History Museums in Charleston

Top History Museums in Charleston, SC

History Museums in Charleston

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What travelers are saying

  • Scuba-Obsession
    Melbourne, FL569 contributions
    We took the boat from Patriots Point to Ft Sumter. About a 30 minute cruise. The Ranger at Ft Sumter provided an excellent briefing on the history of Ft Sumter and the Civil War. Excellent information.
    Written September 22, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • MEHEL3
    Fayetteville, NC654 contributions
    Our visit was 11 August 2022. We had been on a Carriage ride early during the week and this house was brought to our attention. We took the tour of this house and it was very informative. The staff are very professional, pleasant, and knowledgeable. The stairwell which it is known for was beautiful. The whole house is lovely and puts you into the mind set of that period. We enjoyed chatting with staff and learning some interesting information. I would bring friends & family to this location again.
    Written September 25, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Sarah P
    28 contributions
    Wonderful place with history and a tour in the dungeon that should not be missed. It was one of the highlights of my visit.
    Written September 29, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Autumn_Y_007
    Myrtle Beach, SC214 contributions
    Wonderful little museum, rich with slave history. Artifacts, photos, stories, newspaper articles and more are featured. This would be boring for most kids as you have to read everything. As an adult, I loved it. It is very small and does get very crowded and it can be hard to navigate. My one complaint is that the long haired kid working the desk was extremely unfriendly and acted like he’d rather be digging his eyes out with a spoon then working there. People who came in after us got a spiel about the museum, but for some reason he didn’t think we needed any acknowledgment. I almost turned around and left, but this museum was more important than this little jerk. If he’s a paid employee, I would fire him. Even my teenagers (experts in eye rolling, boredom and contempt) expressed their irritation at this guy. No eye contact, no friendliness, no explanation as to the history of the museum…nothing.
    Written September 3, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • rdiedrich
    Beachwood, OH17 contributions
    Great way to get out of the heat and learn the history of Charleston. Really an excellent way to start your trip or end it. We did it at the end and it filled in a lot of information that you read as your walking around or while your on a tour.
    Written September 24, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Stephen D
    Cocoa, FL2 contributions
    This house is a National Historic Landmark because it's associated with two very important people, the son of the original builder, Thomas Heyward Jr., a signatory of the Declaration of Independence, and a prominent guest in 1791, President George Washington. Upstairs, in the Drawing Room, parties were held for President Washington, where he danced with numerous ladies of the Charleston aristocracy. When the party was over the men would repair to the Withdrawing Room where they would discuss business, politics, and the burning issues of the day. If you visit that room, you'll find a painting of a previous owner of the house by a young Samuel F B. Morse, the future inventor of the Morse Code. Also, the green bedroom contiguous to the Drawing Room is where Washington slept during his stay in Charleston.
    Written September 21, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Patricia S
    United States123 contributions
    This was our second time to visit the Gibbs. Beautiful photography and art pieces. I did not enjoy the third floor "traveling" collection. Guess I am not "woke"!
    Written September 19, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • interceptpubs
    Columbus, IN1,018 contributions
    The full name of this site is quite a mouthful - The Museum at Market Hall: Home of the Confederate Museum. The double barrel name highlights the two key attributes of this place.

    First the building itself is an antebellum reproduction (built in 1841) of an ancient Greek temple. It certainly looks the part architecturally, although it's polychromatic paint scheme certainly gives it a decidedly Victorian Greek Revival vibe. As the name "Market Hall" implies it was built as part of a city market complex that exists to this day - indeed the first floor of the building is still an arcade of small shops.

    On the other hand, the Confederate Museum that has been housed in the repurposed upper floor of the building since 1899 presents a collection of Civil War military artifacts curated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. To describe the case after case of artifacts on display as a museum is a bit of a stretch, it is more of a shrine as there is little to draw all the disparate items together into a coherent picture or provide more context of their place in the larger story of the Civil War period. As such, if you are looking to see a balanced representation of all aspects of the conflict including the underlying issues of slavery, etc. then you may be in for a shock. However, if you just want to see some remarkable historic artifacts of the Confederate side of the Civil War, this place will definitely satisfy. Everything from locks of Robert E. Lee's hair to the first and last Confederate flags to fly over Fort Sumter are on display here.

    You can easily spend an hour or more here (particularly if you stop to read some of the letters, newspaper articles, etc. on display). Be advised though that the museum is only open on Friday and Saturday afternoons.
    Written August 7, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • ColdSun
    4 contributions
    Tiny but fun museum to stop by if you are in the area. Staff were friendly and knowledgeable, exhibitions were focus on the topic with details, good to touch on the cannon tools. Only need about half an hour.
    Written December 27, 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Glenn S
    1 contribution
    The museum is well organized with interactive exhibits exploring aspects of centuries of history with artifacts such as Swamp Fox Francis Marion’s REV WAR powder horn and Flintlock pistol, aspects of slavery, pro and anti-secessionist views as well as the environment and more recent historical and cultural aspects.
    Written August 1, 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Taylor B
    Chicago, IL7,863 contributions
    The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture was established in 1985 to preserve the legacy of the Avery Normal Institute and educate the broader community about the history and culture of African Americans in Charleston, the South Carolina Lowcountry and the entire state of South Carolina. A division of the College of Charleston library system, it is located at 125 Bull Street, on the site of the former Avery Normal Institute in the Harleston village district of Charleston. From 1865 to 1954, Avery Normal Institute, the first accredited secondary school for African Americans in Charleston, trained black students for professional careers and leadership roles and served as a hub for the city's African American community. In 1978, the alumni of Avery Normal Institute, led by Lucille Whipper, worked with the College of Charleston to form the Avery Research Center. It provides access to digital and physical archival collections, including art and and rare books and photographs and rare manuscripts, offers free guided tours, hosts workshops, present lectures and performances and features physical and digital museum exhibitions. The archives currently hold over 6,000 primary and secondary source materials that document the history, traditions, legacies and influences of African Americans. There also are dozens of artifact collections encompassing a range of materials relevant to slavery, material culture from West Africa and even a sweetgrass basket collection. The center also features temporary art exhibitions by artists from South Carolina and throughout the African diaspora.
    Written March 6, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Brandon H
    Charleston, SC23 contributions
    Renovation in progress. The museum is currently closed for remodeling and renovation. Unsure of when it will reopen
    Written June 29, 2016
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Tom B
    Worthington, OH430 contributions
    A lovely shop of Charleston and Low Country items operated to support the Historic Charleston Foundation. The best book selection we found in the area related to Charleston and southern life. Profits support the preservation efforts of the foundation and purchases are exempt from the 11% tax. Hard to believe this lovely spot was a former gas station.
    Written May 31, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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