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Penn Center

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 16 Penn Center Cir W, Saint Helena Island, SC 29920-5302
Phone Number:
+1 843-838-2432
See all hours
Mon - Sat 09:00 - 16:00

A significant African-American institution in the United States, its...

A significant African-American institution in the United States, its mission is to preserve the Sea Islands' history, culture and environment.

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Civil War Reconstruction Tour of Beaufort by Van

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 142 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 67
  • 50
    Very good
  • 20
  • 4
  • 1
Gullah history

Ton of history in this place. Wish we had more time. See where MLK stayed and wrote some of speeches. See where students stayed and had gym.

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Gainesville, Virginia
via mobile
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142 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 142: English reviews
North Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
204 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

We didn't read about this ahead of time, which is rare for us. We tried to figure out from the map ($2) what the purpose of Penn School was. It wasn't until we looked at the website after leaving that we found out it was one of the country's first schools for freed slaves. They couldn't put that in the... More 

Thank MontereyFoodie
Gainesville, Virginia
Level Contributor
548 reviews
272 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Ton of history in this place. Wish we had more time. See where MLK stayed and wrote some of speeches. See where students stayed and had gym.

Thank matjaz2002
Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
39 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I was with a group of professionals who needed to brainstorm and create a framework for moving a revolutionary idea out into the public domain. Th Center where many of the US civil rights leaders met and strategized was an incredible venue. This was the perfect place with its attachments to US and World history. We took a break for... More 

Thank theronb19
Level Contributor
62 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We visited this place while on a bus tour and were glad we did. Victoria, the speaker and presenter was a wealth of information on the Gullah-Geeche culture. Our only disappointment was the lack of time while visiting. There was much more we all wanted to explore but didn't have time. The staff was great and very welcoming.

Thank 1horselover
Bridgeton, New Jersey
Level Contributor
515 reviews
286 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 188 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The Penn Center began after the Civil War as a school for emancipated youth under the direction of Unitarian and Quaker teachers and missionaries from southeastern Pennsylvania. It was the primary educational facility on the island until 1953. Can you believe the State of South Carolina did not fund education for black children on the island past seventh grade until... More 

1 Thank CyndyandByron
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2017

We visited Penn Center after our stay at Beaufort. It is a short drive to St. Helena Island and is very educational. The campus is rich with history and we even met a man who attended Penn Center as a young boy! Tickets are inexpensive and you learn so much about how this school helped so many people to learn... More 

Thank KAY F
suburban Washington DC
Level Contributor
72 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2017

This van tour was very personalized and our guide was raised in the area and shared personal history which made the visit very interesting. In addition to the van tour, we paid to visit the museum on the grounds. Learned much history, very touching in many respects.

Thank chezclark
Level Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed 16 February 2017

A friend who is a native of Beaufort accompanied us to the Penn Center and shared the history of this important community. The lovely lady on duty in the gift shop helped us understand more of its historical significance.

Thank Jan B
Level Contributor
172 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 January 2017 via mobile

This was our first visit. We first got to see a video telling us about the first school for free slaves. Many nice and educational relics and other buildings on site. This is definitely a place to visit when in this area.

Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 22 January 2017 via mobile

Such a rich history of heritage and a lot of family and ancestral ties. You should come and take in all the love and support and fun at the gullah lifestyle and art. And the food is delicious. Come see mama pearl and her sweet bread.

Thank shana a

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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?