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Sites of Historic South Carolina

History Museums & Historic Districts

Gaining statehood in 1788, South Carolina is a historic state is ever there was one. For those interested in the tale, museums throughout the Palmetto State tell the fascinating account of South Carolina’s storied past.

For starters, history buffs may visit the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia – South Carolina’s capital and largest metropolitan area. The largest museum in southeastern America, the South Carolina State Museum is housed in the historic Columbia Mills Building – found on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and built in 1893.

The museum features life size replicas of South Carolina artifacts like the Best Friend of Charleston locomotive, and permanent exhibits divided into cultural history, science and technology, natural history, and South Carolina artwork.

Set on the South Carolina coast, Charleston features an incredible historic district and museums galore. Visitors of North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, and the Holy City itself need visit the Charleston Historic District, the Charleston's French Quarter District, and the Charleston Navy Yard Historic District – all listed on the register. Charleston historic sites include Battery Park, the Market Hall and Sheds, the Exchange and Provost, Fort Sumter National Monument, and the iconic Charleston Museum.

Known as America’s first museum, the Charleston Museum was established in 1773, and exhibits South Carolina’s local and natural history. Set in the Holy City’s downtown historic district, the Charleston Museum features the Heyward-Washington House, the Joseph Manigault House, and the Dill Sanctuary. Open daily, the museum also includes the interactive Kidstory exhibit – perfect for those with the family in tow.

More history museums are found throughout South Carolina – from the coast to upcountry. Check out the Dillon County Museum in Latta, the Marlboro County Historical Museum in Bennettsville, and Ridgeland’s Pauline Pratt Webel Museum.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Set on the Cooper River, the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is located on the South Carolina Coast in Mount Pleasant. Found near Charleston, Patriots Point is a collection of naval museums on the Charleston Harbor.

The three museums are found on the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, the USS Laffey destroyer, and the USS Clamagore submarine. The Yorkton features the 25 naval aircraft, and the Medal of Honor Museum. Make the most of your next visit to Mt. Pleasant with a tour of the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum.

Bedon-Lucas House Museum

Constructed in 1820, Bedon-Lucas House Museum is a historic home and museum set in Walterboro on the South Carolina coast. The site is owned and operated by the Colleton County Historical & Preservation Society.

A staple of the Walterboro Historic District, the Bedon-Lucas House Museum is open Thursday to Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors revel at the original floors, décor, and antique furnishing of one of Walterboro’s remaining "high houses."

BMW Zentrum Museum

Visit South Carolina soon and check out the BMW Zentrum Museum. Located near Spartanburg, the plant offers guided tours, allowing visitors to view the assembly line and more, on an extensive walk-through. The Museum houses automobiles, exhibits and galleries depicting the past, the present and plans for the future for BMW's.

Consider hosting your next event in the museum for a unique get-together. Browse the museum Gift Shop for clothing, accessories and memorabilia of your visit. Wind down in Greenville to enjoy a peaceful night's rest. Have fun cruising the beautiful upcountry region of South Carolina.

Charleston Museum

Enjoy historical insights in South Carolina. Founded in 1773, the Charleston Museum is as much a piece of history as the artifacts contained within.

America’s first museum is located in the historic city of Charleston, and features exhibits like the Joseph Manigault House and the Heyward-Washington House.

The museum in Charleston contains something for everyone with attractions such as an armory, civil war artifacts, Kidstory and the Loeblien gallery of silver to name a few.

Children and parents alike can enjoy the museum, which offers educational programs, tours, field trips and summer camps. America’s most historic city has plenty to offer by way of this incredible museum, a must see on the South Carolina Coast.

Colleton County Museum

Open Tuesday through Saturday, the Colleton County Museum focuses on the heritage of Colleton County, Walterboro, and the Lowcountry region – all found on the South Carolina coast. Set west of Charleston, the CCM also features an onsite farmers’ market and gift shop.

Colleton County Museum featues permanent exhibits like Animals of the ACE Basin, Rice Production & Plantation Life in Colleton County, and the Children’s Discovery Area. The Colleton County Farmer’s Market operates each Tuesday and Saturday from May through October.

Georgetown County Museum

Located along South Carolina’s Atlantic coast, the Georgetown County Museum presents a great deal of history and culture near Myrtle Beach. Guests are invited to visit the museum and discover some of the state’s vast history with exhibits like Native American Collection, Sport Fishing Collection, Military Room, and so much more.

Depending on when you visit the Georgetown County Museum, the museum just might be hosting an informative and fun-filled event. Don’t miss frequent oral history lectures as well as guided tours to get the most of your visit.

Rice Museum

Located along South Carolina’s Atlantic coast, the Rice Museum, known locally as the “Town Clock,” features a wealth of delightful, southern charm and history near Myrtle Beach in Georgetown. Peruse the museum and get a good glimpse of the plentiful dioramas, maps, artifacts, and more, all circa 18th century.

This museum houses plenty of exhibits and galleries catering to specific trades and historic eras. Be sure to check out the Agricultural Society, the Rice in Georgetown County exhibit, and the Old Market and Kaminski Hardware Buildings – among many others.

Slave Relics Museum

The impressive Slave Relics Museum documents, preserves, interprets, and celebrates the cultural history of African-Americans, focusing on the enslavement era throughout the American South from 1750 to the 1860s.

Actual artifacts made and/or used by slaves during that time are featured, and additional traveling exhibits come to, and are loaned from, the museum to and from locations around the country. The museum is found in Walterboro, located west of Charleston, and just a few miles inland of the South Carolina coast.

South Carolina Maritime Museum

Located along South Carolina’s Atlantic coast, the South Carolina Maritime Museum acts as an informative and charming stop near Myrtle Beach in Georgetown. The facility houses plenty of displays and exhibits, some of which include actual vessels from the early 1700s and beyond.

Moreover, the South Carolina Maritime Museum features the Browns Ferry Vessel, the oldest vessel on exhibit in the country. Also, be sure and explore the Georgetown Lighthouse, the oldest remaining active lighthouse in South Carolina.

South Carolina State Museum

Opened in 1988, the South Carolina State Museum encompasses the rich history of all regions throughout the state of South Carolina into one site in the capital city of Columbia. The museum was built within the building of the old Columbia Mill, which was the first electric textile mill in the world. Featuring art, history, natural history and technology exhibits the grounds hold over 70,000 pieces for visitors to see.

The museum can be toured privately or in groups and guided tours are available as well. Four stories of history rest within the mill in addition to the Cotton Mill Exchange museum shop located on the premises. Visitors should allow ample time to browse this top museum when visiting the Upcountry region of South Carolina.

Kaminski House Museum

Located along South Carolina’s Atlantic coast, the Kaminski House Museum is a delightful destination near Myrtle Beach in Georgetown. Visitors frequently enjoying taking in the architecture, antiques, and outstanding history present on the plantation’s expansive grounds.

During your visit, take a guided tour and sample some of the history and life in the 18th century, as told by knowledgeable curators. Moreover, the Kaminski House Museum hosts a variety of informative events throughout the year as well.