News: Parris Island museum curator to be recognized for state award
Story by Lance Cpl. David Bessey
PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. – One of Parris Island’s dedicated civilian employees is scheduled to receive a prestigious award Oct. 17, 2013, for his continuous efforts to preserve South Carolina’s history.
Stephen Wise, the depot’s museum director and cultural resource manager, is one of only three people this year who will receive the Governor’s Award of the Humanities, presented by the Humanities Council of South Carolina during a ceremony in Columbia, S.C.
“I’m very honored to get it. I feel like a kid in a candy store, and I get to do what I like,” said Wise, who has been the museum director since 1983. “It’s not hard work when you do what you love. It’s wonderful.”
Mary Lou Brewton, president of the Beaufort County Historic Society and a former student of Wise, nominated her mentor for his achievements in protecting the history of the local area, South Carolina and Parris Island.
“He has made Beaufort history instrumental to the county, and his books he’s written are some of the greatest works on the Confederate Navy,” said Brewton. “He’s enthusiastic about history and is always willing to take the extra step.”
Wise has organized several events in Beaufort such as the 150th commemoration of the battles of Battery Wagner and Siege of Charleston Harbor, which displayed how the two battles deeply affected the local area.
As the cultural resource manager on Parris Island, Wise is in charge of preserving the archaeological findings and recovery of artifacts dating back more than 450 years when Europeans first settled on the island.
Wise is a native of Toledo, Ohio, and holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Wittenberg University, a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University and a doctorate from the University of South Carolina, where he studied under a noted Civil War historian and now moonlights as a history professor.
The Governor’s Award of the Humanities has been presented to 62 people since it was established in 1991. It recognizes outstanding achievements in humanities research, which is the study of the impact of languages, literature, philosophy, religion and performing arts throughout history. The award also goes to those who have promoted public understanding of the humanities and have demonstrated excellence in defining South Carolina’s impact on the nation and world.