Our second stop of our first full day in Charleston was at the Charleston Museum which was the first museum established in America in 1773 several years before the colonies expressed their desire to become independent from their British parents. The Museum is right across the street from the Visitor's Center which should be everybody's first stop when they visit Charleston (another tip).
We had purchased a pass across the street at the Visitor's Center that allowed us access to a number of historical Charleston homes, a couple of plantations and the Charleston Museum. Because the pass we bought was good for 2 days we figured we better have a workable plan so that we could get the most use out of it. Starting across the street was a good place to start.
Inside the Museum you will find a number of permanent and temporary exhibits. Some of the permanent exhibits include the Low Country History Hall (I have a picture of the slave tags display), the Armory, Becoming Americans and Civil War - City Under Siege. They have about 4 or 5 other permanent exhibits.
We spent probably about 90 minutes walking around the 2 story museum. It would be a good place to escape the heat during the hot summer months.
The normal cost without the pass is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 4 to 12 and Free for 3 and under.
Hours at Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
There are three parts to the Charleston Museum: the main museum (360 Meeting Street); The Joseph Manigault House (350 Meeting Street) and The Heyward-Washington House (87 Church Street).
The Charleston Museum was the first museum in the U.S. to be opened in 1773. Among all it offered, I found the artifacts representing the slave trade to be both fascinating and intimidating. We liked touring the homes very much, as well. To be sure, the docents were quite good and knew their facts! (Tips on these homes to be included).
A wealth of information is yours to be gathered on Charleston and South Carolina's Lowcountry history. Specimens of taxidermy, an Egyptian mummy, a dinosaur skeleton or two and a collection of Charleston sterling silver might prove to be interesting to you. By far, the paraphenalia collected from the slave trade is what held my attention.
A small gift shop gives you an opportunity to take home a souvenir of your visit. Be sure to note a replica of the HUNLEY at the front entrance (pictured).
*Museum hours are Mon.-Sat. 9am-5pm; Sun. 1pm-5pm; Historic homes open daily Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm; Sun. 1pm-5pm (last tour at 4:30pm)
Prices for the museum were $10 for adults; to take in just two sites was $16, to see all three sites $22; children ages 3-12 were admitted to the museum for $5; 2 and under for free.
This museum has historic artifacts from Charleston and outlines the growth of the city. It also includes a natural history section. The highlight of the collection are reproductions of 2 Confederate submarines, the first of their kind in the world.
Depicts the better times in the early 19th century when low country and gentry were at their best. The exhibits who the low country history to include two main staples of the region, rice and cotton, which was worked by slaves. Some of the rest is a mix of Egyptian mummies to a variety of things that do not seem to fit the culture for the area.
the charleston museum was founded in 1773 making it the oldest museum in america. the museum preserves and interprets the history and culture of charleston and the south carolina low country. the museum is a good first stop when visiting charleston to get an orientation to the history, culture and architecture of the city. the charleston museum also owns the historic hayward-washington house and the joseph manigault home which are open to the public.
The Charleston Museum
This is America's first museum, founded in 1773. Pictured in front of the museum is a replica of the H.L. Hunley. It was constructed on what people thought the Confederate submarine would look like before they found her in Charleston Harbor in 2000.The museum showcases the history of Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry. It also presents special exhibits on loan from other museums. Check their web site to see current special exhibits.
This is Charleston's premier art gallery. It has a considerable collection (close to 10,000 pieces), plus art lectures, classes, and many other activities.