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New archives assistant director looking to 'make a difference'

Posted: July 28, 2011 5:07 p.m.
Updated: July 29, 2011 5:00 a.m.
Ashley Lewis Ford/C-I

Katherine Richardson is the new Camden Archives and Museum’s deputy director. Richardson has worked as executive director of the Sumter County Museum, museum archivist of the Sumter County Museum and as the founder and owner of Heritage Preservation Associates.

Researching, archiving and history have always been a part of Katherine Richardson’s life.

She’s spent more than a decade as the executive director of the Sumter County Museum, as well as three years as the museum’s archivist. Now, the former historic preservation consultant has joined the team at the Camden Archives and Museum as its deputy director.

 “I’m very glad to be in Camden helping out at the Archives and Museum, and I’m still learning the ropes,” Richardson said, laughing. “There’s so much here and it takes a while to discover it all, but we’re getting there.”

When asked how she became interested in working with history and archiving, Richardson said she could probably blame it on her mother.

“Mother always took us to every museum and she volunteered with a Charleston Museum archeologist, so I got called out on digs. It was just kind of like second nature by the time I got to college,” she said, immersing herself in history while growing up on James Island in Charleston. “In college, I started out as a music performance major and quickly realized that I didn’t have the nerve to get up and do that all of the time, so I changed to history and I’ve been very glad that I did that. It’s really a fascinating world to work in.”

With a Masters degree in historic preservation and a concentration in archives and American colonial history, Richardson said she is ecstatic to work in the state’s oldest inland town. In the past, she’s placed Cool Springs, Carter Hill and the Boykin Mill Pond Complex on the National Register of Historical Places.

While she’s only been at the archive museum for a few weeks, Richardson said she’s already impressed with the number of people that come in to research.

“The staff is just so helpful and they get a lot of foot traffic upstairs and for the museum. And what’s so delightful here is there is no charge to come in, so even if you don’t have a dollar on you, you can come in and do research,” she said. “I’m pleased that the (city) of Camden can make this available to people, that’s a real blessing. It’s exciting to have this going on in Camden.”

As deputy director, Richardson said she’s ready to roll up her sleeves and assist Director Howard Branham and the museum’s staff with the implementation of recommendations from a recently completed Collections Assessment Program grant.

“I’m here just to help Mr. Branham with whatever he sees is the growth -- with him being the director, he would be the one driving that train. I can see having more classes for children and adults -- you know I was a museum educator when I was at the Historic Columbia Foundation, so I’m good at pulling things like that together if that’s what Mr. Branham wants to do,” she said, adding that several events can help draw people to the museum. “I’m just here to help with whatever seems to be the best direction for this institution and I’m excited about it. It’s a new opportunity to make a difference, I hope.”

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