Museum, Charleston

4 out of 5 stars 8 Reviews

360 Meeting Street (843) 722-2996

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  • Where You Are At
    Where You Are At
    by riorich55
  • Replica of the HUNLEY
    Replica of the HUNLEY
    by VeronicaG
  • Miniature House Collection
    Miniature House Collection
    by riorich55
  • apbeaches's Profile Photo

    Old Slave Mart Museum

    by apbeaches Written Dec 24, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Old Slave Mart Museum recounts the story of Charleston's role in this inter-state slave trade by focusing on the history of this particular building and site and the slave sales that occurred here. Our guide was knowledgeable, a small bookshop contained relevant books, and there were many artifacts. Interestingly the museum provided the perspective of the slave trader, buyer and slave.

    In the seven decades between the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and the Civil War, more than one million American-born slaves were sold away from plantations in the upper South to work the rapidly expanding cotton and sugar plantations in the lower South. In Charleston, enslaved African Americans were customarily sold on the north side of the Old Exchange Building. An 1856 city ordinance prohibited this practice of public sales, resulting in the opening of the Old Slave Mart and a number of other sales rooms, yards, or marts along Chalmers, State and Queen Streets.

    This appears to be the only known building used as a slave auction gallery in South Carolina still in existence, the Old Slave Mart was once part of a complex of buildings known as Ryan's Mart that occupied the land between Chalmers and Queen Streets. The complex consisted of a yard enclosed by a brick wall and contained three additional buildings: a four-story brick building partially containing a "barracoon," or slave jail, a kitchen, and a "dead house," or morgue.

    Slave auctions at the Old Slave Mart ended in 1863. In 1938 Miriam B. Wilson purchased the building, which by then, had come to be known locally as the Old Slave Mart, and established a museum featuring African and African-American arts and crafts. Judith Wragg Chase and Louise Wragg Graves took over the Old Slave Mart in 1964, placed it on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and operated it until its closure in 1987. Recognizing the significant importance the institution of slavery has had in Charleston's history, the City of Charleston acquired the property in 1988.

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    America's First Museum

    by riorich55 Written May 31, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Where You Are At
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    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.

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    History for the Entire Family-Charleston Museum

    by VeronicaG Updated Sep 11, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Replica of the HUNLEY

    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.

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Charleston Museum

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Feb 14, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Charleston Museum
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    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.

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    A good case of history

    by BruceDunning Updated Feb 2, 2008

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    Description of museum
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    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.

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  • doug48's Profile Photo

    charleston museum

    by doug48 Written Apr 14, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    charleston museum

    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.

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  • The Charleston Museum

    by Stevel47 Updated Jan 17, 2004

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

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    Gibbes Museum of Art

    by Tom_Fields Updated Apr 4, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Gibbs Museum of Art in Charleston

    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.

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    • Arts and Culture

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