During the year, the Coastal Discovery Museum hosts between 6 and 8 temporary exhibits in the Discovery House’s Temporary Exhibit Gallery. The exhibits vary in theme and subject matter related to Lowcountry history, natural history and art. Visiting the Coastal Discovery Museum’s exhibitions will introduce you to the many facets of Hilton Head Island.

Depending upon the exhibition, there are often demonstrations, talks and workshops offered during the year. Some artists will paint in the gallery or ‘plein air’ on site during their show while others will present workshops about how to take nature photographs. For our younger visitors, several of the exhibitions feature ‘scavenger hunts’ or other activities.

Many exhibitions have ‘artist coffees,’ demonstrations or classes offered during their installation. Here you can meet the many of the exhibiting artists at gallery walks and coffees. It is a great opportunity to get to know the artists, their methods and vision for their works.

Please contact the Museum or check the event calendar for more information.



“Generations” – Celebrating the Palmer Family

January 5th – February 25th, 2019 – Opening Reception 1/17 5-7 PM

The Palmer family’s connection to Hilton Head Island began over fifty years ago and since they have been active in the local art community while also enjoying critical and professional success well outside the geographic confines of the Lowcountry. This exhibition will showcase their spectacular works of art, and share stories of this area’s history and family reminiscences. Jim Palmer and his wife Barbara moved to Hilton Head Island in 1965, initiating this creative family’s long-standing connection to and influence on the community.

According to Addison Palmer, Jim’s son and one of the featured professional artists on exhibit, his family “has been and continues to be very creative. Having a family that is so strong in the visual arts, is unique. Being able to have everyone together to showcase our artwork and to tell our history of being on Hilton Head Island, is a true pleasure for the Palmer family.”

The Palmer family’s artworks, and connection to the area make this exhibition a perfect match for the Coastal Discovery Museum. Natalie Hefter, Vice Present of Programs, explained that the unique part of this exhibition “is sharing many of the family’s stories from the past five decades.” The museum is dedicated to bringing the area’s history, culture, environment, and art alive for our visitors and residents. This exhibition will bring attention to our natural beauty as well as stories of our more recent past. In a recent conversation with Jim Palmer, Hefter says, “he shared many personal reflections about Hilton Head and Lowcountry events and the family’s connection to them. Jim has lots of great stories to share!”   A few of the reminiscences included: that the Palmers lived a Honey Horn for a while and Billie Hack hosted a baby shower for his wife Barbara;  Jim was quite passionate about and actively fought the proposed BASF project (petrochemical plant planned for Victoria Bluff) in the late 1960s; the Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Islander Magazine’s masthead was Jim’s concept and he also provided artwork for its first cover in December 1966 (and many, many more issues after that); and many, many more.