The best museums in Charleston in December 2023

These are the top 20 best museums in Charleston, United States, ranked by their rating and popularity in 2023. Click a museum for more information about the museum, including visitor information, exhibitions and reviews.

For a complete overview of museums in Charleston, their exhibitions and discount cards & passes, see our overview page with all museums in Charleston.

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Looking for the best museums in Charleston? These are the best ones:

  1. Old Slave Mart Museum1

    Old Slave Mart Museum

    Charleston, SC
    The Old Slave Mart, located at 6 Chalmers Street in Charleston, South Carolina, is a significant historical site that once served as a slave auction gallery during the antebellum period. This building provides a tangible connection to the city's past, offering visitors a chance to learn about a crucial aspect of Charleston's history.
  2. South Carolina Aquarium2

    South Carolina Aquarium

    Charleston, SC
    The South Carolina Aquarium houses a diverse range of more than ten thousand plants and animals. Visitors can expect to see a variety of species including North American river otters, loggerhead sea turtles, alligators, great blue herons, owls, lined seahorses, jellyfish, pufferfish, green moray eels, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, pythons, and sharks. This wide array of flora and fauna provides an enriching experience for all visitors.
  3. Charleston Museum3

    Charleston Museum

    Charleston, SC
    The Charleston Museum, situated in the Wraggborough neighborhood of Charleston, South Carolina, holds the distinction of being the oldest museum in the United States. This historic institution offers a unique opportunity for visitors to delve into the rich past of the country.
  4. Powder Magazine4

    Powder Magazine

    Charleston, SC
    The Powder Magazine, located at 79 Cumberland Street in Charleston, South Carolina, serves as both a gunpowder magazine and a museum. This unique combination offers visitors a chance to delve into the history of the area while also exploring a significant piece of military history.
  5. Nathaniel Russell House Museum5

    Nathaniel Russell House Museum

    Charleston, SC
    The Nathaniel Russell House, built in 1808, is an early 19th-century house located at 51 Meeting Street in Charleston, South Carolina. It was constructed by Nathaniel Russell, a wealthy merchant and slave trader. The house is recognized as one of the most important neoclassical houses in the United States, showcasing the architectural style of the period.
  6. The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon6

    The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

    Charleston, SC
    The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, also known as the Custom House and The Exchange, is a historic building located at the intersection of East Bay and Broad Streets in Charleston, South Carolina. This building, built between 1767 and 1771, has served a variety of civic institutional functions over the years, including notably as a prisoner of war facility operated by British forces during the American Revolutionary War. Today, it stands as a testament to the city's rich history and is a popular destination for tourists.
  7. Gibbes Museum of Art7

    Gibbes Museum of Art

    Charleston, SC
    The Gibbes Museum of Art, which was previously known as the Gibbes Art Gallery, is an art museum located in Charleston, South Carolina. It is a significant cultural institution in the city, offering visitors a chance to explore a wide range of artworks.
  8. The Calhoun Mansion8

    The Calhoun Mansion

    Charleston, SC
    The Williams Mansion, previously known as the Calhoun Mansion, is a Victorian-era house located at 16 Meeting St., Charleston, South Carolina. This historic mansion is open to the public for tours, offering visitors a glimpse into the grandeur of the Victorian period.
  9. Heyward-washington House Museum9

    Heyward-washington House Museum

    Charleston, SC
    The Heyward-Washington House, located at 87 Church Street in Charleston, South Carolina, is a historic house museum. Constructed in 1772, the house stands as a testament to the rich history of the area. It was once the home of Thomas Heyward, Jr., a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, and served as the residence of George Washington during his 1791 visit to the city. Today, it is owned and operated by the Charleston Museum.
  10. Joseph Manigault House10

    Joseph Manigault House

    Charleston, SC
    The Joseph Manigault House, located in Charleston, South Carolina, is a historic house museum. It is owned and operated by the Charleston Museum, making it a significant part of the city's cultural heritage. Visitors can explore the house to gain insights into the architectural style and history of the period.
  11. Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum11

    Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum

    Charleston, SC
    The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums are a private collection of more than a million manuscripts and documents in the United States, the largest such collection in the world. It was founded in 1983 by California real estate magnates David and Marsha Karpeles, with the goal of stimulating interest
  12. Animal Forest12

    Animal Forest

    Charleston, SC
  13. Mace Brown Museum of Natural History13

    Mace Brown Museum of Natural History

    Charleston, SC
    The Mace Brown Museum of Natural History is a public natural history museum situated on the campus of The College of Charleston, a public liberal arts college in Charleston, South Carolina. It provides a unique resource for teaching and internationally respected research activities conducted at The College of Charleston.
  14. Mcleod Plantation Historic Site14

    Mcleod Plantation Historic Site

    Charleston, SC
    McLeod Plantation is a significant historical site located on James Island, South Carolina. It is situated near the intersection of Folly and Maybank roads at Wappoo Creek, which flows into the Ashley River. This former slave plantation offers a glimpse into a crucial part of American history and provides an opportunity for visitors to learn about the past in a tangible way.
  15. Macaulay Museum of Dental History15

    Macaulay Museum of Dental History

    Charleston, SC
    St. Luke's Chapel is the only remaining building from the Charleston Arsenal. In 1883, Dr. Porter converted the artillery shed into a chapel, which eventually became part of the Porter Military Academy. This historical building provides a unique insight into the transformation of the site over the years.
  16. Charleston Library Society16

    Charleston Library Society

    Charleston, SC
  17. William Aiken House17

    William Aiken House

    Charleston, SC
    The Gov. William Aiken House, also known as the Aiken-Rhett House, is a historic building located at 48 Elizabeth Street, in the Wraggborough neighborhood of Charleston, South Carolina. Built in 1820, the house is known for its association with Gov. William Aiken and is considered to be the best preserved complex of antebellum domestic structures in Charleston. The house was originally configured as a Charleston single house with entrance from the south side along Judith Street.
  18. 18

    Confederate Museum

    Charleston, SC
  19. Palmetto Carriage Barn19

    Palmetto Carriage Barn

    Charleston, SC
  20. 20

    Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

    Charleston, SC

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