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A Campaign to Enrich the Drayton Hall Experience

Widely regarded as one of our nation’s greatest historic sites, Drayton Hall c. 1738, is the first fully executed example of Palladian architecture. Today, the estate’s architecture, collections and landscape survive in a rare state of preservation reflecting the diverse culture of the Carolina Lowcountry and the evolution of early American society.

Drayton Hall Landscape

The physical remnants of our history surround us, bearing witness to an American legacy. If we’re willing to listen, they can teach us. That is why Drayton Hall, the iconic 18th-century estate in the South Carolina Lowcountry, is so vital to our understanding of early American history. 

“Of paramount significance but rarely seen are Drayton Hall's associated fine and decorative arts, its archives, and its growing archaeological collections. Like the house and the site itself, these original artifacts—all now in storage—tell fascinating stories about the people and events of the past. With  a new facility for their display and interpretation, Drayton Hall could be chronicled for the public in new and compelling ways.

With your help, Drayton Hall will be transformed through the construction of new facilities that will improve the visitor experience, enhance the stewardship of historic resources and expand interpretation and public programming. 

1. THE VISITOR CENTER

THE VISITOR CENTER with welcome area, museum shop and orientation hall, will feature gallery space where Drayton Hall's internationally significant furniture, artwork, manuscripts and archaeological finds will be on exhibit for the first time, illuminating daily life at the estate. 

2. THE EDUCATION CENTER

THE EDUCATION CENTER will expand programming possibilities for students and visitors of all ages. 

3. THE 19TH-CENTURY CARETAKER'S HOUSE

THE 19TH-CENTURY CARETAKER's HOUSE will be repurposed as purely interpretive space dedicated to telling the postbellum history of Drayton Hall, particularly as it relates to the site's African American community. 

Your commitment will help us transform Drayton Hall and tell a more complete story.

DONATE TODAY

RONALD L. HURST, COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG FOUNDATION

With your help, Drayton Hall will be transformed through the construction of new facilities that will improve the visitor experience, enhance the stewardship of historic resources and expand interpretation and public programming. 

DONATE TODAY

OUR PURPOSE

As the nonprofit organization tasked with stewardship, research and interpretation of this irreplaceable site, Drayton Hall Preservation Trust holds a significant responsibility. We are the intermediaries between artifact and student, estate and visitor, past and present. 

Today, Drayton Hall is more than meets the eye. In addition to the site’s visible architecture, we curate a museum collection of objects, artifacts, furniture, manuscripts and artwork that span the history of human settlement in the region.

Among the many remarkable individuals associated with the site are John Drayton, who transformed the North American landscape by pioneering the use of Palladian architecture, William Henry Drayton, president of the South Carolina congress who issued the state’s first order to fire on the British, and Dr. Charles Drayton, an Enlightenment scholar and innovator in architecture, medicine, landscape design and botany.

Drayton Hall Collections
Drayton Hall tiles

THE PAST MATTERS

Drayton Hall lives on as an architectural treasure and an active archaeological site, complete with an extensive museum collection of rare 18th- and 19th-century objects and artifacts. Its power to educate, enlighten and inspire is undeniable. It is an authority unlike any other, a living witness, an unlikely gift.

And now, all that Drayton Hall has to say – what only Drayton Hall can say – will finally be heard.

Without the facilities to safely and effectively display this collection, it remains unseen by visitors. 

It is one of the few remaining witnesses to events that shaped the region and the nation as a whole. And it is perhaps the most authentic survivor of Southern colonial life that can claim an unbroken bond to its very beginning. Held by a single family for more than 235 years, the site is a survivor of the American Revolution, the Civil War, natural disasters and the unrelenting pressures of modernity.

An Unlikely Gift.

A Living Witness.

Drayton Hall Withdrawing Room
Drayton Hall Stair Hall

Without the facilities to tell their stories, their significant contributions to history remain unknown.

During the American Revolution, the estate served as headquarters for British generals. It improbably escaped destruction during the Civil War. It witnessed the emancipation of slaves and transformation of the Southern economy. Literally and figuratively, history has marched across Drayton Hall's grounds. 

Without the facilities to interpret that history, visitors lose the opportunity to understand the full story.

The physical limitations of Drayton Hall soften its voice and lessen its impact. With this in mind, our visionary Board of Trustees has approved Drayton Hall Reimagined: A Campaign to Enrich the Drayton Hall Experience. 

OUR PLAN

Drayton Hall Reimagined Aerial rendering

THE INTERPRETIVE GARDENS will feature historically accurate botanical plantings evoking the Drayton family's scientific and international; connections during the 18th and 19th centuries. 

4. THE INTERPRETIVE GARDENS

OUR WORK

“The visitor encounters a haunting framework for many stories about the Drayton family and the slaves who lived in that place with them, stories that stretch across more than two centuries. Drayton Hall allows the visitor to create his or her own vision of life on a place, and in an era far removed from our own."

DR. FORD W. BELL, THE AMERICAN ALLIANCE OF MUSEUMS

Drayton Hall Preservation Wednesday
Drayton Hall Desk and Bookcase
Charles Drayton Miniature
Drayton Hall Preservation Work

“With the planned initiative to expand the public interpretation of this historic property, the "invisible story" of Drayton Hall's significant archaeological resources will finally be accessible. With ongoing archaeological investigations, Drayton Hall will become an important living laboratory that not only venerates Southern architecture and the lives of the Draytons, but also the forgotten narratives of many who lived and worked in support of the plantation."

