The Aiken Thoroughbred Hall of Fame and Museum is a treasure within a treasure.
The museum, which celebrates the region’s pivotal horseracing legacy, lies within Hopelands Gardens – a 14-acre wonderland of century-old oaks, magnolias and cedars.
The famous Aiken Training Track played a role in training 39 champion thoroughbreds, said Lisa Hall, the city’s supervisor and the director of the museum.
“We have a lot of exhibits and racing memorabilia,” she said. “The most popular one is the Hall of Fame.”
The museum occupies a historic carriage house and stables that belonged to Mr. and Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, who owned Hopelands Gardens.
Exhibits include a display on the contributions of black trainers to Aiken’s thoroughbred industry and the Bostwick Room, dedicated to famed polo star G.H. “Pete” Bostwick, who was also a successful steeplechase owner and trainer.
“We also have an art exhibit, which we are extending just for Masters Week,” Hall said of works by equestrian artist Booth Malone. “That’s something we thought people would enjoy.”
The site’s regular hours are 2-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 2-5 p.m. on Sundays. However, the museum will be closed Good Friday and Easter Sunday.