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Lowcountry Image Gallery

This timeline highlights the rich history of The Charleston Museum from its beginning to the present. Selected events from the past 250 years are showcased using iconic photographs from the Museum's Archives.
The forebear of The Charleston Museum was founded on January 12, 1773, by members of the Charleston Library Society, when South Carolina was still a British colony. Although the form and substance of the institution has changed over two and a half centuries, its general purpose at the time of its creation – to educate – is still central to its mission today.

Throughout its history, the Museum has experienced wars, natural disasters, and most recently a worldwide pandemic, yet it has continued to thrive. Today, The Charleston Museum houses more than 2.4 million objects, and each year over 100,000 people, from around the world and from all walks of life, come here to learn.

We invite you to enjoy this timeline highlighting selected events from the Museum’s rich past, from its beginning to the present, with iconic images from the Museum’s Archives. 

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250 Years - Come Celebrate with Us!

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250th Commemorative Volume

The Charleston Museum: America’s First Museum

To celebrate our 250th anniversary milestone, the Museum has published this special volume, The Charleston Museum: America’s First Museum,which documents its history and impressive collections in archaeology, natural history, archived materials, decorative arts, and historic textiles, as well as its preservation of historic landmarks, such as the Heyward-Washington House, the Joseph Manigault House, and the Dill Sanctuary, a 580-acre wildlife refuge on nearby James Island.

This handsomely illustrated commemorative volume brings its rich history to life, offering insights into many of its 2.4 million collected artifacts while detailing the contributions of key figures, such as Gabriel Manigault, Laura Bragg, and Milby Burton, who made it one of the premier museums in the southern United States.