ROBERT HUNTER,  THE CHIPSTONE FOUNDATION

Architectural details will draw from traditional crafts such as timber framing, and construction materials will include wood, brick, slate and stone. By design, the new facilities will be sympathetic to Drayton Hall's historic architecture, while thoughtfully and subtly acknowledging its position as one of the most important estates in colonial America.

WATCH VIDEO
Drayton Hall House Tour
Drayton Hall House Tour
WATCH VIDEODONATE TODAYWATCH VIDEODONATE TODAY
DONATE TODAY

THE PAST MATTERS

The physical remnants of our history surround us, bearing witness to an American legacy. If we’re willing to listen, they can teach us. That is why Drayton Hall, the iconic 18th-century estate in the South Carolina Lowcountry, is so vital to our understanding of early American history. 

A Living Witness.

It is one of the few remaining witnesses to events that shaped the region and the nation as a whole. And it is perhaps the most authentic survivor of Southern colonial life that can claim an unbroken bond to its very beginning. Held by a single family for more than 235 years, the site is a survivor of the American Revolution, the Civil War, natural disasters and the unrelenting pressures of modernity.

An Unlikely Gift.

Without the facilities to safely and effectively display this collection, it remains unseen by visitors. 

Among the many remarkable individuals associated with the site are John Drayton, who transformed the North American landscape by pioneering the use of Palladian architecture, William Henry Drayton, president of the South Carolina congress who issued the state’s first order to fire on the British, and Dr. Charles Drayton, an Enlightenment scholar and innovator in architecture, medicine, landscape design and botany.

Without the facilities to tell their stories, their significant contributions to history remain unknown.

During the American Revolution, the estate served as headquarters for British generals. It improbably escaped destruction during the Civil War. It witnessed the emancipation of slaves and transformation of the Southern economy. Literally and figuratively, history has marched across Drayton Hall's grounds. 

Without the facilities to interpret that history, visitors lose the opportunity to understand the full story.

Drayton Hall House Tour
Drayton Hall House Tour

The physical limitations of Drayton Hall soften its voice and lessen its impact. With this in mind, our visionary Board of Trustees has approved Drayton Hall Reimagined: A Campaign to Enrich the Drayton Hall Experience. 

DONATE TODAY
DONATE TODAY

OUR WORK

OUR PLAN

1. THE VISITOR CENTER

THE VISITOR CENTER with welcome area, museum shop and orientation hall, will feature gallery space where Drayton Hall's internationally significant furniture, artwork, manuscripts and archaeological finds will be on exhibit for the first time, illuminating daily life at the estate. 

2. THE EDUCATION CENTER

THE EDUCATION CENTER will expand programming possibilities for students and visitors of all ages. 

3. THE 19TH-CENTURY CARETAKER'S HOUSE

THE 19TH-CENTURY CARETAKER's HOUSE will be repurposed as purely interpretive space dedicated to telling the postbellum history of Drayton Hall, particularly as it relates to the site's African American community. 

4. THE INTERPRETIVE GARDENS

THE INTERPRETIVE GARDENS will feature historically accurate botanical plantings evoking the Drayton family's scientific and international connections during the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Architectural details will draw from traditional crafts such as timber framing, and construction materials will include wood, brick, slate and stone. By design, the new facilities will be sympathetic to Drayton Hall's historic architecture, while thoughtfully and subtly acknowledging its position as one of the most important estates in colonial America.

“With the planned initiative to expand the public interpretation of this historic property, the "invisible story" of Drayton Hall's significant archaeological resources will finally be accessible. With ongoing archaeological investigations, Drayton Hall will become an important living laboratory that not only venerates Southern architecture and the lives of the Draytons, but also the forgotten narratives of many who lived and worked in support of the plantation."

ROBERT HUNTER,  THE CHIPSTONE FOUNDATION

“The visitor encounters a haunting framework for many stories about the Drayton family and the slaves who lived in that place with them, stories that stretch across more than two centuries. Drayton Hall allows the visitor to create his or her own vision of life on a place, and in an era far removed from our own."

DR. FORD W. BELL, THE AMERICAN ALLIANCE OF MUSEUMS

Your commitment will help us transform Drayton Hall and tell a more complete story.

A Campaign to Enrich the Drayton Hall Experience

Widely regarded as one of our nation’s greatest historic sites, Drayton Hall c. 1738, is the first fully executed example of Palladian architecture. Today, the estate’s architecture, collections and landscape survive in a rare state of preservation reflecting the diverse culture of the Carolina Lowcountry and the evolution of early American society.

With your help, Drayton Hall will be transformed through the construction of new facilities that will improve the visitor experience, enhance the stewardship of historic resources and expand interpretation and public programming. 

Drayton Hall Landscape

OUR PURPOSE

DONATE TODAY
Drayton Hall Withdrawing Room
Drayton Hall Stair Hall

“Of paramount significance but rarely seen are Drayton Hall's associated fine and decorative arts, its archives, and its growing archaeological collections. Like the house and the site itself, these original artifacts—all now in storage—tell fascinating stories about the people and events of the past. With  a new facility for their display and interpretation, Drayton Hall could be chronicled for the public in new and compelling ways.

RONALD L. HURST, COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG FOUNDATION

With your help, Drayton Hall will be transformed through the construction of new facilities that will improve the visitor experience, enhance the stewardship of historic resources and expand interpretation and public programming.