Where The Culture and History of Charleston Come To Life

Charleston is a multicultural city with a long history. Whether you're interested in history, slavery, war, art, science, animals, gardens, nature, firefighters, textiles, manuscripts, the post office, or The Citadel, Charleston has the perfect museum just waiting to be explored.

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The Fire Museum, located adjacent to Tanger Outlet Mall, is home to the largest collection of fully restored American LaFrance fire trucks in the country, antique fire equipment, and is a wonderful museum for the firefighter in all of us.
America’s first museum showcases a variety of fascinating artifacts that tell the story of Lowcountry cultural and natural history. Whether you have an interest in early Southern furniture, historic textiles or the Civil War, the Charleston Museum has something for everyone in your family.
Experience Charleston's history through art! Come face-to-face with stories of the South Carolina Lowcountry as seen through painting, miniature portraiture, sculpture, photography, and more at Charleston's signature art museum. Complimentary cell phone tour is offered with admission.
Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site
Begin your Charleston experience where English settlers established the first permanent European colony in Carolina. This 664-acre historic treasure boasts a replica 17th-century tall ship, functional cannons, a zoo, and an award-winning museum! An exceptional experience at an affordable price.
Children's Museum of the Lowcountry
Nine interactive exhibits, including a two-story Medieval Castle, a pirate ship and a dedicated Art Room, allow your children to explore the arts, sciences and humanities through their own hands-on experiences. Wed, Thurs, Sat, 9 am-5 pm; Tues & Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sun, 12pm-5 pm; closed Mon.
Congressional Medal of Honor Museum
The Congressional Medal of Honor Museum tells the stories of brave Americans who displayed remarkable courage. The museum details eight eras of Medal of Honor history, and features interactive exhibits that explain the award along with archives of important documents.
Edisto Island Museum
T-F 1-4pm. Exhibits on sea island plantation life, the Civil War and native Americans. Adults $3; Students $2; 10 and under are free.
Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
The Halsey Institute at the College of Charleston is a non-collecting contemporary art museum in downtown Charleston. In addition to organizing 5 exhibitions each year, the Halsey also presents lectures, a film series, publications & tours. Free admission. Gallery Hours: M-Sat. 11am - 4pm, Thurs. 11am - 7pm
International African American Museum
Scheduled to open in 2018, the IAAM is a new museum of African American history and identity. It will communicate the history of African Americans in the Lowcountry and explain how this population impacted the nation.
Karpeles Manuscript Museum
W-Sa 11am-4pm. Karpeles houses the largest private collection of historically significant manuscripts in the world (more than 1 million). Philanthropist David Karpeles supports seven museums across the nation and his collection ranges from Ancient Egypt to the Apollo moon landing. Free.
Museum Mile
This diverse mile long corridor stretches along Meeting Street from the Charleston Visitor Center to the Nathaniel Russell House. Offering visitors the most comprehensive array of historical and cultural attractions in downtown Charleston.
Old City Market
Open M-Su. Built in 1841 to sell produce and meats, it features small shops, restaurants and flea market with everything from produce to antiques. Watch the craftsmanship and artistry as the ladies weave and sell handmade sweetgrass baskets.
Old Slave Mart Museum
Recounting the story of Charleston's role in this inter-state slave trade by focusing on the history of this particular building and site and the slave sales that occurred here. 9-5 M-Sa. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's. $7 adults, $5 children aged 6 to 12, under 5 free.
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
Walk in the Steps of Heroes at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. Tour the aircraft carrier USS YORKTOWN, destroyer USS LAFFEY, submarine USS CLAMAGORE, Medal of Honor Museum, Cold War Submarine Memorial and the only Vietnam Naval Support Base Camp in the U.S.
Philip Simmons Foundation, Inc.
Established in 1991 by the Vestry of St. John’s Reformed Episcopal Church to develop and maintain a commemorative garden and preserve the legacy of the master craftsman. Locations: the Bell Garden on George Street and the Heart Garden (topiary garden) on Menotti Street.
Postal Museum
Charleston’s postal history. The Post Office Building circa 1896 was erected over the ruins of the old police station, which was destroyed in the earthquake of 1886. The building at Meeting and Broad is the oldest continuously operated post office in the Carolinas.
South Carolina Historical Society
Research library Tu-F 9am-4pm; Sa 9am-2pm. Founded in 1855. The state’s oldest historical society maintaining a vast research library and archives in the historic Robert Mills Fireproof Building. Researchers are invited to explore our collections. Members conduct research for free and receive the Society’s publications. Tours available by appointment.
Summerville Dorchester Museum
100 East Doty Ave., Summerville, SC 29483; 843-875-9666. Th-Sa 10am-2pm. Other hours by appointment.
The Citadel Museum
Su-F 2-5pm; Sa 12-5pm. Closed College, religious, and military holidays. Museum portrays the history of The Military College of South Carolina and Corps of Cadets from 1842 to present. Exhibits feature photographs, uniforms and archival documents. Dress Parade held at 3:45pm almost every Friday during the academic year. Also visit Summerall Chapel. Free.
The City Hall Gallery
M-F 9am-5pm. Located in the Council Chamber of the Charleston City Hall (1801), the gallery contains portraits of many important leaders, including one of George Washington by John Trumbull.
The Confederate Museum
Market Hall was built in 1841. Since 1898, the Daughters of the Confederacy has operated the Confederate Museum, which contains flags, uniforms, swords and other Confederate memorabilia.