The Charleston Museum was founded in 1773, making it America’s first museum. War delayed the museum’s public opening, but the doors finally opened to the public in 1824. The Museum features two levels of exhibits that recounts the history of Charleston and the Lowcountry by showcasing hundreds of items ranging from ancient fossils to Civil War artifacts.
The first level is home to the Natural History section, temporary exhibits that focus on local history and the museum’s gift shop. The second level is home to eight permanent exhibits:
- Lowcountry History Hall - Learn about the Native Americans who first inhabited the South Carolina Lowcountry as well as the colonists and enslaved African Americans who transformed the region into an agricultural empire.
- The Armory - Showcases examples of historic weaponry, dating from 1750 to the twentieth century
- Becoming Americans - Explore Charleston's role in the American Revolution
- Charleston in the Civil War - Learn about Charleston's role in the Civil War
- Early Days - See collections from around the world including an Egyptian mummy and mummy case
- Kidstory - A hands-on exhibit for children where the history of Charleston comes alive
- Historic Textiles - Features regularly rotating exhibits from a rich historic textiles and clothing collection
- Charleston Silver - Showcasing the impressive work of the South’s finest silver craftsmen and women
The museum also owns two historic homes, the Joseph Manigault House and the Heyward Washington House, that are open to the public. Admission for each is $12 or save money by purchasing combo tickets. Limited free parking is available and paid public parking is available across the street. Allow approximately 2 hours to tour the entire museum.
Charleston Museum Photos
Charleston Museum Hours and Admission
Monday - Saturday: 9 am - 5 pm
Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm
Closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve (closes @ 1 pm) and Christmas Day
Adults (18+) $12
Youth (13-17) $10
Child (3-12) $5
Children under 3 Free
Charleston Museum Address and Map
Current and Upcoming Events
at the Charleston Museum
What: In Defense of Charleston: A Tour of Battery Pringle
When: Nov. 25, 2020
Time: 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Where: The Dill Sanctuary
Admission: Members $20 / Nonmembers $35
The Confederate earthwork Battery Pringle was created by enslaved people and soldiers stationed on James Islands to serve as part of General Pierre Beauregard’s “New Lines.” Hurriedly constructed in 1863, the battery served as part of the defense of Charleston and James Island until the end of the Civil War.
Join Chief of Collections Jennifer McCormick to explore this historically important landmark and better understand its strategic importance in the second half of the Civil War.
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