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Penn Center

Closed Now: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Open today: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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Traveller Overview
  • Excellent46%
  • Very good35%
  • Average16%
  • Poor2%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“gullah culture”(21 reviews)
“civil war”(16 reviews)
“freed slaves”(15 reviews)
Tucked in the heart of the South Carolina Sea Islands surrounded by glimmering marshes and nestled beneath the silvery moss-draped limbs of massive live oaks, is Penn Center. It is the site of the former Penn School, one of the country's first...more
Closed Now
Hours Today: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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Suggested duration: 2-3 hours
16 Penn Center Cir W, Saint Helena Island, SC 29920-5302
+1 843-838-2432
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Reviews (171)
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All reviews gullah culture civil war freed slaves martin luther king gift shop important history african americans welcome center mlk jr national historic landmark history lesson sacred place community center min video dining hall staff was friendly wealth of information
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1 - 10 of 171 reviews
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The Penn Center is an exceptionally important center of African-American life. Created in the early 1860's to provide education for recently-freed African-Americans, it has served as a place of learning, inspiration, and support for slaves and their descendants over the last 150 years in their...More

Thank jnwall
Reviewed 14 August 2018

This is such an important piece of history that represents an undersold story in American history. The museum is small but interesting to walk through. The National Park Service is becoming involved in this site and will soon offer more interpretation about the Reconstruction Era,...More

Thank RadioJeff
Reviewed 2 June 2018 via mobile

We enjoyed the movie that explained the history here in three separate generations. The docents were great and went to great pains to accept our payment. The art was fantastic and historical depictions interesting.

Thank rogersober
Reviewed 1 June 2018

A tour of Gullah country isn't complete without a visit to Penn Center which was and still is the center of Gullah-Geeche life.

Thank RoBertie
Reviewed 22 May 2018

Lots of history here and still doing great (the Lord's) work here, and can also see some MLK history on the property as well.

Thank BarryandJackie
Reviewed 9 May 2018 via mobile

What a wonderful place to stop a look around. There is a museum and art gallery. They have a 20 min video that is very good and explains about the school and what they are trying to achieve. We got to meet a gentleman that...More

Thank Lisa J
Reviewed 4 May 2018

What a gem of American History this is, tucked into St. Helena's Island! The storied history of the Penn School and the Gullah people was so moving. The displayed art of Johnathon Green was delightful, the collection of artifacts so interesting. And the fact that...More

Thank armhumber2018
Reviewed 30 April 2018

The Penn Center is an important place in the history of the Reconstruction and Civil Rights eras. It is still working to preserve the remaining Gullah culture. Fascinating period of American history that is often overlooked. This is not a slick museum -the exhibits were...More

Thank s l
Reviewed 15 April 2018

Unfortunately we arrived just before closing time so our visit was limited. This is a must see if your are in the area. The curator was actually a student at the school. A lot of pivitol history during the slave period all the way through...More

Thank IslandAdventure4
Reviewed 8 April 2018 via mobile

Penn Center was founded by Laura Townes from Philadelphia during the second year of the Civil War. It was founded as a school to teach formerly enslaved people. It remained a school for the African American population in Beaufort County until the second half of...More

Thank Fletch1946
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