Often overlooked amid the neon lights and dazzling attraction of Myrtle Beach is one of the Grand Strand's best-kept secrets – the Burroughs and Chapin Art Museum.
Tucked away behind sprawling live oaks on the south end of Ocean Boulevard sits this charming 1920s-style beach cottage that was converted into an art museum in 1997. Filled with art galleries and touring exhibitions, the building alone is worth a visit as it represents much of the history, people and architecture of Myrtle Beach.
The three-story structure was once a beachfront cabana located near the old Ocean Forest Hotel. Once slated for demolition, a local group of artists and historical preservationists joined forces to save the building and have it serve as a much-needed art museum. The land where it currently sits, across from Springmaid Beach Resort and Pier, was donated by namesakes and city founding fathers Franklin G. Burroughs and Simeon B. Chapin.
The 80 years between the building's relocation are preserved within the walls of this unique cabana-turned-museum. From the destruction of Hurricane Hazel, which also signaled the city's boom as a tourist destination, to modern times, the story of Myrtle Beach's rise and artifacts from the time period are on display at some of the museum's permanent exhibits.
The museum also hosts the works of touring exhibitions and educational programs, serves as a resource center and a reception hall, and is home to concert and lecture series. The first floor contains six galleries used for rotating exhibits, and four second-floor rooms house the Grace Martin Matlock Educational Galleries. The art studio gives adults and children a place to ply their craft, a small library features lots of local historical pieces, and the top-floor reception and tea room serve as a gathering spots with an ocean view.
Permanent collections include the Bishop Maps and Prints display, featuring 15 maps of the area made from the early 1600s to the mid-1800s; the Waccamaw Arts & Crafts Guild's collection of works; the Barbara Burgess and John Dinklespiel Collection of Southern Art; and several donated works that reflect the area's history and culture. From paintings, photographs and prints to lithography, sculptures and collages, these art collections give guests insight to local culture.
Upcoming special events include “Turning and Embellishment: A Demonstration,” which will be held Saturday, Oct. 11, from 1 to 4 p.m., “Shadow of the Turning: The Art of Binh Pho” on Sunday, Oct.12, from 1 to 3 p.m.; and “Free Family Day: Dia de los Muertos” on Saturday, Nov.1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Current touring exhibitions include “Dixie Dugan: A Retrospective,” featuring the works of a local artists who has chronicled the changing scenery of the Grand Strand for the past half-century; “Hurricane Hugo: Commemorating the 25th anniversary” reveals the paintings of Leo Twiggs, who documented the damage of the storm through his paintings; and “Shadow of the Turning: The Art of Binh Pho,” displaying the sci-fi fantasy-world works of the artists. It runs through January 4, while the first two are available through Dec. 28.
The Burroughs and Chapin Arts Museum of Myrtle Beach is located at 3100 South Ocean Boulevard and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is free but donations are requested, although some exhibits, classes and special events require a small fee. For more information about the museum or for information about how to become a supporting member, call 843-238-2510, or click here.