10 Best Charleston SC Museums


Charleston SC Museums

Visit and explore Charleston SC Museums and learn about the city's rich and fascinating past. Learn about Charleston's role in the Civil War at the Charleston Museum, discover maritime history at Patriots Point, and experience Charleston's rich history through paintings and sculptures at The Gibbes Museum of Art. 



1. Patriots Point
40 Patriots Point Rd
Mount Pleasant SC 29464


Patriots Point Charleston

Patriots Points is one of the most unique museums. This Naval and Maritime museum is home to the USS Yorktown, a WWII aircraft carrier. Visitors can also tour a navy destroyer and submarine, get an up close look at the Apollo 8 capsule, and view over 40 interactive exhibits.


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2. The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
122 E Bay St
Charleston SC 29401


Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

The Old Exchange was built in 1771 as a commercial exchange and custom house. It has served a variety of functions including a prisoner of war facility and the site of a fancy dress ball for George Washington. Today the site is a museum focusing on the American Revolution and colonial Charleston.


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3. Hunley Submarine
1250 Supply St
North Charleston SC 29405


Hunley Submarine

Visit the Hunley and view the first combat submarine, including artifacts found onboard during the excavation of the crew department. The combination self-paced and guided tour includes viewing the submarine in the tank and interactive exhibits and activities. 


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4. Old Slave Mart Museum
6 Chalmers St
Charleston SC 29401


Old Slave Mart Museum Charleston

The United States’ ban on international slave trade led to a domestic slave trading system in which Charleston was a major collecting and reselling center. The Old Slave Mart Museum chronicles Charleston's role in this interstate slave trade by focusing on the history of the slaves sold here.


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5. The Charleston Museum
360 Meeting St
Charleston SC 29403


The Charleston Museum

Founded in 1773 and commonly regarded as “America’s First Museum,” The Charleston Museum tells the story of this area from its prehistory to the 20th century. The museum features several permanent exhibits, including Early Days, the Natural History Gallery, Lowcountry History Hall, and The Armory. 


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6. Gibbes Museum of Art
135 Meeting St
Charleston SC 29401


Gibbes Museum of Art Charleston

The Gibbes Museum of Art, opened to the public on April 11, 1905, boasts over 10,000 works of art. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum has a rotating series of collections borrowed from famous museums all over the world.


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7. Children's Museum of the Lowcountry
25 Anne St
Charleston SC 29403


Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry invites families of all backgrounds to explore environments and experiences that spark imagination and stimulate curiosity. Nine interactive exhibits, including a two-story Medieval Castle and a pirate ship, allow children to explore the arts and sciences.


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8. Museum at Market Hall
188 Meeting St
Charleston SC 29401


Museum at Market Hall

The Museum at Market Hall, located upstairs in the historic Charleston City Market, occupies the space once used as a recruiting station for Confederate soldiers. Many young men returned years later and brought their war-time possessions to donate to the newly opened Confederate Museum.


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9. Powder Magazine
79 Cumberland St
Charleston SC 29401


Powder Magazine Charleston

The Powder Magazine, completed in 1713, is South Carolina’s oldest government building. Originally used as an arsenal from 1713-1748, the building is now a museum, allowing visitors to explore colonial military history.


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10. Charleston Postal Museum
77 Meeting St
Charleston SC 29401


Charleston Postal Museum

The Postal Museum, located in the historic post office on Broad Street, is a small but interesting museum focusing on the postal service in Charleston. Newspaper clippings, old stamps, and other memorabilia recount the role of the post office through many of the city’s historical moments.


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South Carolina Historical Society Museum
100 Meeting St
Charleston SC 29401


South Carolina Historical Society Museum

The South Carolina Historical Society Museum, housed in a historic fireproof building on Meeting Street, showcases more than 350 years of statewide history through rarely seen artifacts, personal collections and interactive exhibits. 


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Mace Brown Museum of Natural History
202 Calhoun St
Charleston SC 29401


Mace Brown Museum of Natural History Charleston

The Mace Brown Museum of Natural History is located on the College of Charleston campus. This free museum has over 3,000 fossil specimens, including cave bears, dinosaurs, and plants. Geology students who work in the museum often give guided tours.


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Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
161 Calhoun St
Charleston SC 29424


Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art Charleston

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is a free gallery located on the College of Charleston campus. The Halsey Institute presents contemporary art exhibitions by emerging or mid-career artists.


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Karpeles Manuscript Museum Charleston
68 Spring St
Charleston SC 29403


Karpeles Manuscript Museum Charleston

The Karpeles Manuscript Museum, housed in a beautiful old church built in 1856, has the largest collection of privately owned documents in the country. The documents are rotated three times a year between each of the 14 Karpeles museums.


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More things to do in Charleston 





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