Introduction

On the night of September 21, 1989, Hurricane Hugo, a Category IV storm, battered the Charleston area with hours of heavy rains and 140 mile-per-hour winds. Hundreds of boats were swept onto the land, roofs flew off buildings, acres of trees were pulverized. On the islands north of the city and in the village of McClellanville, houses just disappeared, broken into pieces and blown away.

The storm tested the Medical University’s resilience. The hospital staff monitored patients, even as the winds howled outside the windows and the electricity faltered. Faculty assisted students and families, whose homes were threatened by rising tides and winds. Maintenance staff ensured building safety. Their actions at this critical time saved many lives, even as the storm devastated the campus, city, and state.

This exhibit commemorates the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo. Archival records, photographic images, and oral history interviews document the bravery of the hospital, faculty, and maintenance staffs as they protected people and facilities before, during, and after the storm.