May 21, 2024

Marie Cheek 
Community Relations Coordinator
Culture & Heritage Museums of York County, S.C.

Historic Brattonsville’s Living History Saturdays for June celebrate the traditional arts and two national holidays that celebrate freedom — Juneteenth and Independence Day 

McCONNELLS, S.C. – Presenting historically accurate perspectives, Living History Saturdays at Historic Brattonsville offer experiences to reflect on what life was like in the Carolina Piedmont in the 18th and 19th centuries. Period-dressed interpreters help visitors better understand the past through authentic demonstrations and educational programs. 

“A Celebration of the Senses – Traditional Arts” highlights the artisanry of the people of African descent who lived in the Brattonsville community and the greater Carolina Piedmont area. Barn-loom weaving, natural dyeing with indigo, woodworking, cooking, medicine and herbs, storytelling, call and response music, and blacksmithing will be featured.  Specific traditional arts will be demonstrated on these Saturdays:

June 1 – Traditional Arts you can See
June 8 – Traditional Arts you can Smell
June 22 – Traditional Arts you can Hear

The stories of two upcoming national holidays that celebrate freedom will be presented as living history programs: 

June 15 – Juneteenth
June 29 – Independence Day   

The Juneteenth celebration at Historic Brattonsville delves into the story of one of the oldest commemorations of the abolition of slavery in the United States and its connection to the Brattonsville community. Living history interpreters discuss African influenced foodways while demonstrating open-hearth cooking and open-fire barbeque. African art forms, the significance of the colors red, black, and green, as well as natural dyeing techniques will be highlighted. Make-and-take activities include creating a booklet for collecting recipes, historical information, documents, and other Juneteenth Celebration artifacts. Readings of General Order No. 3 are planned for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Historic Brattonsville’s Independence Day program looks at how families in the Carolina Piedmont celebrated this national holiday during the 1850s. Ongoing activities feature 19th century refreshments, blacksmithing demonstrations, and old-fashioned toys and games. Scheduled activities: hot air balloon launches at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., relay races for the kids at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. “Patriotic Musings,” presented at noon and 3 p.m. on the Oak Grove Stage, feature guest-led toasts and readings from some of our nation’s founding documents; bring your own family-friendly libation or purchase in the Gift Shop. A guided tour, “Brattonsville’s African-American Community and The Pursuit of Liberty,” is scheduled for 1 p.m.

WHAT: Living History Saturdays

WHERE: Historic Brattonsville is located at 1444 Brattonsville Rd., McConnells, S.C. 29726

WHEN: Every Saturday in June from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.


ADMISSION: $8 adults; $7 seniors; $5. Youth; FREE CHM members and guests under age 3



  1. “If I had a hammer…” A young visitor tries their hand at woodworking.
  2. Follow your nose to the open hearth for historical cooking demonstrations. 
  3. Pounding away on the anvil, living history interpreters demonstrate the art of blacksmithing. 
  4. Always an exciting sight to behold, a hot-air balloon launches during Brattonsville’s Independence Day celebration in 2023.

Images courtesy of Culture & Heritage Museums. For high resolution images, contact

Historic Brattonsville and all CHM sites are  Blue-Star-Museums and offer free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Armed Forces Day through Labor Day.

As a participant in Museums for All, all CHM sites provide reduced admission for low-income families.

“Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us.” ~ Lift Every Voice and Sing

Culture & Heritage Museums of York County is a recipient of the American Association for State and Local History’s Award of Excellence for the exhibit  “Liberty and Resistance: Reconstruction and the African American Community at Brattonsville 1865-1877.”

Historic Brattonsville is part of the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program and is also included in the NPS’s Reconstruction Era National Historic Network

Historic Brattonsville is included in “The Green Book of South Carolina” – a travel guide to African American cultural sites.

About Historic Brattonsville:

Historic Brattonsville features over 30 colonial and antebellum structures, including three house museums. The site spreads over 800-acres and includes farmed land with heritage breed animals, a Revolutionary War battlefield, and a nature preserve with miles of walking trails. Seasonal events, reenactments, and living history programs interpret Southern rural life in 1780, 1855, and 1871. 

Culture & Heritage Museums is a family of museums in York County and includes Historic Brattonsville in McConnells, Main Street Children’s Museum and Museum of York County in Rock Hill, and the McCelvey Center, which includes the Historical Center of York County and the Southern Revolutionary War Institute, in York. The mission of CHM is to communicate and preserve the natural and cultural histories of the Carolina Piedmont, inspiring a lifetime of learning.