The Charleston Museum is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit of historic photos in its Lowcountry Image Gallery. The Early Days: A Photographic History of America's First Museum, on display through May 14, 2018, tells the story of the Museum's transformation over the years.
After The Charleston Museum's founding in 1773 by the Charleston Library Society, it was subsequently overseen by the Library Society, the Literary and Philosophical Society of South Carolina, the Medical College of South Carolina, and the College of Charleston. In 1907, Charleston's city council offered the newly built Thomson Auditorium on Rutledge Avenue to house the Museum and provided funding to support the growing institution. Over the years, museum directors continued the expansion of exhibits and educational programs and fashioned the Museum into a much loved cultural institution in the Charleston community.
By the 1970s, the grand building that housed the Museum had fallen into serious disrepair and the welfare of the collections was threatened. Under the directorship of Donald Herold, the collections were moved to the new location at 360 Meeting Street, and the Museum opened once again to the community in April 1980. Unfortunately, in October of 1981, a fire destroyed the old building leaving only the portico with four columns as a remembrance. Although the Thomson Auditorium is gone, the Museum, in its modern facility, continues to preserve and exhibit Lowcountry heritage and educate the people of our community and visitors from around the world.