Charleston Museums

When in a museum, walk slowly but keep walking


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Charleston's Top 5 Museums


Charleston, SC, is one of America's most historic cities, with a rich cultural, natural and military heritage. There's no better spot to experience Charleston's past -- and marvel at its present -- than in its many museums. Here are Travel Channel's picks for the top 5 museums that make Charleston a top tourist destination.

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The Charleston Museum


The Charleston Museum was founded in 1773, making it "America’s First Museum." The museum marks the official start to Charleston’s Museum Mile, which stretches along Meeting Street.


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Gibbes Museum of Art


A stroll down “Museum Mile” should include a visit to the Gibbes Museum of Art. The art museum houses an extensive collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts.



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Old Slave Mart


Stand on the only remaining site used as a gallery in South Carolina’s slave auctions. The Old Slave Mart was once part of Ryan’s Mart, a complex that spread from Chalmers to Queen streets, and included a brick-enclosed yard, a slave jail, a kitchen and a “dead house,” or morgue.


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Karpeles Manuscript Museum


Put down your e-reader -- and take a trip back in time to an era when reading material was made of paper, and some was even written (gasp!) by hand.



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American LaFrance Fire Museum


Just a short drive up Interstate 26, to north Charleston, is the nation’s largest collection of American LaFrance firefighting trucks and apparatus, all lovingly restored.



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