Charleston Museum


Founded in 1773, this is the country's oldest museum. It's helpful and informative if you're looking for historical background before strolling through the Historic District. Exhibits spotlight various periods of Charleston's long and storied history.

Artifacts include a whale skeleton, slave tags and the 'secession table' used for the signing of the state's secession documents. And don't miss Charleston's polar bear.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Charleston attractions

1. Joseph Manigault House

0.05 MILES

This three-story Federal-style house from 1803 was once the showpiece of a French Huguenot rice planter. There's a tiny neoclassical gate temple in the…

2. Aiken-Rhett House

0.16 MILES

The only surviving urban town-house complex, this 1820 abode gives a fascinating glimpse into antebellum life on a 45-minute self-guided audio tour. The…

3. Marion Square

0.17 MILES

Charleston's most frequented park is 10 acres of green space in the middle of downtown, bordering on King, Calhoun, Meeting and Tobacco Sts. It's the home…

4. College of Charleston

0.44 MILES

Spread over a few city blocks at the center of Charleston's downtown, this university was founded in 1770 and is the oldest in the state. The campus is…

5. Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum


An outpost of the world's largest private collection of important original manuscripts and documents, housed in a former Methodist church built in 1856…

6. Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim

0.54 MILES

The oldest continuously used synagogue in the country, complete with a museum and gift shop. A tour costs $10 for adults and is free for children; check…

7. South Carolina Aquarium

0.62 MILES

A showcase of South Carolina's wildlife, with creatures hailing from the mountain forest, piedmont, salt marsh, coastal and undersea habitats. Although…

8. George Gallery

0.65 MILES

A neighborhood favorite, this contemporary-art gallery displays mostly abstract and nonobjective work of artists from the East Coast with some connection…