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“A must see”
Review of Aiken-Rhett House

Aiken-Rhett House
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Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Tour
Ranked #13 of 244 things to do in Charleston
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: The Aiken-Rhett House Museum, 48 Elizabeth Street, c. 1820, Is unique in many ways. For example, it remained in the hands of family descendents for 142 years until it was sold to The Charleston Museum and opened as a museum house in 1975. Historic Charleston Foundation purchased the house in 1995 and adopted a conservation approach to the interpretation of this important house and its outbuildings.
Reviewed December 9, 2013

This house has been preserved and not renovated. A wonderful glimpse into the past. The tour is audio flash drive with headphones which helps you pace the tour to your liking. The fireplaces used coal not wood. Many fascinating things to see

Thank dolphinsummer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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779 - 783 of 1,263 reviews

Reviewed December 9, 2013

Self-guided tour is very informative and liked the casual pace and ability to move at your own pace.

Thank vclendenin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2013

It is not restored and there is little furniture in the house. The furniture they do have are original pieces of furniture (which are generally in far better shape than the rooms).

The audio tour allows you to move at your own pace, stop and ask questions, taking your time to get all you can out of the experience. It was, by far, the highlight of our house tours.

Here, you see what hundreds of years can do to a house. The paint is chipping, entire parts of walls have fallen apart, but the old grandeur is still there.

1  Thank 449,723
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2013

I rarely do this, but felt compelled to write a review after touring this magnificent home. As has been stated many times, here, this home is being preserved and is not restored. What this means is that the original surfaces remain intact - ranging from the walls, the ceilings, original furniture, floors, etc. This is such a rarity, and I must say that I cannot understand how some feel that the house would be better served by restoring it. This is the actual house that the Aikens lived in, and it has not been adulterated.

Currently, this house is a true time capsule and is authentic - impressively so. this is what I find to be so very impressive. For example, you are not looking at new wall paper that represents what people thought the real deal probably looked like - you are instead, looking at the real deal. Wallpaper that was applied about 170 years ago is still there, tattered for sure, but most importantly, it is still there, and that to me is amazing! Those who feel that the real wallpaper from 170 years ago should be taken down and replaced with something new, so the house can look pristine are I think, completely missing the point. Destroy the original fabric of the house so that it looks like something out of a gone with the wind movie? Which approach is more respectful of history? The individuals feeling that the house should be "improved", I would wager, are not as much interested in history as they are in viewing "pretty" postcard interiors and would prefer the rare surviving surfaces be replaced in order to make the house comparable to a movie set - a mere "representation" or "dramatization" of what once was. To abhor the original surfaces and condition of the house due to its faded and forlorn state is to not respect its age.

These are the same individuals who would ignorantly ruin a piece of antique furniture by removing it's time worn, but valuable original surface because of the misguided notion that newer is better. How many times have we seen on antiques roadshow, how someone literally ruined the value of an antique table or bureau by refinishing it...turning a table with an original yet dull (in their eyes) finish into a new and gleaming finish - essentially ruining the value of the table. They do not understand that by turning that old table into a new one, that they have essentially destroyed the historic value of the table. It is still an antique for sure, but now, only sort of. This house is the same way. I applaud the approach to maintain this house in its current condition, because this is so very rare, and there are not many places that have survive for so long without being altered by well-intended but disastrous "improvements." Go see this house! it is truly remarkable, and it's grandeur is not even slightly diminished by peeling paint and musty rooms - only enhanced when you consider that it has survived for nearly 200 years!

2  Thank Thomas_Love
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2013

This antebellum city mansion, once home to the governor of South Carolina prior to the Civil War, is almost untouched - it's like the family left one day and took most of their furniture, but still left something behind. It is left in its original state - preservation as opposed to restoration, and you can see details of almost every period of its history. The kitchen, slave quarters, stables and carriage house are still intact, unlike almost anywhere else from its time period (built in the 1820s). Even the original wallpaper is viable! Some may feel that it needs much work (It does!), but that is part of its charm and appeal, in my opinion. I simply loved it! The perfect "city-house" complement to Drayton Hall, the last intact, original plantation just outside of Charleston.

2  Thank John P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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