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Charleston Museum most interesting things to see, incredible artifacts and fun for kids

Posted By ShoutCarolina,Date: 05.05.2009

Immerse into South Carolina’s tumultuous past at the Charleston Museum downtown. The country’s first museum, founded in 1773, offers one of the most extensive collections of Civil and Revolutionary War artifacts and of Lowcountry lifestyle memorabilia.

From the ingenious defense of Fort Moultrie to our nation most devastating earthquake, from the start of the Civil War to the abominable Charleston blockade, from the darkest slave era moments to soaring human feats.

Bronze cannon from American Revolution

There’s so much to see you will definitely need to come back to soak it all in. Kidstory is almost an entire floor full of hands-on exhibits dedicated to the entertainment and education of kids. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 2 to 12 years.

Charleston Museum highlights
H.L. Hunnley was the world’s first submarine to successfully sink an enemy ship. A full size replica is on display in front of the Charleston Museum entrance. Amazingly it was built only from few available sketches and paintings before the sub recovery. Just another Hunley mystery

H.L. Hunley submarine replica

Marion Francis, the Swamp Fox, was the most famous SC General of the American Revolution. His uncanny ability to use the native environment to his advantage won him many battles and a few legendary tales…The museum features a letter General Francis wrote in 1784, a Japanese tea set gift and a sword from his brigade.

The Swamp Fox General sword and letters

A heartbreaking 1865 National Archive picture of children sitting on the portico of the Circular Church. Witnesses recount the devastation left by the Civil War:
“No imagination can conceive the utter wreck, the universal ruin, the stupendous desolation…”, “…there was no wall and no roof that did not bear eloquent marks of having been under fire of siege guns…”

Caroline Gildman, a Charleston resident remembers her journey back home in the spring of 1865: “I could not help thinking yesterday as I saw the flowers….that they set us a good example politically. Buth then flowers have no memory.”

Savages of the Civil War through the eyes of the children

The Charleston Civil War siege story told through the “eyes” of the artillery. For years both the North and South armies used artillery to either attack or defend the city. The guns ranged from the 12 pounds Napoleon to the 10 inch Parrot riffle cannon that shot 300 pounds projectiles.

Civil War cannon balls

Best Friend of Charleston, the country’s first steam locomotive built entirely in United States and first to run a scheduled passenger and freight train. Unfortunately it only lasted for 6 months. In 1831 it exploded after one for the firemen decided to cover a “hissing” valve…

The Best Friend of Charleston locomotive replica

The start of the Civil War as seen in the Harper’s Weekly. Charlestonians watching in awe the Fort Sumter bombardment from their houses rooftops.

The start of the Civil War witnessed from downtown Charleston

Charleston’s signature architecture, the iron spikes installed to keep the pirates at bay.

The famous Charleston Iron Spikes

Other Notables

• 44 feet Right Whale skeleton caught in 1880 in the Charleston Harbor
• Gershwin’s piano used for the 1934 Porgy and Bess opera adaptation. Both the composer and Duboise Heyward (Porgy’s novel author) died few years later without having a chance to witness the great success of their collaboration.
• The chair in which delegates sat to sign South Carolina’s Ordinance of Secession.
• The christening cup of George Washington inside the Charleston Silver gallery.
• The plaster cast of the Pharaoh Ramses II statue, acquired from The British Museum in the 1890s.
• A replica of a very popular 1790 apothecary that later become Dr. John Lining’s house

18th century pharmacy

The Charleston Museum also operates the Heyward-Washington House and the Joseph Manigault House and combination tour tickets are available (discounts offered for adult tickets only).
• $10 Adult (museum or historic house), $16 for 2 sites, $22 for 3 sites.
• $ 5 Children (3 to 12 years) and Free for those 2 and under. For group discounts and reservations contact (843) 722-2996 ext. 264.

The Charleston Museum is open year around Monday to Saturday 9AM to 5PM and on Sunday 1 to 5PM. Both historic houses are open year around Monday to Saturday 10AM to 5PM and Sunday 1-5PM (last tour at 4:30PM). Free parking for the Museum and the Joseph Manigault House is located by the museum.

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