Charleston Museum 


Charleston Museum

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 recount 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


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Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum

Click Photos to Enlarge

Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum

Charleston Museum Hours and Admission


Hours: 
Monday - Saturday: 9 am - 5 pm
Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm
Closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve (closes @ 1 pm) and Christmas Day

Admission:
Adults (18+) $12
Youth (13-17) $10
Child (3-12) $5
Children under 3 Free


Charleston Museum Address and Map


Charleston Museum
360 Meeting St
Charleston SC 29403
(843) 722-2996
Charleston Museum


Current and Upcoming Events
at the Charleston Museum


What: Fossil Friday with Curator of Natural History Matthew Gibson
When: Fridays 
Time: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Where: The Charleston Museum
Admission: The event is free with admission

Do you LOVE fossils? Join Matthew Gibson, Curator of Natural History, on Fridays from 2 to 4 PM in the Bunting Natural History Gallery lab. Gibson will be on hand to share projects he is currently working on and help identify your fossil finds.


What: Charleston in Sports: A Photographic History 1890's-1960's
When: Mar. 28, 2022 - Dec. 18. 2022 
Time: 9 am - 5 pm 
Where: The Charleston Museum
Admission: Regular Admission

Explore Charleston in Sports: A Photographic History, 1890s-1960s on view in the Lowcountry Image Gallery until December 18, 2022.


What: Chintz: A Quilted History
When: Apr. 2, 2022 - Dec. 4. 2022 
Time: 9 am - 5 pm 
Where: The Charleston Museum
Admission: Regular Admission

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Chintz: A Quilted History on view in the Lowcountry Image Gallery.


What: The Charleston Museum: America's First Museum Book Launch
When: Oct. 13, 2022
Time: 6 pm - 7:30 pm
Where: Charleston Museum
Admission: Free 

In celebration of the 250th anniversary of its founding in 1773, The Charleston Museum is pleased to announce the release of a special commemorative volume, published by the University of South Carolina Press, entitled The Charleston Museum: America’s First Museum. Authored by Director Carl P. Borick, with contributions from Museum curatorial staff, this work features a history of the Museum, overviews of each of its collections, sections on the Heyward-Washington House, Joseph Manigault House and the Dill Sanctuary, along with beautiful photographs of nearly one hundred objects from the Museum’s impressive collections in archaeology, natural history, archived materials, decorative arts, weaponry, and historic textiles.

On October 13 at 6:00 pm, The Charleston Museum invites the community to share in the excitement of the upcoming momentous anniversary for America’s first museum with the official launch event for this celebratory publication. This special event is FREE and open to the public (registration is recommended). The evening will begin in the Museum’s Arthur M. Wilcox Auditorium with a presentation, followed by a brief Q&A segment. Afterwards, a light reception will be held in the main lobby with books available for purchase. Mr. Borick and other contributors will be on hand during the event to sign books. Register online for this event.


What: Revolutionary War Siege Lines Walking Tour with Director Carl Borick
When: Oct. 20, 2022
Time: 6 pm - 7 pm
Where: Charleston Museum
Admission: $40 members / $55 non-members

Join Carl P. Borick, Director of The Charleston Museum and author of A Gallant Defense: The Siege of Charleston, 1780, as he leads a tour to some of the key points related to the Revolutionary War Siege of Charleston, the longest siege of the war and largest battle fought in South Carolina.  The area to be toured, now an urban landscape interspersed with pleasant city parks was once the site of vicious fighting between besieging British troops and Patriot defenders during April – May 1780. Although the fortifications have long since disappeared, Borick will highlight notable features of the terrain that serve as reminders of this momentous battle.

The tour will begin at 6 pm, leaving from the Museum, for a walking tour lasting 1 – 1.5 hours. Comfortable footwear is recommended. Participants are invited to arrive early to purchase A Gallant Defense: The Siege of Charleston, 1780 or are welcome to bring previously purchased books to have signed. Register online.


What: Travel Candle Making Workshop with Local Artist Daisy McClellan
When: Oct. 25, 2022
Time: 5:30 pm - 7 pm
Where: Charleston Museum
Admission: $75 Member / $105 Non-Member

Join local artist, Daisy McClellan, for a relaxing Travel Candle Making Workshop developed for visitors and locals alike. In this class, you will learn how to make your very own soy candles from beginning to end. We’ll be using lidded tin containers to create the perfect “travel” candle for you to take on all your getaways. You’ll leave the class with  two candles mixed with your very own scent combinations using a variety of fragrance oils inspired by our beautiful city. Think magnolias, juicy peaches, sweet tea, the salty ocean. These break proof candles are great to throw in your bag to bring a little bit of Charleston with you wherever you go. As a bonus you can add a crystal and/or dried flowers to make them even more unique. Beginners are welcome – no experience is required. Register online.


What: The Work of Dr. Gabriel Manigault: An Intersection of Science, History, and Art Lecture
When: Oct. 27, 2022
Time: 6 pm - 7 pm
Where: Charleston Museum
Admission: Free (Donations Accepted)

Join Curator of Natural History, Matthew Gibson, as we continue The Charleston Museum’s 2022 fall lecture series by taking an in depth look at the scientific pursuits of Dr. Gabriel Manigault. Manigault, who served as Director of the Museum from 1873 through 1899, was particularly fascinated by skeletal anatomy. Gibson will showcase some of Manigault’s amazing work as well as discuss the biology of some very unique animals within the collection. Join us to learn more about this seamless mingling of biology, history, and art. This lecture is FREE for Members and FREE for the public. SUGGESTED DONATION $10. Register online.


What: Halloween Party: Trick or Treat at the Museum
When: Oct. 28, 2022
Time: 3 pm - 4:30 pm
Where: Charleston Museum
Admission: Member Child $10 / Non-member Child $15

Mummies, skeletons, bats, oh my! Kick off your Halloween celebrations with The Charleston Museum. Wear your eerie-sistible costumes and trick or treat through the Museum while learning about the spooky and creepy items in our collections. Stop by Kidstory to see our haunted Heyward-Washington House. Make sure to visit our Education Classroom to boo some Halloween crafts and activities! Reservations required. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Register online.


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