Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston

4.4
#10 of 15 in Museums in Charleston
Formerly known as the Gibbes Art Gallery, the Gibbes Museum of Art is an art museum in Charleston, South Carolina. Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the museum moved into a new Beaux Arts building at 135 Meeting Street, in the Charleston Historic District, in 1905. The Gibbes houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works of fine art, principally American works, many with a connection to Charleston or the South.The benefactor, James Shoolbred Gibbes, donated $100,000 to the Carolina Arts Association upon his death in 1899 for the "erection of a suitable building for the exhibitions of paintings." Receipt of the money by the city, however, was delayed by a will contest filed by nieces and nephews of Gibbes. Their case was heard in the state court of New York during 1900 and 1901. On December 6, 1901, the New York Supreme Court (the state's trial-level court) issued an opinion declaring that the gift to Charleston was valid.Receiving the money in 1903, the Association hired Frank Pierce Milburn to design the gallery. His design included a Tiffany-style dome, Doric columns and pediment capped windows and doors. Milburn completed the drawings of the building in mid-1903, and a drawing of the proposed building appeared in the Charleston Evening Post on June 5, 1903. Notices were published seeking contractors' bids for the work starting in August 1903. In September 1903, H.T. Zacharias was selected as the contractor and received a contract for $73,370 for the building. Zacharias started work on September 28, 1903, removing the remains of the South Carolina Agricultural Hall which had occupied the lot. Although work on the foundations had begun already, a ceremony was held on December 8, 1903, to lay the cornerstone of the building at the northeast corner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
158 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • August 12, 2017
    This is a wonderful space to enjoy artwork. Many local artists represented. Strong on portraiture and images of the natural world. Many journals and artifacts exhibited with artwork; nicely connected ...  more »
  • August 6, 2017
    This museum is located in a beautiful old mansion which you get to see in parts like the stairwell and the large entry hall on the first floor. The exhibits give you a good overview of mostly American...  more »
  • August 2, 2017
    Great museum in a mansion. Wonderful architecture and local art. Some art is by current local artists. The permanent collection represents Southern artists too.  more »
Google
  • June 15, 2017
    It's OK at best. I think it's pricey for just basically 1.25 floors of art and you're done in a couple of hours, even taking your time. Chicago is $25 and you can't see everything in one day. Cleveland is free and there is more to see. And, why does everything have to be Charleston-centric? It's almost like they don't want it there if there is no connection to Charleston. But, we have an inferiority complex in South Carolina, and we always have. They have tons of room, and they need to utilize it with more art, particularly more European art. The few impressionist pieces they have are very good, in my opinion. The bird sculptures on the 3rd floor are good, particularly the rooster.
  • June 20, 2017
    Wish I had some of that great treatment when we arrived. Took awhile to start appreciating where I was after the lousy welcome we received. Great building. Great art. No warm fuzzies.
  • June 29, 2017
    Wheelchair accessible ( side entrance ) parking garage near on queen street. Good collection of art to do a history project on ( why I went ) bit pricey though.
  • March 24, 2017
    The staff was very inviting. The gallery has great displays. Can't wait to go back.
  • July 4, 2017
    Great people, great building. Collection tries to cover too much

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