A Guide To

Museums in Charleston

One great way to immerse yourself in Charleston’s rich history is by visiting one or more of its wonderful museums. There are a variety of museums in Charleston to choose from depending on your area of interest. Below is a list of our favorite museums to help guide you.


The Charleston Museum

Address: 360 Meeting Street

The Charleston Museum is hailed as “America’s First Museum,” as it was established by the Charleston Library Society on the eve of the American Revolution. The museum closed temporarily due to the Civil War but opened again shortly after. Today, the Museum contains the most comprehensive collection of South Carolina materials in the US.


Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

Address: 25 Ann Street

Charleston’s children’s museum can keep little ones, from toddlers to age 10, occupied for hours. There are nine exhibits including a Creation Station where kids can make things out of recycled material and a Kids Garden where kids can play in seven different organic beds.
*Must be with a child (10 and under) to be admitted

museum at market

Museum at Market Hall

Address: 188 Meeting Street

Market Hall was built in 1841 after the original building, occupied by a Masonic Hall, was destroyed by fire in 1838. It is a copy of the Temple of the Wingless Victory in Athens, Greece. Its original purpose was to be the u0022head buildingu0022 or front entrance to the six blocks of roofed market space attached. This was a farmer’s market where fruits, meats, vegetables, and fish were sold.

powder magazine

The Powder Magazine

Address: 79 Cumberland Street

The Powder Magazine was built in 1713 and is South Carolina’s oldest government building. It was used for gunpowder storage from 1713-1748 and during the American Revolution. It was retired after 1780 and privately owned by the early 19th century. During this time, it served as a print shop, livery stable, wine cellar, and carriage house. In 1902, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of South Carolina purchased the building, saving it from demolition. Within a year, it was opened to the public.

Gibbes Museum

Gibbes Museum of Art

Address: 135 Meeting Street

The Gibbes Museum of Art is home to the foremost collection of American art that incorporates the story of Charleston. The museum connects the city and region’s artistic past to a vibrant contemporary art scene.

Old Slave Mart Museum

Address: Chalmers Street

The Mart was built in 1859 and has operated as a museum since 1938. It is considered the last surviving slave auction gallery in South Carolina. In 1975, the Old Slave Mart was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its role in Charleston’s African-American history. Plan on spending at least an hour reading the very informative posters and soaking in the environment. Because of all the reading, this museum may not be entertaining for children.

historical society museum

The South Carolina Historical Society Museum

Meeting Street

The South Carolina Historical Society Museum is the perfect spot to immerse yourself in the History of South Carolina. The museum is housed in a National Historic Landmark building and features interactive exhibits on the people, places, and movements that shaped the state and nation.

old exchange

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

Address: 122 East Bay Street

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon was built in 1771 as a commercial exchange and custom house. Over the last 250 years, it has also been a post office, city hall, and military headquarters before becoming a museum.

There are also several historic home tours throughout Charleston. Click here to see the list!