Sword Fest at museum to feature lectures, artifacts and live swordplay

COLUMBIA, S.C. – History will come to swashbuckling, schwinging, clanging life on Saturday, Feb. 10, in Columbia.
That’s when Sword Fest, a day-long celebration of the role swords once played in combat, comes to the S.C. Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.

There will be lectures by experts, to be sure, and swords from the museum’s own collections will be on display. But there will also be action, with several live demonstrations of swordplay in both historical and modern sport forms, and special activities for kids.


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Here’s the schedule:
10 a.m. – Kids’ Demo.
11 a.m. – Allen Johnson, of the “Palmetto Knights” Combat Demonstration Team, talk and demo: From Broadsword to Saber: How Georgian Broadsword and Backsword Systems Influenced the 19th-Century Military Saber.
11:45 a.m. – Gallery tour of swords on exhibit.
12 p.m. – Modern fencing demonstration by the award-winning Columbia Fencing Club.
1 p.m. – Neill Rose, 19th-century military historian, talk: Swords of South Carolina.
1-3 p.m. – Special showing of swords from the collection.
2 p.m. – Joe Long, Relic Room curator of education, talk: Stories of South Carolina Swordsmen.
3 p.m. – USC Aikido Club, Bokken – demonstration of Japanese wooden sword technique.

This is a great opportunity not only to see swords flashing, but to learn things about our history you might not know otherwise. For instance, Joe Long will tell about South Carolina’s one known duel with swords, which occurred in Charleston in the late 18th century.

Long will also tell of one of our state’s greatest combat swordsmen, Wade Hampton III – yes, the same guy depicted on his horse on the State House grounds. “He may have done the most hand-to-hand fighting of any officer of his rank in the war,” Long says. Hampton fought three Union swordsmen at the same time at Gettysburg, and two of them did not survive.

All that and more will be featured on Feb. 10 at the museum, located at 301 Gervais St., in the same building as the South Carolina State Museum.

About the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum

Founded in 1896, the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum is an accredited museum focusing on South Carolina’s distinguished martial tradition through the Revolutionary War, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the War on Terror, and other American conflicts. It serves as the state’s military history museum by collecting, preserving, and exhibiting South Carolina’s military heritage from the colonial era to the present, and by providing superior educational experiences and programming. It is located at 301 Gervais St. in Columbia, sharing the Columbia Mills building with the State Museum. For more information, go to https://crr.sc.gov/.


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