Discovering Charleston: Museums & Culture
Time after time in Charleston, South Carolina
From parks to 18th century plantations, Charleston is your key to a nostalgic experience. With its countless historical landmarks, discover why many refer to this city as a living museum. Find out how The Battery became fortified during the Civil War to protect against the Unions. Experience life in the 18th century at Boone Hall Plantation, the oldest working, living plantation. Satisfy your historical hunger as you walk down Charleston Museum Mile.
Recount stories of Charleston’s involvement in the slavery trade. Find the history that lies behind visual art and set foot in America’s first museum, displaying numerous objects that range from fossils to Civil War artifacts. Take as long as you need to travel through Charleston’s past.
The Charleston Museum
As America’s first museum, founded in 1773, walk through a rich collection of featured objects with different cultural and historical backgrounds.
Market Hall was built in 1841. Since 1898, the Daughters of the Confederacy have operated the Confederate Museum, which contains flags, uniforms, swords and other Confederate memorabilia.
Old Slave Mart Museum
This museum tells the story of Charleston’s involvement in the slave auction industry.
Gibbes Museum of Art
As Charleston’s only visual arts museum, explore, learn and see Charleston’s history come alive through art.
The Postal Museum explains the area’s postal history. In 1896 the post office moved to the new Post Office Building, which was erected over the ruins of the old police station, destroyed in the earthquake of 1886. The building at Meeting and Broad streets is the oldest continuously operated post office in the Carolinas.
Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry
Designed for children 3 to 12 years of age, get your family involved in interactive exhibits and learn more about Lowcountry.
Charleston Historic Houses
Relive the earlier times while walking through beautifully restored historic houses. Preserving its southern historic charm, these Charleston historic houses offer the style, comfort and elegance of the past with original furnishings and magnificent, formal gardens.
Built in 1818 and greatly expanded by Gov. and Mrs. William-Rhett, visit the most intact townhouse complex, showcasing urban life in antebellum Charleston.
Joseph Manigault House
A National Historic Landmark, this architectural structure reflects the lifestyle of both wealthy, rice-planting families and the slaves who lived there.
House of signer of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Heyward, experience Charleston’s finest collection of American-made furniture.
Nathaniel Russell House
Interpreting the lives of the Russell family, admire the spacious formal gardens, graceful interior and the magnificent free-flying staircase.
Built in 1825 on Charleston’s High Battery, this house is one of Charleston’s most splendid dwellings and is a repository of family treasures.
Charleston Places of Worship
Charleston has been described as the Holy City as it holds an impressive collection of historic places of Worship. Discover and explore different religion and the architectural beauty which goes along with it.
Second Presbyterian Church
As the First Presbyterian Church grew, a Second Presbyterian Church was built to accommodate the growing number of worshippers.
Citadel Square Baptist Church
Daughter of the oldest Baptist congregation in the South, Citadel Square Baptist Church stood as a light in Charleston for over a century.
Trinity United Methodist Church
This imposing structure presents a monumental Corinthian-columned portico and massive dual flights of stone steps. In 1926, the Trinity Methodist congregation purchased the building from Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim
Established in 1749, congregation K.K. Beth Elohim became the first Reform Jewish congregation in the United States in 1841.
St. Michael’s Church
Oldest church edifice, St. Michael’s Church stands in the site of the first Anglican Church. Enjoy the historical breathtaking architecture and the pew where President George Washington once worshipped.
St. Mary of the Annunciation
Established in 1789, this is the first Roman Catholic Church in the Carolinas and Georgia.
Circular Congregational Church
Founded in 1681, Circular Church is one of the oldest continuously worshipping congregations in the Southeast. Today, it has over 300 members and is affiliated with the United Church of Christ.
St. Philip’s Church
Established in 1680, St. Philip’s is the oldest Anglican congregation south of Virginia and is a center of vibrant worship and ministry.
French Huguenot Church
The French Protest Church of Charleston was founded in approximately 1681 by Huguenot refuges from the Protestant persecutions in France. This is the only remaining independent Huguenot Church in America.
First (Scots) Presbyterian Church
First Scots is one of the oldest religious buildings in the city and its churchyard contains over fifty 18th century gravestones. Ties to the Church of Scotland are shown by the stained glass window depicting its seal.
Charleston Other Points of Interest
Take in Charleston’s history through visual arts and exhibited objects from the various museums and fantastic 18th Century plantations. Afterwards, have a break in one of Charleston’s first public parks and discover more ideas for your historic escapade at the Charleston Visitor Center.
Washington Light Infantry
Founded in 1807, the Washington Light Infantry is one of America’s oldest militia units. Since 1807, the Washington Light Infantry has participated as a unit exhibiting honor and bravery in every major war this country has fought.
The Powder Magazine
The Powder Magazine is the oldest public building in the Carolinas. This National Historical Landmark is an educational historic site dedicated to revering and revealing the colonial past of Charleston.
South Carolina Historical Society
The Historical Society collects, preserves and publishes South Carolina’s history through books, manuscripts and images that date back to 1670.
Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon
Explore Charleston’s Colonial, Revolutionary and Civil War past while retracing the steps of Presidents, Patriots and Pirates.
The heirs of John Wragg planned his estate as the suburb of Wraggborough, naming streets for various members of the family. The family dedicated Wragg Square and Wragg Mall to the public, and they remain open greens today.
Charleston Visitor Center
The Charleston Visitor Center, a beautifully restored 1856 railroad warehouse, offers a vast array of services which include the following; free Official Visitors Guide to Charleston, free maps, many discounted attraction and tour tickets, public transportation information, and passes.
The heirs of John Wragg planned his estate as the suburb of Wraggborough, naming streets for various members of the family. The family dedicated Wragg Square and the Wragg Mall to the public, and they remain open greens today.
Marion Square was previously known as the Citadel Green and houses several monuments such as the John C. Calhoun Statue. It also contains a remnant from the 18th century fortifications of the city.
Charleston Judicial Center
The building houses a statue of William Pitt, erected by Charlestonians in 1770 in honor of his support of colonial rights.
Charleston’s culture is felt in every museum, plantation and garden found in the Historical District. Witness how remarkably well the natural, cultural and military history was preserved and get a broad perspective on the history that lives in Charleston.
* Photography compliments of Photographics