WSUMC Museum &
the Julia Hyatt Huffman Archives 

• Did you know that the first worship leader at Washington Street Church was ordained by John Wesley himself in 1787?

• Or that the first Christian sermon in Columbia was preached by a clergyman who later became minister at Washington Street?

• Or that, over the years, four of our senior ministers have gone on to become Methodist bishops?

• Or that, it is claimed, our church was mistakenly burned during the horrid fire that consumed much of Columbia toward the end of the War Between the States?

• The history of our special ole church is indeed rich in such stories, and a bit of reading and a bit of time spent in the archives of Washington Street Church will reveal these and many more fascinating tidbits.

Our History and Archives Museum is located on the third floor

Pew markers indicating rows for female college students

Nineteenth-Century costumes used in Bicentennial Pageant

Bishop Capers’ Chair

The Ministry of History is a focus always deemed important by our 220-year-old church. When the Church’s Records and History Committee committed to a museum restoration project before the COVID pandemic, the decision was made not only to display artifacts from Washington Street’s storied past but also to provide placards and other informative displays that would educate our congregation and visitors about a significant sacred site in the Columbia area.   This goal has been achieved using these and selected other resources:

  • Four specific exhibits detailing important historical persons/events:

–John Harper and the Founding of Washington Street Methodist Church

–Bishop William Capers

–Washington Street Church and Columbia College

–Washington Street Church and the Civil War

  • A large, three-panel, illustrated timeline of the Church’s history
  • A 19th century Birds-Eye View Map of Columbia with the Church identified within an inset
  • Clothing and furniture items that are important to the Church’s history

Following the museum refurbishment, Washington Street Church received the SC United Methodist Conference’s Herbert Hucks Award for Historic Preservation and Interpretation for 2020. This important recognition marked the fourth time our Church has received the annual Hucks Award.

Several times each year the Church or the historian receives requests from those inside and outside the congregation regarding past family Church membership, burial records, marriage records, and other genealogical information. Fortunately, our archives are kept in good order, and most questions can be researched and accurately answered.   

For more information about the Church’s history and congregational membership, the following members of the Records and History Committee may be consulted:

Michael Broome, Church Historian [email protected]; 803-783-4265

Christine Hait, R & H member [email protected]; 803-348-6187

Ed McClain, R & H member [email protected]; 803-479-3468

Rozanna Pfeiffer, R & H member [email protected]; 803-553-6932

Shelley Stafford, R & H member [email protected]; 803-413-1168

David Warden, R & H member [email protected]; 912-674-4806

Please find the time to visit our archives and museum. You might have an interest in confirming a relative’s membership at Washington Street Church, or you could merely wish to check a decision made by a church committee at some past time. This historical treasure is located on the third floor in the Sunday School section, easily found if you turn left at the top of the stairs or when you exit the elevator and walk to the end of the hall. You are cordially invited to browse through the museum at any time. If you wish to find something specific in the archives collection, we ask that you call Mike Broome, church historian, for an appointment. You can reach him at 803-783-4265, or [email protected].

As always, thank you for your interest in Washington Street United Methodist Church.