Santa Elena History Center

Museum in Beaufort

Tucked into an old federal courthouse, this history museum tells the largely unfamiliar story of the earliest Europeans to settle in North America, and we're not talking about Jamestown. Back in 1562 the French landed on present-day Parris Island and dubbed it Charlesfort. They abandoned the site, but in 1566 the Spanish moved in and renamed it Santa Elena. This museum describes the early rivalry between these nations, and how the colonialists lived.

There's a short film to orient you before visiting the exhibits. Kids will enjoy the hands-on archaeological 'dig' for artifacts on the 1st floor.