South Carolina State Museum, Columbia

4.4
#1 of 7 in Museums in Columbia
Immerse yourself in South Carolina's history and culture at South Carolina State Museum, the largest museum in the Southeastern United States. The old Columbia Mills building housing the museum is an artifact in itself, listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982. Explore the collection, which is divided into four themes: natural history, technology and science, culture, and art. Look for highlights including the first locomotive built in America, the Best Friend of Charleston, and the H.L. Hunley--the first submarine to sink a rival ship in battle. View exhibits commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Confederate relic room, and displays about the state's car manufacturing industry. Stop by the digital dome planetarium and the 4-D interactive theater for shows, or head to the observatory to look at the sun and stars through one of four telescopes. Work out when and for how long to visit South Carolina State Museum and other Columbia attractions using our handy Columbia trip site .
Create an itinerary including South Carolina State Museum
map
South Carolina State Museum Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
532 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • There is an entry fee and then there are several areas you pay additionally for if you choose to. We did add the 4D show to our entry price and it was a cute show with some fun effects. The main level...  more »
  • As a visiting "Yankee," I was interested in viewing how the museum treated South Carolina's past as a slave state and a member of the Confederacy, how it dealt with its Civil War heroes, and how it tr...  more »
  • We have a membership after realizing it was more cost effective for us to visit. We go different times during the year as they do switch their venues & have different events all year. You can never be...  more »
Google
  • We took a special education class to the museum and they loved it. The exhibits were fantastic and the staff could not have been nicer. Our group especially liked the 4-D show about the chipmunk. Very well worth the time and money.
  • This place is amazing. My friend and I started at the top floor, deciding to work our way down in the 3 1/2 hours we had before they closed. Things did not go as expected. There is so much information, fascinating artifacts, and interactive exhibitions that we didn't even have time to completely explore 2 floors. The wings are arranged topically and it seemed like every exhibition we walked through was a completely new world. I had zero knowledge of the history of the south east in general, especially south carolina, but i walked out of there with an appreciation for the epic breadth of history that occurred there. The staff working here are pretty amazing people too. While exploring the telescope room, the caretaker of the observatory telescope came over to chat, and asked if we wanted to check out the big one. I felt like a giddy little kid hanging out with a friend who just got the newest gaming system. Cloud cover that day was complete, but he said if we came back we'd be able to see it in action. Instead we talked about last year's eclipse and saw some images and a video he took using that telescope, the telescope's history, a bit about manufacturing lenses, and some exciting advances, particularly with orbital telescopes. I would give this museum 5+ stars if I could. It was an unplanned and unexpected stop to kill some time before heading out to dinner and it ended up being one of the highlights of the weekend. I would go so far as to say it's worth making a special trip to Columbia specifically to come here.
  • Not my thing. But it was alright. Definitely think they need more interactive displays. Make sure u have all day for this one!
  • Our family really enjoys the South Carolina state museum. It has a lot of different exhibits and things that are interesting for people of all ages. Some of the exhibits are getting a bit dated and the facility is in need for some updates but overall it's a good day with the family.
  • I am from Texas and I was visiting in South Carolina with my daughter and the whole family went to this Museum it is worth seeing and it is beautiful and we enjoyed it tremendously even bought trinkets to bring home to my family in Texas. LOL. I have a whole lot more to say about this Museum but I don't believe I will get it all on this little page. I will be back to visit it again.
Places to stay near South Carolina State Museum

Plan your trip to Columbia

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to South Carolina State Museum by other users

10 days in Columbia BY A USER FROM PUERTO RICO July, culture, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in United States BY A USER FROM BAHAMAS July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 29 days in Columbia BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Columbia BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, teens, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: May, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 4 days in Columbia BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: May, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Columbia BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Columbia BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Columbia BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in South Carolina & Antigua BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, hidden gems PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 34 days in Columbia BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Columbia BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, kids, popular PREFERENCES: June, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Columbia BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, outdoors, relaxing, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: May, outdoors, relaxing, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans