MUSC remembers Hugo: Heroism and Humanism

Heather Woolwine

Sept. 17, 2009

MUSC remembers Hugo: Heroism and Humanism

Online exhibit tells of those who endured one of Charleston's defining moments

CHARLESTON -- The Waring Historical Library and MUSC University Archives announce the opening of a new online exhibit: 20 Years Later: MUSC Remembers Hugo ( The exhibit opens September 21, 2009, and tells the story of this period through archival records, photographic images, and oral history interviews. To commemorate this anniversary, MUSC University Archives staff, a division of the Waring Historical Library, created an exhibit which documents the bravery of hospital, faculty and maintenance staffs as they protected people and facilities before, during, and after the storm.

Drawing heavily from these collected interviews, as well as the records of the MUSC University Archives and photographs contributed by MUSC staff, this exhibit documents MUSC's collective response to the storm. The exhibit details the difficulties facing staff throughout the storm and chronicles their commitment to their patients, students, families, and colleagues on that infamous night.

The epitome of 'a dark and stormy night'

On 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 land, roofs blew off buildings, and acres of trees lay pulverized. On the islands north of the city and in the village of McClellanville, houses disappeared, broken into pieces and tossed like discarded toys.

The storm tested MUSC staffs' resilience as they monitored patients, even as winds howled outside the windows and electricity faltered. Faculty assisted students and families, whose homes were threatened by rising tides and winds. Maintenance staff ensured building safety. These actions during this critical time saved many lives, even as the storm devastated the campus, city, and state.

For more information about the web exhibit, please contact Brooke Fox, University Archivist at To view other web exhibits presented by the Waring Historical Library, please visit

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.6 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit or