where the walls can 'talk'

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Lisa Sulka

As I hold my phone up to capture the image of George Cuthbert Heyward that hangs over the fireplace at the Heyward House, his eyes blink and his portrait begins to speak.

His mouth moves with each spoken word, and my guests are as impressed as I was the first time I saw and heard him speak, seemingly brought back to life!

It is all part of the Virtual Portrait Tour at the Heyward House, Bluffton's history museum and welcome center on Boundary Street in Historic Old Town.

For a small charge, one can gain access to the house and its indoor portraits, which include George and his wife Elizabeth, the first members of the Heyward family to live in the home; Gertrude Cole, daughter of John Cole, for whom the house was originally built; opera star of the day, Jenny Lind; and the last owner of the home, Margaret Heyward.

By downloading the Zappar application to a mobile phone, visitors are able to activate each of the portraits, and witness their words and movements. As many times as I watch the portraits come to life on my phone, I am still amazed at the technology.

The Bluffton Historical Preservation Society is changing its name, in order to better communicate the organization's message to residents and to the new families that are visiting and moving to the area.

The new name is Historic Bluffton Foundation, which I must admit, is a little easier to say than the old name. Executive Director Kelly Graham points out that the purpose and mission of the nonprofit organization have not changed, and a focus on education and sharing information about the history of our town will continue to be at the heart of Historic Bluffton Foundation's goals.

A special film project that is being produced by the Historic Bluffton Foundation, an oral history documentary film titled "Bluffton, A May River State of Mind," is in final stages of editing. The hour-long film premiers with a star-studded party and viewing on Saturday evening, March 21, on Common Ground at the Heyward House.

The film features personal interviews and comments from more than 20 Bluffton locals. Join the fun and see for the first time a rare collection of local folks who represent the colorful stories of Bluffton's past.

For information and tickets you can call the Heyward House at 843-757-6293.

Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton. lsulka@townofbluffton.com

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