History was made as the Museum first opened to the public in June, 1997, but was conceived some 13 years earlier by a small group of Myrtle Beach visionaries—artists, art patrons, business leaders, cultural enthusiasts and other private citizens.
The building itself dates to 1924, when it was built by textile industry mogul Eugene Cannon in the Cabana Section of Myrtle Beach. It was subsequently sold to Col. Elliot White Springs for use by his family and executives of Springs Industries and re-christened Springmaid Villa.
In 1975, the Villa changed hands again and was slated for demolition. A campaign to save Springmaid Villa began, led initially by Waccamaw Arts and Crafts Guild President Gaye Sanders Fisher. The building’s survival, however, was contingent on its relocation: a Herculean effort organized by Guild member and Myrtle Beach Councilman Harry Charles, along with his wife, Jane. Relocating the 150-ton structure required two flatbed trucks for three full days, with a team of City employees, utility workers and every member of the Guild working side by side.
The Villa was taken to its new home eight miles south—an undeveloped property whose donation by the Myrtle Beach Farms Company, precursor to the Burroughs & Chapin Company, had been negotiated by Harry Charles.
Charles was also instrumental in creating the Springmaid Villa Art Museum Corporation, a new non-profit with a board of trustees charged with converting and later managing the property as a public art museum. Following a decade-long fundraising effort, spearheaded by Harry Love, Claudia Stowe and an auxiliary group of determined women called Friends of the Villa, the Museum opened its doors in June, 1997.
In recognition of the land donation, it was re-named for the founders of Myrtle Beach Farms and became the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum.
A major step to secure the Museum’s future was taken in 2001, when Board Chair Lineta Pritchard negotiated with the City of Myrtle Beach to purchase the Museum’s building and to maintain its exterior and grounds, while leasing it back to the Museum. Freed from mortgage constraints, the Board and Executive Director Patricia Goodwin were able to make a bold move—in June of 2003 the Museum became free admission for all.
In 2013, just one year after its 15th anniversary, the Museum was the recipient of the State of South Carolina’s prestigious Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for Outstanding Arts Organization. This award honors South Carolina arts organizations who maximize their roles as innovators, supporters and advocates of the arts. The Verner Award is designated as the official “Governor’s Awards for the Arts.”
© 2016 Franklin G. Burroughs • Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum
Myrtle Beach’s Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum strives to be one of the finest visual arts museums in the Carolinas. With 11 galleries that change throughout the year, Myrtle Beach’s only art museum offers exhibitions featuring paintings, textiles, sculpture, photography, video, ceramics, assemblage, collage and more. A visit to the Art Museum’s exhibitions can be enhanced by its lively programming, including artist receptions, tours, lectures, workshops and classes for both adults and children.