The Charleston Museum, Heyward-Washington House & the Joseph Manigault House are OPEN. 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.
In the Bunting Natural History Gallery, experience an extraordinary presentation of fossils, specimens, bird and animal mounts, and geologic examples, which together tell the story of Lowcountry natural history. Learn about the diverse array of creatures that once called this area home and the remarkable changes that have taken place in its landscape over hundreds of millions of years.
The Natural History Gallery houses fossils from various specimens and also contains three lifesize fossil reconstructions. The Pelagornis sandersi (the largest flying bird in the world and the only of its kind), the primitive whale, and a giant crocodile, Gavialosuchus, were native to the Charleston area roughly 33 to 23 million years ago during the Oligocene epoch and represent the Lowcountry’s incredible prehistoric biodiversity.
The original fossils of these amazing animals are housed in the Museum collections and are part of ongoing research into the Lowcountry’s past.
Throughout the history of the Museum, various naturalists have collected examples of mammals from the area for both research and display. Several of these animals that were once common in the Lowcountry are exhibited and give insight into the changes in South Carolina’s animal diversity.
Many species of birds are represented in their natural forms and sizes, some with examples of eggs and nests, allowing visitors to gain comprehensive and comparative insight into these specimens.
While most of the species on display are indigenous to the area, some specimens were collected from other parts of the world.
Since the Museum’s inception, local naturalists have been collecting animal, plant, and mineral material from around the world to build the Museum’s unique natural history collection. These collections include the Mazyck shell collection, the Ravenel herbarium collection, and skeletons reconstructed by Gabriel Manigault.
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.