For Immediate Release

Contact: Amy Mercer
Marketing and Communications Manager
843-722-2706 ext. 38


Historic Photographs of Charleston Landmarks on View at the Gibbes Museum of Art

The photography of George W. Johnson is on view September 8, 2006 – April 15, 2007 in the Works on Paper Gallery

(Charleston, SC) – The Gibbes Museum of Art presents a unique opportunity to view photographs of Lowcountry landmarks now vanished or altered in the exhibition A Souvenir of Charleston: The Photography of George W. Johnson.  Featuring such striking images as the Morris Island Lighthouse with the original lightkeeper’s house and the South Carolina and West Indian Exposition of 1901-1902, this exhibition showcases images of Charleston’s architecture 1890-1930.  A Souvenir of Charleston: The Photography of George W. Johnson is on view September 8, 2006 through April 15, 2007.

The photographs of George W. Johnson represent one of the most comprehensive and historically significant visual records of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Charleston in existence. Photographing both rural and city scenes, Johnson captured images of Charleston’s architecture and environs that provide an intimate portrait of the city’s landscape.

Moving about Charleston with his homemade camera Johnson actively documented the city’s landmark architecture, people and events over a period of nearly fifty years. His work depicts Charleston as it transitioned from a city recovering from its failed agrarian based economy to a city emerging as a nationally renowned tourist destination. His photographs were frequently used in visitor’s guides and brochures of the time period and he often sold his images to tourists shopping in his family’s umbrella store.

The Johnson collection at the Gibbes is comprised of over 1200 glass-plate negatives that were donated to the Gibbes in the 1960s. In 2006 a portion of the collection was conserved and digitized with grant funds provided by the Museum Loan Network. An invaluable resource to historians and preservationists, Johnson’s photographs remain an irreplaceable souvenir of Charleston’s history.

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905. 

Located in Charleston’s historic district, the Gibbes houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works of fine art, principally American works with a Charleston or Southern connection and presents special exhibitions annually. In addition, the museum offers an extensive complement of public programming and educational outreach initiatives.

As the aesthetic heart of the Lowcountry, the Gibbes serves the community by stimulating creative expression, increasing economic vitality through tourism, and improving the region’s superb quality of life.

135 Meeting Street * Charleston, SC * 29401