The Charleston Museum, Charleston

(4.3/5 based on 650+ reviews on the web)
The Charleston Museum, reportedly the oldest museum in the United States, delves into the country's history, natural history, and ancient artifacts from around the world. Founded in 1773, the museum was inspired by the establishment of the British museum in London. Learn about the Native American people who originally inhabited the area, as well as the African slaves and European settlers who came along later. More exhibits teach about the history of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the weaponry of those conflicts. Other highlights include ancient Egyptian artifacts, historical textiles, South Carolina natural history, and the Loeblein gallery of Charleston silver. Using our custom trip planner, Charleston attractions like The Charleston Museum can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This museum gives a lot of history of Charleston in an interesting format. The quilts were beautiful and the kids enjoyed dressing up in period clothing. We arrived 1.5 hours before closing and we cou...  more »
  • My museum visit lasted about 3 hours, but it was time well spent. I believe the cost was $12. I went on a Wednesday afternoon, there were no crowds. Displays were well presented, in good condition and...  more »
  • This museum is filled with so much history. Starting on the outside, it educates visitors about so many different things that involve Charleston. If you go in order and visit each exhibit, the story o...  more »
Google
  • Americas first museum! It may not be the biggest or most elaborate but the history surrounding the museum alone makes this a must visit. See the Egyptian artifacts and Charlestons very own polar bear. 3 sites to check out including the museum itself as well as two historic homes. Weather you are a local or just visiting everyone should come experience this museum.
  • It's a museum about Charleston, that was the only museum in Charleston, so the museum itself has its own unique history. I brought my kids here (ranging 7 to 13) and we found enough to keep out eyes busy for a few hours. There are a few interactive things to do. It was fun, but on the expensive side. Not a requirement for visiting Charleston, but it's somewhere good to learn the history of the area and get a feel for South Carolinian quirkiness.
  • This museum was wonderful. There were so many artifacts, that I recommend setting aside a few hours to be able to read everything. My favorite part was the textile portion. They had beautiful wedding gowns from various time periods. The coolest part? Pictures of several brides were posted right behind the dress, which gives a fuller picture and allows the viewer to really step back in time. A couple of hoop skirts, wrap skirts, and jackets were provided for people to try on....yes I definitely tried them on and you should too. It's fun! They also have interesting ceramics. The slaves badges were very interesting and hearing the difference in roles between rice and cotton slaves was very educational. They definitely only skimmed the surface concerning slavery though. If you're looking for a more in depth look, I heard the Avery Research Center (part of the college of Charleston) does a great job at chronicling African American history in Charleston. My main criticism is that there's nothing about the Gullah people. I know technically they inhabited an island off the coast so they're not necessarily Charleston history. However, if you take a carriage ride, walk through the market, or listen to other tours, they often mention the Gullah people (especially in regards to the beautiful baskets sold in the market). I was just hoping that the museum would mention their background a bit, how they inhabited the island, their culture, and how their culture was influenced by or has impacted Charleston. Other than that, it was wonderful. I highly recommend spending some time here.
  • Educational programs are always engaging and well-done. I have brought my fifth grade class here for three years now and every single class loves the Charleston Museum!
  • It's a good museum but not very big (for the price). I wouldn't say it's a must see in Charleston.