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  • Lowcountry Museums: The Evolution of the Morris Center from Gas Station to Cultural Gem

Lowcountry Museums: The Evolution of the Morris Center from Gas Station to Cultural Gem

Monday, April 15, 2024 10:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Nestled in the Ridgeland area of the South Carolina Lowcountry, the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage stands as a testament to the region's rich history and vibrant culture. 

Those who live in or have visited Ridgeland, SC are familiar with the antique Sinclair Gas Station on the corner of Main Street. 

For those who have yet to stop by, it’s always a fun surprise when they realize the nostalgic green landmark is actually the heritage center!

Let’s explore the remarkable evolution of the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage as it transformed from a gas station and antique shop into the beloved venue it is today.

A Historic Landmark Reimagined

In the 1970’s, Danny Morris established an antique refinishing business in the building that now serves as the Morris Center’s venue hall. Danny eventually bought more buildings and started the first Handy Dan’s convenience store and gas station. 

Back then, the Morris Center's building served as a Sinclair Service Station, catering to travelers along the increasingly busy Interstate 95.

Danny was an avid historian and dedicated his life to the preservation of Ridgeland and Lowcountry history. He was an active member of the Jasper County Historical Society and led the restoration of many of the county’s historical markers.

Preserving the Past, Embracing the Future

In 2005, Danny passed away at the young age of 53. As part of his legacy, he provided the funds for a foundation to capture the spirit of his community and nourish its soul. 

Community leaders saw the potential to breathe new life into the historic buildings he owned while preserving Danny’s legacy for future generations. Thus, the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage was born.

Through meticulous restoration efforts and a commitment to honoring the region's heritage, the former gas station was transformed into a widely lauded museum and cultural center.

Ensuring Everyone Can Celebrate Lowcountry Heritage

Today, the Morris Center stands as a beacon of cultural preservation and celebration, outside of the hustle and bustle of towns like Hilton Head, Savannah and Charleston. 

Danny’s focus was making sure people of all ages, backgrounds and economic standing had ample access to learn about the beauty and relevance of Lowcountry culture and history.

The center resides in Jasper County, one of the most underserved counties in SC in terms of educational resources and access. The Morris Center has actively taken the lead in changing this statistic, offering complimentary access to their exhibits as well as teacher resources, a grant-funded field trip program, and countless community events for local families.

The museum itself draws visitors from all over the state, north Georgia and beyond. From interactive exhibits and educational programs to special events and community outreach initiatives, the center serves as a vital resource for the local community.

Exploring a Morris Center Membership

While admission is always free with a suggested $5 donation, visitors and supporters are invited to become members of the center for only $25 a year. This membership includes first access to private exhibit tours, event registrations, venue usage and more. 

For those who may not be able to visit regularly but want to help ensure the next generation has access to cultural experiences, we invite you to help us honor Danny’s legacy by joining here.


From its 20th century beginnings as a gas station to its current incarnation as a cultural gem, the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage serves as a shining example of the power of preservation and the enduring spirit of community. 

As we look to the future, we remain committed to our mission of preserving, interpreting, and celebrating the history and culture of the South Carolina Lowcountry. 

Whether you're a history buff, an art enthusiast, an educator, or simply curious about the rich tapestry of the Lowcountry, the Morris Center invites you to embark on a journey of discovery and celebration. Come explore the evolution of the Morris Center and experience the magic of the South Carolina Lowcountry firsthand.

Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage




PO Box 1116
Ridgeland, SC 29936


Tuesday - Saturday
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.


10782 S. Jacob Smart Blvd.
Ridgeland, SC 29936

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