Beer

Friday, October 4th – Rex Garniewicz, CEO Coastal Discovery Museum

Beer is the foundation of civilized life as we know it.   Beginning 10,000 years ago, brewing led to the development of agriculture, settled life, and a myriad of other inventions.  This presentation will take you from ancient Mesopotamia, China, and Egypt to the jungles of the Amazon to learn some of the science behind how beer is made and to see how it has impacted our lives in ways we likely never think about.  You will view this beverage in a new light by the end of the lecture, even if beer isn’t your thing

Pluff Mud Pioneers, and How They Changed Their Worlds

Wednesday, October 9th – Author Rich Thomas

Join us to hear long-forgotten and little-known stories of Beaufort County events and the people who, in their time, dramatically changed the world around them and set the course for the future to follow. Mr. Thomas’ presentation will focus on nine notable events in Beaufort County’s past and how each of them constituted a significant first of their kind in American history.  The stories of these events and the people involved constitute the core of his book, Backwater Frontier: Beaufort County, SC at the Forefront of American History.

I Was Born to Be in a Library – Pat Conroy as Reader

Wednesday, October 16th – Author and Executive Director of Pat Conroy Literary Center

The author of The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, and The Water Is Wide, Pat Conroy (1945–2016) is synonymous with the lowcountry. Executive Director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center Jonathan Haupt will discuss Conroy as reader—focusing on the importance of his mother Peggy Conroy in fostering Pat’s love of reading and of libraries in continuing that great love over the course of a lifetime. Through video clips, photographs, and published and unpublished writings by and about Conroy, this presentation welcomes attendees into the book-filled world of one of America’s most beloved writers. The program will also include an overview of the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center and the annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival, October 29-November 3.

Your Lowcountry Home

Monday, November 4th – Al Segars – Retired Veterinarian, SCDNR

Join Dr. Al Segars (SCDNR retired) for a virtual trip through the Lowcountry highlighting the special places and wildlife who share our special home. Emphasis will be on properties that display the natural wonders of the Lowcountry that are public accessible. Dr Al Segars is a retired veterinarian with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources with a long career studying the endangered and threatened species in our coast.

A Community-based Oyster Shell Recycling and Bed Restoration Project

Wednesday, November 6th – Jean Fruh, Director of The Outside Foundation

Jean Fruh, Executive Director of The Outside Foundation will discuss how a small, local, grassroots non-profit (TOF) received funding from an environmental giant, Patagonia Inc., to establish a community-based oyster shell recycling and bed restoration project here on Hilton Head Island. Come learn how you can get involved in this important conservation project!

Archaeology at the Barnwell Ruins

Wednesday, November 13th – Kim Cavanaugh, Ph.D – Professor of Anthropology, University of SC – Beaufort

Prehistoric South Carolina

Monday, November 18th – Bruce Lampright, Naturalist at Bray’s Island

From tiny Trilobites to Giant Ground Sloths, the fossil history of the Palmetto State is a fascinating story.  Where else can you find a 65 million year-old oyster and minutes later stumble upon the massive 6 inch tooth of a Megatooth Shark?  Visions of Volkswagon-sized Armadillos, huge Mastodons, and pouncing Saber-toothed Cats boggle the mind.  And yes, South Carolina even had some dinosaurs!  Join professional naturalist and amateur paleontologist Bruce Lampright for a Lowcountry step back in time as he tells of the rich pre-history of our state.

Bats of the World and the Lowcountry

Wednesday, November 20th – Lydia Moore

The Many Benefits of Sharks

Monday, December 2nd – Kim Ritchie

Lowcountry Ospreys

Wednesday, December 4th – Kristen Mattson, LowCountry Institute

Pat Conroy: Our Lifelong Friendship

Monday, December 9th – Bernie Schein


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. The 2019-20 season will be announced soon!

$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.