Charleston SC Museums and Other Interesting Places
Charleston Museums & Other Sites If you are coming to Charleston for the first time, don't miss visiting some of the museums and other historic sites. Read the list below and plan your trip to include those places that interest you most. You can always come back to Charleston and map out more of the historic sites for your future visit.
American Military Museum
360 Concord Street, Charleston SC (843) 723-9620
Located in Aquarium Wharf adjacent to the debarkation point for tours to historic Fort Sumter, the Museum is filled with authentic artifacts from 14 American conflicts from the Revolutionary War through the recent war in Iraq. Visitors marvel at 70 display cases filled with 260 uniforms, 33 flags, medals and hundreds of military artifacts from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
Angel Oak/Scarlet's Tree
3688 Angel Oak Road Johns Island, SC (843) 559-3496
Reportedly the oldest thing -- living or man-made -- east of the Rockies, Angel Oak is a live oak tree aged approximately 1,500 years. Some locals simply call it The Tree. It stands in a wooded area along Bohicket Road of John's Island outside Charleston, South Carolina. Angel Oak is a live oak. It is native to the low country and is not very tall but has a wide spread canopy. Lumber from the live oak forests in the sea islands was highly valued for shipbuilding in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Angel Oak stands on part of Abraham Waight's 1717 land grant. Mr. Waight owned several plantations. The City of Charleston now owns Angel Oak. The City of Charleston now owns Angel Oak. There is no charge to view the tree and is a when visiting Charleston, South Carolina.
Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Sanctuary
336 Sanctuary Road Harleyville, SC (843) 462-2150
When you've looked at all that the website has to offer, make a date to come out to the swamp and visit the Francis Beidler Forest! The wildlife, the ancient trees, the quiet flow of blackwater as it meanders through the swamp, they all await you on your trip to Beidler Forest.
60 Meeting Street, Charleston SC 29403 (843) 722-2996
The Charleston Museum, America's First Museum, was 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.
Charleston County Park and Recreation Caw Caw Center
5200 Savannah Hwy Highway 17 South Ravenel SC (843) 889-8898
The Caw Caw Interpretive Center a 654-acre site located within the Caw Caw Swamp is just 25 minutes from downtown Charleston, Summerville and Walterboro. The Center, rich in natural, cultural and historical resources, is comprised of several former rice plantations that operated during the 18th and most of the 19th century. Here and throughout the South Carolina Lowcountry enslaved Africans and African Americans were forced to apply their West & Central African agricultural experience, technology, and skills to rice cultivation. Out of vast, Lowcountry swamps these men, women and children successfully converted thousands of acres to rice fields. Still evident today are the earthen dikes, water control structures called rice trunks, and canals-all fruits of their slave labor.
Children's Museum of the Lowcountry
25 Ann Street Charleston SC 29403 (843) 853-8962
Kids can race boats down rapids, climb aboard a Lowcountry pirate ship, make it rain indoors, or grow vegetables in our all-organic kids garden. They can race golf balls down a roller coaster to see physics in action, shop for "real" groceries while learning healthy eating habits, and create inspired masterpieces every day in our dedicated art center. At CML, play inspires creativity and encourages lifelong exploration of the world around us.
The Citadel Museum
171 Moultrie Street Charleston, SC (843) 792-6846
The Citadel was established in 1842 and is one of the last two military state colleges in the nation. The Citadel Museum offers a history of the military college of South Carolina and Corps of Cadets from 1842 to the present.
City Hall Gallery
80 Broad Street Charleston SC (843) 792-6846
Open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Located in the Council Chamber of the Charleston City Hall (1801) the gallery contains portraits of many important leaders, including one of George Washington by Trumbull.
The Confederate Museum
188 Meeting Street Charleston SC
Market Hall was built in 1841. Since 1898, the Daughers of the Confederacy has operated the Confederate Museum, which contains flags, uniforms, swords and other Confederate memorabilia.
Gibbes Museum of Art
135 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401 (843) 722-2706
The Gibbes Museum offer portraits of the Colonial South to the era of Porgy and Bess and beyond, the museum, opened in 1905, contains a collection of American and European paintings reflecting Charleston’s history.
Friends of the Hunley
1250 Supply Street Charleston SC (843) 743-4865
In 1863, news from Mobile of the successful trial runs of the Hunley had made its way to Charleston. Could this secret submersible weapon help save Charleston from the ever-tightening Union blockade? With proof of the submarine's destructive powers becoming more known, the Hunley arrived by train in Charleston on the morning of August 12, 1863 and was soon granted an audience with besieged Charleston's military commander, Pierre Gustave Tousant Beauregard.
