South Carolina Military Museum, Columbia

#5 of 9 in Museums in Columbia
Military Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum

The mission of the South Carolina Military Museum is to honor and chronicle the South Carolina citizen soldier and this State’s martial tradition from its colonial founding in 1670 to present-day operations worldwide. Featuring an impressive collection of artifacts, displays and exhibits, the Museum tells the story of the South Carolina militia, its evolution into the National Guard, and its important role today as a reserve component and force multiplier for the United States Army and Air Force.

The South Carolina Military Museum possesses a vast array of authentic firearms, edged weapons, uniforms, ordnance, artillery pieces, and armored fighting vehicles that literally bring history to life. These include a Columbiad Cannon that once protected Charleston Harbor, an AH-64A Apache Cockpit and Weapons Trainer, and an H-13B “Sioux” Helicopter – serial number one! Interspersed throughout are also such items as an M48A1 “Patton” Tank, an amphibious WWII German Schwimmwagen, one-of-a-kind Type II Blakely Rifled Cannons, an F-104 downward-firing ejection seat, and a rare collection of South Carolina swords / sabers

One can easily find pieces of the Palmetto State’s military history elsewhere. But only the South Carolina Military Museum offers genuine artifacts from every period in South Carolina history. From “new world” battles with the Spanish to hunting down Taliban in Afghanistan, the Museum honors all of South Carolina’s sons and daughters in uniform. Their history, after all, is our history and the South Carolina Military Museum is devoted to preserving this legacy for all generations.

Visit or schedule a tour today, and discover a history forged in battle!

Holidays the Museum is closed:

New Year’s Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Presidents' Day

Memorial Day

July 4th

Labor Day (Weekend)

Veterans Day

Thanksgiving Weekend (Thursday through Sunday)

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the Day after Christmas

The Museum is closed on days of all home games for the University of South Carolina.
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South Carolina Military Museum reviews

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80 reviews
  • This free museum has many displays that you will not find in other military museums. Examples are several exhibits on German WW II equipment & the frame of a WW II glider. This is on the grounds of....  more »
  • Was very impressed with this small museum which is ran by vets and offered FREE for all who would like to attend. Lots of interesting artifacts and history. We were greeted upon entering and made to.....  more »
  • Displays are well organized and loaded with artifacts. Love all the large equipment! We went for the Battle of the Bulge commemorative event and were impressed with the reenactors, displays and the...  more »
  • A beautiful location, a great variety of vehicles and weaponry. My only issue was with how the amoured vehicles outside were preserved. I wish they could be inside and of better care but that's mostly a minor issue, something that probably isn't affordable for a smaller museum like this one. Loved it though.
  • Excellent, excellent, excellent! As this was my first visit, I had no idea what to expect. What started out as a simple, quick walkthrough, turned into a two hour tour. Unfortunately, there is way too much to read (and I don't like missing a single thing) and enjoy in that amount of time. Soooooo ... I'll be returning with more time allowed to take in everything. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • My family loved it and it's free! They do have donation boxes around the museum. I would suggest bringing cash to donate. The men up front are friendly and informative. There's so many cool things to see. They even let the kids touch certain exhibits, which most museums won't do.
  • A great collection of South Carolinian military history through the ages!! Kid friendly with plenty of neat tidbits. Even my history loving husband learned a few knew things!
  • This museum is great IF you like military museums. It has some exhibits of little known military vehicles that are very informative. It also includes everything from the revolutionary & civil wars through desert storm. Well thought out, well laid out. I highly recommend.

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