The Charleston Museum, Heyward-Washington House & the Joseph Manigault House are OPEN.
Tours at the Historic Houses begin on the hour starting at 10 AM and ending at 4 PM.
Last tour of the day at the Historic Houses begins at 4 PM.
EFFECTIVE JULY 1: Per Charleston City Council ordinance all persons are required to wear face coverings when entering buildings open to the public within the City limits. Masks must be worn while visiting The Charleston Museum and its historic houses. Thank you for your cooperation and for helping our community to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Librarian, Educator & Director of The Charleston Museum
Currently on View : Lobby Exhibit
Initially hired as a librarian at the Museum in 1909, Laura Bragg (1881-1978) eventually became its director in 1920, making her the first woman to ever lead a publicly funded museum in the United States.
African Americans visiting the old Museum, April 23, 1950
Her many accomplishments include, the creation of the Charleston Free Library, overseeing the purchase of the Heyward-Washington House and making educational programs available to all schools. She also convinced the Board of Trustees to overturn a policy that had previously excluded African Americans from attending the Museum.
Laura Bragg's Velvet Evening Coat, 1920s
Bragg greatly expanded the breadth and depth of the Museum’s collections, including the acquisition of prehistoric and historic pottery. Many of the significant pieces of the Edgefield stoneware she collected were made by David “Dave” Drake, an enslaved potter who produced some of the most impressive pieces of these ceramics.
Women Directors of Museums at the Charleston Meeting of the A.A.M., 1923
Undeniably a woman of respect and principle, Bragg’s dedication to public education and her commitment to make the Museum available to everyone, marks her as a pioneer during a time when Charleston was strongly divided by both social and racial classes.
In the Museum’s Armory, see excellent examples of historic weaponry, dating from 1750 to the twentieth century, with uses that ranged from military to more personal applications such as hunting and dueling.
In the Lowcountry History Hall, see materials relating to the Native Americans who first inhabited the Lowcountry and the African American and European settlers who transformed the region into an agricultural empire.
In the Natural History gallery you will see an extraordinary array of birds, reptiles and mammals that have called the South Carolina Lowcountry home since prehistory, including contributions from noted naturalists.