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“Nice museum” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Charleston Museum

Charleston Museum
Ranked #23 of 229 things to do in Charleston
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Charleston Museum, America's First Museum, founded in 1773. Its mission is to preserve and interpret the cultural and natural history of Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry. We invite you to explore this rich, varied history at the Museum and its two National Historic Landmark houses. All are located downtown, in America's Most Historic City. Featuring: Lowcountry History, Historic Armory, Charleston in the Revolutionary War, "City Under Seige" (civil war), Natural History Hall, Kidstory, and Historic Textiles Gallery
Level Contributor
20 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Nice museum”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2013

I really enjoyed the whole museum. The clothing display was nicely done. There is a cute hands on section for kids to enjoy. They can try on the costumes and even play a game of checkers. There is also a nice display of animals.

Visited December 2013
Thank Amy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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643 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kansas City, Missouri
Level Contributor
238 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 235 helpful votes
“Something for Everyone”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 25, 2013

Although the sign at the entrance said you should allow an hour for the museum, my husband and I spent 2 hours and could have spent more but we were worn out! They have some wonderful sections especially for kids, with replicas of vintage clothing they can try, and exhibits of toys from earlier eras. You may end up spending less time in the other areas, where there's more text and less to touch, but your kids will like it. There's a cannon to climb on and a giant whale skeleton hung from the ceiling.

Some exhibits we loved: the textiles, with their quilts showing the fine hand-stitching, an exhibit of vintage clothing, drawers full of hats from various eras (under glass), and an exhibit of the original museum's collection. This was back when few people traveled and they wanted to show exotic items from exotic places, including a mummy, a cast of a Roman statue from the British Museum, and various Egyptian items such as ushabti. It was interesting mostly as education on what an early museum might contain.

The material from The War Between the States is worth a visit all on its own- many letters, weapons, many items excavated after Hurricane Hugo exposed them. Off in a corner there's a letter written by a soldier to his wife, with the down-home misspellings of a barely literate soldier (kids might enjoy "proofreading" the printed version next to it) along with the jacket and shirt he was wearing when he was fatally shot. Some valuable items were saved only because their owners buried them before the war, and then dug them up again. One set of valuable silver was found only in 1945.

We didn't spend too much time in the "natural history" type stuffed animal exhibits.

We thoroughly enjoyed this museum and we've been in museums all over Europe. You'll have one type of good visit on an adults-only tour and another kind of good visit if you bring your kids.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank AThena53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
63 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Touted as America's "1st" Museum...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 6, 2013

Visited this Museum & the Joseph Maginault house on the combination ticket. Feel that the combo price was reasonable for what you can see.

The Museum teaches through exhibits and video the history of slavery, "King Cotton", the Lowcountry and more. While this Museum may not be inundated with high tech exhibits (as many modern museums have these days (I.e.interactive exhibits) , the rich history of this City was well presented. Small children will probably be more fascinated with the limited natural museum exhibits of mounted extinct animals presented here but it would be truly American history buffs who would find this to be a gem ! Only disappointed about the small size of the Museum shop as it was really almost an afterthought here since it did not have its own enclosed space.

Visited May 2013
2 Thank Libralaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Augustine, Florida
Level Contributor
28 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“It's a museum.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2013

My wife and I were in Charleston for the day and we visited this museum. I have to say that it wasn't the best museum I've ever visited. They didn't have anything I hadn't seen before in other museums. They had lots of stuffed animals which as a vegetarian I don't like.

Visited November 2013
1 Thank Sarah R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Walnut Creek, California
Level Contributor
64 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“The Charleston Museum - America's First Musuem”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 11, 2013

Excellent exhibits on Charleston's history. The Civil War era pieces were the most interesting. The exhibits provided very good insight into what times were really like for the slaves, soldiers and townspeople. Located across the street from the visitors center - take the Free Trolley - Green route, stops next to the museum. I am surprised this is ranked #29 in Trip Advisor - I would rank it in the top 10 Things to Do.

Visited November 2013
Thank SandraWCCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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