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Richland County Aims to Attract Heritage Tourism > Columbia Business Report

The Richland County Conservation Commission is working on plans to attract more tourists interested in African American history.

The commission is currently working with the county’s purchasing office to select a vendor to develop a heritage tourism marketing plan for Richland County, according to a news release. He will also spearhead a campaign to build the county’s ability to attract visitors who want to learn more about African American history and culture.

“Some important parts of that history are here in our county,” said Glenice Pearson, chair of the commission’s historical committee. “A number of efforts have been made to interpret and recall this story, but there is still a lot of story to tell.”

Once a marketing plan is developed and approved by Richland County Council, officials estimate the project would take nine months to a year to develop.

The marketing plan will draw on input from historic site managers, stakeholders, potential visitors, and others to highlight a variety of county-based sites, natural resources, and other resources to that travelers can choose from a menu of experiences during their stay.

Heritage and tourist sites in Richland County include the Reconstruction era museum at the Woodrow Wilson family home and at the Modjeska Monteith Simkins House in downtown Columbia as well as Reconstructed heritage tourist trail, which tells the story of the reconstruction era in Colombia.

“Richland County’s historical and cultural resources are important to showcase because they provide everyone with the opportunity to learn and positively interact around our history and culture,” said Quinton Epps, Director of the County Conservation Division.

The impending January opening of the International African American Museum of Charleston has helped spur the project, according to the Richland County news release.

“As the International African American Museum of Charleston nears its grand opening, the Richland County Conservation Commission is working on plans to bring heritage tourism closer to home,” the statement read. “Scheduled to open in January, the IAAM is expected to bring local, regional, national and international visitors to Charleston to learn about connections across the African diaspora, the spread of African-American culture and influence and the movement for justice and equality. ”

Information on heritage tourism sites in Richland County is available online at

Contact Christina Lee Knauss at 803-753-4327.