small-town-dawn-corleyThe South Carolina State Museum is teaming again with “the Charleston Silver Lady,” Dawn E. Corley, to present “Small Town Silver,” an on-the-road version of the popular antique silver program currently offered by the museum in conjunction with the recently held-over exhibit South Carolina Silver: Varieties in Society 1750 – 1935.

First stop is Walterboro, on Thursday, Nov. 18, where Antiques & Collectibles of Walterboro, located at 220 E. Washington Street, will host two sessions of Corley’s workshops:  a morning session from 10 a.m. – noon and an afternoon session from 4 – 6 p.m.

The Colleton Museum at 239 N. Jefferies Blvd is joining the State Museum in this effort by hosting a drop-in reception for a meet-and-greet with the Charleston Silver Lady from 2 – 4 p.m. between the sessions.

“We get so many requests to take our programs on the road to various communities in South Carolina,” said Celeste Wszola, the museum’s public programs manager. “Sometimes the logistics involved make it unfeasible. However, we felt our silver program really lends itself to something that could travel well.”

Using antique silver objects from her extensive private collection, Corley will teach class participants how to read the quality of a piece as well as how to determine its age and value. Intrinsic to these items, however, is their history and the specific role silver played in the everyday life of early South Carolinians. Corley’s meticulous research and hands-on expertise provide a memorable experience for program participants.

Participants are encouraged to bring one silver item to be verbally appraised.

Cost for the program is $30 general public, $25 State Museum members.  Participants also will receive a complimentary pass to the State Museum so that they might see the current silver exhibit, which features the State Museum’s collection of silver used in the Palmetto State over two centuries. Rounding out the exhibit are pieces on loan from Corley herself.  South Carolina Silver can be seen through June 5, 2011.

“The Charleston Silver Lady is no stranger to the hundreds of guests who have attended the Museum Road Show at the State Museum over the last decade,” said Wszola. “With more than 25 years experience, she is much sought after as an appraiser of fine silver and antique jewelry and has presented programs to U.S. presidents and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as hundreds of private organizations and groups.”

Corley’s expertise led to her selection to evaluate the jewelry discovered on the submarine H.L. Hunley after it was raised from Charleston Harbor in 2000. With maternal ties to one of Charleston’s earliest silversmiths, many of the pieces loaned by Corley for the South Carolina Silver exhibition were crafted by her Charleston ancestors.

“Dawn is a great friend to the State Museum,” said Wszola. “She loves her work and loves sharing that knowledge with others. Her enthusiasm for fine silver and antique jewelry makes those pieces come alive.

“We are all very excited at the chance to visit Walterboro and offer this silver program in Colleton County,” continued Wszola. “Walterboro itself is such a mecca for antique hunters, so I’m sure we’ll see many beautiful pieces that have been treasured by families through the ages. Thanks to the folks at the Colleton Museum and to Antiques and Collectibles of Walterboro for their support of this event. We hope this is just the first in a series of programs that we can offer to other towns in South Carolina.”

For information and to register for the Nov. 18 program call 803-898-4952, e-mail, or visit the State Museum’s Web site at


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