Get the latest delivered to your inbox
Privacy Policy

Now Reading

A Gift of Accessibility for South Carolina State Museum

Aflac donation supports improved accessibility for museum guests

A Gift of Accessibility for South Carolina State Museum

Aflac donation supports improved accessibility for museum guests

Published 12-14-23

Submitted by Aflac Incorporated

Cutting the ribbon at the South Carolina State Museum.

Originally published on Aflac Newsroom

Within the walls of the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, South Carolina, guests are immersed in the rich history, culture, achievements and natural wonders of South Carolina. Each year, the museum welcomes about 200,000 visitors, including more than 70,000 children who experience the museum with their classmates on school field trips.

Until recently, guests with disabilities could not fully experience the museum because of limited accessibility to essential spaces. A $200,000 lead gift from Aflac fueled the museum’s Reimagine the Experience campaign to improve accessibility, offer new accessibility-focused resources and enhance the museum experience for more than 1.1 million adults1 and about 250,000 children2 living with a disability in South Carolina — and the many tourists from outside of South Carolina who visit each year.

" "
Photo: Harriet Gallman (front) and Montana Crosby, a recreation specialist with the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, visit the new Aflac Wellness Room at the South Carolina State Museum.

A call to action

In 2022, Senior Group Philanthropy Coordinator Amanda Grover learned about the museum’s accessibility campaign and funding needs. She quickly brought it to the attention of Aflac leadership and advocated for Aflac to be the first corporate partner to contribute.

“Aflac has a longtime relationship with the State Museum and has proudly supported several projects to advance the museum’s mission. Their campaign to increase accessibility resonated with me — and with so many on our leadership team — because many museum guests didn’t have the access and resources needed to fully experience it,” said Amanda. “I knew that with the right level of philanthropic support from Aflac, it would be transformative not only for the museum, but also for so many people with disabilities in South Carolina and beyond.”

" "
Joy Jackson and her daughter, Nyla, experience one of the new Aflac Mother’s Rooms at the South Carolina State Museum.

Stepping up and giving back

The museum’s accessibility campaign aligned with Aflac’s commitment to fostering a sense of belonging for all and supporting communities served. With Aflac’s generous support and additional funding from the State legislature, all 10 of the museum’s public restrooms are now fully compliant, in accordance with The Americans with Disabilities Act. Aflac also funded two mothers’ rooms to provide privacy and comfort for nursing mothers and a wellness room to provide a quiet space for guests to rest and rejuvenate.

“Aflac has a long history of providing an inclusive environment for our own workforce, so we are very proud to help remove accessibility barriers and offer guests with disabilities the best possible experience at the museum,” said Bob Ruff, senior vice president, Group Voluntary Benefits, Aflac. “Supporting the State Museum’s vision to increase accessibility across its spaces and programs is one way we are expressing Aflac’s culture of care.”

For Jamie Wardrup, Aflac’s director of Premier Broker Relations, the South Carolina State Museum is a special place that he experienced with his family after moving to Columbia nearly 25 years ago. Wardrup champions the work of the museum and volunteers his time as a member of the museum’s board of directors.

“I’m proud of Aflac’s commitment to the museum, this important project, the Midlands community and South Carolina. Now, anyone and everyone will have the access they deserve — to have a fully engaging experience at the museum, a wonderful educational resource in our community,” said Jamie.

Celebrating accessibility for all

On Dec. 4, Bob, Amanda and Jamie were joined by Keyla Cabret-Lewis, Aflac’s vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Talent Development, representatives of the Aflac donations committee, the museum team and community supporters to celebrate this initial step in the museum’s Reimagine the Experience project.

“We’re grateful for our partnership with the museum on this project. It gives us an opportunity to work together to shine a bright light on the work that still needs to be done to make sure all populations, no matter how they think or move through our cities and streets, are included in our history, events and public spaces,” said Keyla. “It’s about recognizing the different ways people think, the diverse physical needs people might have and ensuring those who are disabled have access to all the same services and resources that are so easily taken for granted.”

1 CDC: 
2 S.C. DHEC:

Photos courtesy of the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs.

Aflac's family of insurers includes Aflac and/or Aflac New York, and/or Continental American Insurance Company and/or Continental American Life Insurance Company.


Aflac Incorporated logo

Aflac Incorporated

Aflac Incorporated

Aflac is a Fortune 500 company, providing financial protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. When a policyholder or insured gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fairly, promptly and directly to the insured. For more than six decades, Aflac voluntary insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress.

More from Aflac Incorporated

Join today and get the latest delivered to your inbox