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Charleston Museum

America’s first museum holds the key to the city’s history in its collections of military artifacts, textiles and prehistoric animals.

The Charleston Museum was the first museum in the U.S. Founded back in 1733, the museum has a permanent exhibit of its own early exhibits. Today it’s a modern museum with military displays, natural history exhibits, historic textiles and ancient mummies.

Browse through several military displays in the museum’s permanent collection. George Washington’s inaugural button resides in an exhibit of American Revolution artifacts. The table and chairs used at the convention seceding South Carolina from the U.S. is on display in the Civil War room.

Some of South Carolina’s four-legged and winged inhabitants are housed in the Natural History display. Visit the Cretacious-era dinosaur Thescelosaurus neglectus, and now extinct birds such as the Carolina parakeet. Prehistoric critters unearthed in archaeological digs near Charleston include a toothed whale, a bird with a wingspan of 19 feet (5.8 meters), and an 18-foot (5.4-meter) long crocodile.

Antique lovers will appreciate the textile displays and silverware exhibits that show the degree of artistry and craftsmanship present throughout Charleston’s history. Displays are rotated and include collections of old uniforms, footwear from the 19th century and early 20th-century quilts. Look for George Washington’s christening cup in the silverware collection.

Children will enjoy the hands-on Kidstory exhibit. They can play in prop rooms of historical scenes, experience interactive storytelling films and look at wildlife through a microscope.

Guided tours of the museum are available for a small fee. Buy an all-inclusive ticket for entry to the museum and its two historical houses, Heyward Washington House and Joseph Manigault House.

Charleston Museum is located on Museum Mile in downtown. There’s free parking on-site and paid public parking across the road. CARTA buses and free DASH trolleys stop at the museum, which is open daily except for major national holidays.


Guide to Exploring Charleston Museum


Top Charleston Museum Hotel & Accommodation Deals

See all 2,252 Properties near Charleston Museum
The Francis Marion Hotel NZ$231
The Francis Marion Hotel

The Francis Marion Hotel

387 King St, Charleston, SC
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Historic Charleston, this spa hotel is steps away from Marion Square and College of Charleston. Charleston Music Hall and Charleston Museum are also within 10 minutes.

    Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District NZ$186
    Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District

    Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District

    560 King Street, Charleston, SC
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of PURE Theatre and Charleston Music Hall. College of Charleston and Medical University of South Carolina are also within 15 minutes.

      Holiday Inn Charleston Historic Downtown NZ$151
      Holiday Inn Charleston Historic Downtown

      Holiday Inn Charleston Historic Downtown

      425 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Charleston Visitor Center and Charleston Music Hall. College of Charleston and Charleston City Market are also within 1 mile (2 km).

        The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel NZ$260
        The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel

        The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel

        115 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Historic Charleston, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Gibbes Museum of Art and Charleston City Market. Waterfront Park and Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal are also within 10 minutes.

          Homewood Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District NZ$188
          Homewood Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District

          Homewood Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District

          415 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Charleston Visitor Center and Charleston Music Hall. College of Charleston and Charleston City Market are also within 1 mile (2 km).

            Hampton Inn Charleston - Historic District NZ$190
            Hampton Inn Charleston - Historic District

            Hampton Inn Charleston - Historic District

            345 Meeting St, Charleston, SC
               
              2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Historic Charleston, this hotel is steps away from Joseph Manigault House and Charleston Music Hall. College of Charleston and Charleston City Market are also within 15 minutes.

              Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District NZ$238
              Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District

              Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District

              337 Meeting St, Charleston, SC
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Historic Charleston, this hotel is steps away from Marion Square and Charleston Music Hall. College of Charleston and Charleston City Market are also within 15 minutes.

                Hyatt House Charleston/Historic District NZ$198
                Hyatt House Charleston/Historic District

                Hyatt House Charleston/Historic District

                560 King Street, Charleston, SC
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of PURE Theatre and Charleston Music Hall. College of Charleston and Medical University of South Carolina are also within 15 minutes.