6 Museums & Attractions That Uncover Charleston History

Charleston is well-known for having a rich history and local culture – it’s one of the country’s most historic cities. From plantations and historic homes to museums and a naval shipyard, these 6 unique Charleston attractions will give you a greater appreciation for the Lowcountry locale:

Charleston Attractions

The Charleston Museum

Founded in 1773, The Charleston Museum is one of the oldest museums in the United States. There you’ll find a variety of exhibits showcasing the history of the Lowcountry. You can see the timeline of the Charleston area, view a vast array of South Carolina wildlife in the Natural History Gallery, visit the Armory, and see the finest in Charleston Silver and Southern fashion throughout the ages. The little ones will love Kidstory, a fun and exciting, hands-on exhibit for children.

Best Museums in Charleston

The Gibbes Museum of Art

The Gibbes Museum of Art was founded in 1905 based on the principle that art is a gift. The permanent collections focus on art and artists portraying life in the American South over the decades, while the rotating exhibits feature pieces ranging from modern photography to sculpture, all of which are intended to inspire creativity and challenge the mind.

Charleston Vacation Ideas

The Edmonston-Alston House

The Edmonston Alston House is the only Historic Home museum near the Charleston Battery. While visiting the house, you’ll be able to see beautiful harbor views from the piazza, as well as enjoy pieces that reflect the family’s story and their place in American history. The museum is connected with Middleton Place plantation, so be sure to visit both to see the difference between downtown and plantation life.

Charleston Historical Locations

Middleton Place Plantation

This Ashley River Plantation is definitely worth the short trip outside Charleston. Middleton Place is home to a formal, English-style garden, replete with secret gardens filled with beautiful sculptures. You can also visit the remaining section of the Middleton Family Home. It is filled with family heirlooms and reminiscent of the past. Before you leave, visit the stable yards. You’ll find local artisans and historians, like blacksmiths and coopers, as well as the animals that live on the farm.

Charleston Landmarks

Patriots Point

Visiting Patriot’s Point will take you on a voyage to the past with ships that started their service in World War II. Experience the expansiveness of an aircraft carrier aboard the USS Yorktown, which features different planes and helicopters, along with exhibits about the war and life onboard. You can also take a walk through the Medal of Honor Museum to learn about some the nation’s greatest heroes. Next, discover the USS Laffey, which is classified as a destroyer, before making your way over to the USS Clamagore to see how small submarines actually are. Finish up with the Vietnam Exhibit to see what a base camp looked like. If you’re staying with Wyndham Vacation Rentals, Patriot’s Point is a Privileges Program member, so be sure to ask about it at check-in.

Charleston Itinerary

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

No harbor town is complete without a few pirates! Visit the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon to experience one of downtown Charleston’s greatest historic sites. The site began as a customs house, a necessity to be established as a port city. Over the years, the Old Exchange evolved to include a dungeon to help with the city’s pirate problem. It then served as the site where the Constitution was ratified on 1788 and hosted George Washington in 1791 when he visited Charleston.

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