Supporting Special Projects

The many loyal Friends of Drayton Hall and generous donors help sustain the authenticity of the Drayton Hall experience. Still, at any given time there are numerous special projects, typically not part of the budget process, which are essential to conserving the site and enhancing our guests’ experience. Our staff has identified special needs (listed by department and by priority order within the department) that will help Drayton Hall address critical projects and operational priorities.

  • Preservation Department: Archaeological and Museum Collections

    • $5,000 – Assessment of Drayton Hall’s collections by an independent conservator, resulting in the development of a collections conservation plan and conservation cost for each piece of furniture in the collection. (FUNDED through the 2016 Annual Appeal)
    • $15,000 – Purchase of two museum exhibit cases and installation of interpretive signage, UV window film to conserve artifacts, and reading rail in the Visitors Center – the late 19th-century, red caretaker’s house, which houses the gift shop and new interpretive elements.
    • $2,500+ – Conservation of metal and ceramic objects from the Archaeological Collection, allowing Drayton Hall to publicly exhibit and interpret examples of these materials.
    • $30,000 – A comprehensive ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey of the land between the Main House and the banks of the Ashley River, with results helping to prioritize projects and preparing Drayton Hall for future archaeological excavation.(PARTIALLY FUNDED with a $10,000 gift from an anonymous donor.)
    • $25,000+ – Creation of a named collections acquisition fund, expendable or endowed ($100,000+), which would provide the flexibility to consider purchase of Drayton Hall-related objects when made available for sale.
    • $5,000 – New furniture for the Archaeology Laboratory, accommodating Preservation Wednesday volunteers, researchers, interns, and other partners working to conserve and study the Archaeological Collection.
    • $10,000 – Purchase of George I coronation stemware (c. 1714-1730), as available, to aide in the interpretation of Drayton Hall Archaeological Collection.
  • Preservation Department: Historic Architectural Resources

    • $500,000 – Structural stabilization: strengthening the floors, stairs, and historic plaster ceilings in the main house.
    • $10,000 – Erecting scaffolding and repairing the failing plaster ceiling in the stair hall of the main house.
    • $10,000 – Conservation of historic paint in the main house, halting paint loss. (This project has been FUNDED by a $10,000 grant from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.)
    • $75,000 – Addition of a full-time Preservation Associate, allowing the Curator of Historic Architectural Resources time to complete a three dimensional digital model of Drayton Hall.
    • $5,000 – Conservation of the wrought iron on the well in front of the house, removing corrosion and adding a protective coating, installation of a secure cover and interpretive signage.
    • $8,000 – Re-pointing the river front exterior stairs, preserving historic bricks and preventing moisture intrusion.
    • $2,500 – Conservation of metal hardware in the main house, removing corrosion and ensuring hinges, knobs and locks remain in good working order.
    • $10,000 – Converting oral history recordings from dated formats (beta and VHS) to digital, allowing for greater public and web-based access.
    • $10,000 – Repairing or replacing rotted boards that separate the upper and lower pitches of the main house roof. (FUNDED with a $10,000 gift in Memory of Albert Simons, noted Charleston architect.)
  • Preservation Department: Landscapes, Horticulture, and Modern Facilities

    • $5,000 – Acquisition and conservation of The Botanical Magazine by William Curtis, volumes III-XIV (published 1790-1800) – the entire volume or individual prints, as available. Charles Drayton took hand written excerpts from these works highlighting fourteen plants he found of great interest – his Desiderata – and might have purchased for Drayton Hall. These volumes will aide in landscape planning and site interpretation.
    • $1,000 – Traditional Charleston benches are located across the Drayton Hall landscape, offering guests a place to rest and reflect during their time on-site. Four foot benches may be named in honor of or in memory of a loved one, with a high-quality brass plaque commemorating your wishes in perpetuity. (8 foot benches may be named for $2,000.)
    • $1,500 – New interior benches made of Ipe, a South American hardwood, have been installed in the Main House to accommodate site visitors. These benches offer an exclusive opportunity and the only way to name something in honor of or in memory of a loved one inside of Drayton Hall. (New benches in the Visitors Center may be named for $1,000.) (The first two interior benches have been FUNDED, one in memory of Geoffrey Drayton (1924-2014), an influential Barbadian poet and novelist, and a second in honor of Maureen and Edgar Field, members of the extended Drayton family in Barbados and longtime advocates for the preservation of Drayton Hall.)
  • Education Department: Education and Public Engagement

    • $10,000 – Purchase of “green” benches for our Education programs – replacing our fleet of rotting wooden benches with environmentally friendly, rot- and splinter- resistant seating for use by visiting students. (PARTIALLY FUNDED by a $5,000 anonymous lead gift and the 2014 Annual Appeal.)
    • $5,000 – Creation and promotion of a new Drayton Hall program, Family Saturdays, which will engage young people and their families in history, science, and cultural heritage activities on-site – expanding educational programs for visitors of all ages in our region.
  • Other

    • $10,000 – Production of the new Drayton Hall souvenir booklet (FUNDED with an anonymous $10,000 major gift.)
    • $30,000 – Annual series sponsorship of the 2016 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series. Slated to begin in February 2016, this series has been well-received by the Friends of Drayton Hall and the broader community, with scholarly speakers presenting on topics related to colonial American history. (An individual program may be funded for $5,000; a spring or fall season for $15,000.)


“…I walked one of the trails in the second-growth forest of the outer core at Drayton Hall [and] saw majestic oak trees struggling to survive, but succumbing to invasive sweet gum, maple, and Chinese tallow trees. I saw a canopy blocking the sun and thrusting these majestic specimens close to oblivion. …The reclaiming of centuries-old landscape features … will rescue scores of oaks at Drayton Hall and uncover another dimension of its hidden history. Future visitors will marvel at the oak allées, old waterways and other landscape features that will become visible as this work progresses.”

—Roy W., Friend of Drayton Hall since 1984

if you would like to share your philanthropic leadership to support one or more of these projects,
please contact

Steve Mount
Director of Philanthropy
843-769-2601 or by e-mail.

Photo credit: Willie Graham, window sash, October 2014

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