Drugstore redux

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Elliott Levy wants to breathe new life into one of the Aiken County Historical Museum's permanent displays.

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Elliott Levy, the Aiken County Historical Museum's executive director, stands behind the soda fountain counter of Moody's Drug Store, which is part of the museum's permanent collection. Mr. Levy wants to restore the soda fountain to working order and have parties in the exhibit, which reflects small-town life in the 1940s and '50s.  Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Elliott Levy, the Aiken County Historical Museum's executive director, stands behind the soda fountain counter of Moody's Drug Store, which is part of the museum's permanent collection. Mr. Levy wants to restore the soda fountain to working order and have parties in the exhibit, which reflects small-town life in the 1940s and '50s.

On the lower level of the museum is Moody's Drug Store. It's not a replica. The exhibit contains the items -- down to the tubes of Ipana toothpaste in a display case -- that were part of the drugstore until the day Savannah River Plant came to the town of Dunbarton in the 1950s.

The druggist played an important role in rural towns during the 20th century, Mr. Levy said.

"The family druggist knew everyone in the family," he said.

The drugstore was dismantled for construction of Savannah River Plant, and its contents were stored in barns until the early 1980s. All of the items sold at the drugstore were kept in cases; tonics and cures that are no longer on the market remain in their boxes and bottles. One case also contains buttons and toothpaste, and there is a comb display.

During its heyday, the drugstore had a working soda fountain, but it is no longer functional.

"We need equipment used in drugstore soda fountains," Mr. Levy said. "I want to create a whole atmosphere. I look at everything as being educational and teaching. People would be coming into a drugstore in the 1950s."

He's also talked with the owners of Sweet Cow Creamery about having ice cream socials in the space on a regular basis once the soda fountain is working. He would also like to play music from the late 1940s and early '50s and even have dancers in period costume entertain at the parties.

Also on Mr. Levy's wish list are photographs from the interior of Moody's Drug Store to add to the display.

The Moody's Drug Store exhibit isn't the only space in the museum that has been the focus of Mr. Levy's attention of late.

The Aiken County room, which is the first room to the right of the museum entrance, received some additional Civil War memorabilia earlier this month. Several flags from Confederate units were donated, as was a Confederate uniform jacket.

The flags had been passed down to a local resident after the death of his uncle; the recipient was moving to a smaller home when he made the donation.

And beginning Sept. 1, the main ballroom will be dedicated to an exhibit honoring the polo events held in Aiken during the month.

For more informationon museum events, call (803) 642-2015.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at charmain.brackett@augustachronicle.com.


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