Karpeles Manuscript Museum
68 Spring Street, Charleston, SC 29403 (843) 853-4651
The Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, is housed in a grand and bold Greek Revival structure of the Corinthian order after the Temple of Jupiter in Rome. The history of the building dates back to 1791 when William Hammet and a group of Methodist dissenters decided to form their own Methodist congregation. The new congregation grew over the period of 65 years until 1856 when a larger sanctuary was needed. Property was purchased and the cornerstone was laid on June 24, 1856. The church was called St. James¹ Chapel, as he was the great Apostle of practical piety. During the Civil War the Confederate forces in Charleston used the building as a medical storehouse and hospital until the Union Army attacked and Charleston was evacuated. The building was one of the first attacked in an effort to capture the water supply held in the large cisterns on the ground floor.
Morris Island Lighthouse
By 1673, the Charles Towne colony had authorized a light to be burned every night on a small sandy island, later named Morris Island, six miles southeast of Oyster Pointe at the mouth of the harbor. This simple beacon was a burning "fier ball" of pitch and ocum lit in an iron basket. Each ship entering and leaving the harbor paid a small tax to help support the beacon and its attendant. What we know as Morris Island was actually three smaller islands divided by narrow creeks. The northern most island, named for Captain John Cumings, was Cumings Island or Cumings Point. The middle island was Morrison's Island and the third, farthest south, called Middle Bay Island. By the end of the 18th century, these creeks were silted-in forming one larger island. The name was shortened from Morrison's to Morris Island. The main channel into Charles Towne harbor near Morris Island was called Pumpkin Hill Channel, thought to be named after an early plantation there.
Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon
122 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29401 (843) 727-2165
Few buildings reflect Charleston, South Carolina's early history as effectively as the Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon. Considered to be one of the three most historically significant Colonial buildings in the United States, the Old Exhange Building is a "must see" when visiting Charleston.
Patriots Point Naval Museum
Patriots Point Mt. Pleasant SC (843) 884-2727
The centerpiece of Patriots Point is the world famous aircraft carrier USS YORKTOWN, a heavily decorated warship that was at the "tip of the spear" in America's victory in the Pacific during World War II. Find out more about the ships of Patriots Point, the magnificent aircraft, and the rest of the exhibits that make Patriots Point one of the most visited attractions in the Carolinas!
South Carolina Aquarium
100 Aquarium Wharf (843) 720-1990
Fun, wonder and education come together at the South Carolina Aquarium. An intimate family-fun adventure, see a rare albino American alligator; get hands-on at the Touch Tank, marvel at the sharks in the Great Ocean Tank, come face-to-face with rays in the Stingray Encounter, or take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sea Turtle Hospital. Don't miss our interactive dive shows and animal programs offered daily!
The Bells of St. Michael's
A visit to the very heart of Charleston and its "Four Corners of Law" with good timing, at Broad and Meeting Streets you may hear the chime of mighty church bells ringing overhead. The ringing bells of St. Michael's Episcopal Church is one of the oldest attractions and built in 1761 is the oldest church edifice on the peninsula and the second-oldest congregation in the city. This is the church where George Washington worshipped on his famous 1791 presidential tour. Meeting & Broad Streets Downtown Charleston.
The Magnolia Cemetery
70 Cunningham Street Charleston SC (843) 722-8638
Magnolia Cemetery is the quiet, final resting place of many important Charlestonians and other players in the city's long running and colorful drama. This 19th century cemetery is not far off East Bay Street, which becomes Morrison Drive. Many of the city's leaders, politicians, and judges and other pioneers in many fields are buried beneath the ancient live oaks of Magnolia. Magnolia's gates are open daily from 2:00 to 6:00pm.
The Postal History Museum
& Broad Streets Charleston
Tucked away at the "Four Corners of Law" there sits a little gem of history in Charleston. The Postal History Museum is a special room inside the Charleston Post Office showing visitors tidbits of our colonial town postal history. This little museum is a must for anyone who wondered how 18th and 19th century mail was handled. It is open during the regularly scheduled post office hours. Don't miss the 1896 post office building elaborately detailed and the oldest continuously operating post office in the Carolinas.
The Powder Magazine
79 Cumberland Street Charleston, South Carolina (843) 805-6730
Just a few blocks from the market area sits the oldest public building in the Carolinas. The Powder Magazine was opened to the public in the summer of 1997. A new interactive exhibit interprets Charleston's first 50 years - a time when it was still a relatively crude Colonial outpost of the British Empire. Admission is free.
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