What’s the weight of a single word? A sentence strung together? Paragraphs?

The most fundamental form of human communication — a craft that has laid the groundwork for great civilizations and expressions for every kind of emotion, words carry the scope of history and breadth of experience.

For a century, millions of words have flowed through the Index-Journal and its predecessors, chronicling events magnificent and banal as readers from all reaches of the Lakelands — and with the advent of modern technology, across the world — have reacted to those carefully chosen letters.

One of three family-owned newspapers in the state, the Index-Journal’s rich past can be explored in “A Family Affair — A Century of Publishing a Daily Newspaper,” a special exhibit that opened Thursday at The Museum, ahead of a permanent installation that will open in 2020.

“We are proud of serving this community for 100 years and we look forward to another 100. We don’t intend to be associated with the conglomerates that are merging and slicing and dicing staff to the point where you don’t really have a news product,” Executive Editor Richard S. Whiting said. “There’s a lot to be seen and read here. If there are typos, we did that intentionally so you can catch them. We love this exhibit that the museum put together.”

Broken into components, the display includes an evolution of the printed word, a vintage typewriter collection and documentation of the newspaper’s century of service.

As a reflection of the everyday men and women who over the years have kept the newspaper viable — from its front-line journalists to the press crew and carriers — the exhibit features photographs and clippings of employees along with issues that can be browsed by patrons.

Monica Foster, a longtime subscriber who attended Thursday’s opening, said she was impressed by the exhibit’s scope.

“This is really interesting because some of these things have changed so quickly with technology,” she said. “I love it. It just helps to remember where we came from.”

Jack Jennings, a 37-year subscriber, said he came to celebrate the Index-Journal’s longevity.

“It’s just great to have something else that’s 100 years old in Greenwood,” he said.

Members of the South Carolina Press Association also attended. Executive Director Bill Rogers said the Index-Journal is a testament to the power of locally produced journalism.

“It’s so important to the community. You’ve got a presence and history. If people want to come find you, there you are. You’re not in someone’s basement,” Rogers said.

The exhibit’s opening coincides with kickoff activities for the 52nd annual SC Festival of Flowers. Co-chairman Richard Thomason said the Index-Journal is a treasured commodity.

“We all know the Index-Journal has been a great member of our community but I’m not sure we really understand that we are one of only a few communities in South Carolina and across the United States that has had a locally owned and operated daily newspaper in its market for 100 years. In this world, you don’t see that anymore,” he said. “Small companies like the Index-Journal, local companies, that’s what makes Greenwood great.”

Contact staff writer Adam Benson at 864-943-5650 or on Twitter @ABensonIJ.