The Charleston Museum, Charleston

(4.3/5 based on 600+ 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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3 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 23 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA May, relaxing, beaches, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, relaxing, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 5 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, culture, outdoors, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: February, culture, outdoors, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 5 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, historic sites, museums, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 3 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: April, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in South Carolina BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: April, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in South Carolina BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 13 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I was extremely excited I can honestly say I am a huge history nerd. I only visit Charlestown once every blue moon and it is never just for me . I was so ecstatic to go . Well I was not as excited whe...  more »
  • It is nice to history with all its good and bad. Nice displays on the periods covered. Wish they had more items of all the periods covered. 
  • We were looking to spend a cold and rainy day somewhere indoors and this was a perfect choice. The museum was much more than I anticipated. We purchased the ticket that allowed us to visit the museum ...  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.