The 6 Best Museums in Charleston, SC [2022 Guide]

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If you are searching for the best museums you can find in Charleston, South Carolina then you have ended up on the correct webpage. In this article today, not only will I give you a list of the best museums in Charleston, I’ll also include their address, a link to their website, and even a link to their Yelp! Page so you can explore even more if something catches your eye. I tried to create a list that had a bit of diversity in the kinds of museums I recommended so I think there is a little something for everyone. And I will even let you know if one of these museums accepts one of our convenient digital GiftYa gift cards.

Virtual GiftYa Cards make the perfect gift for loved ones and for anybody who likes to explore Charleston or travel. These virtual gift cards can be sent and received within seconds. Usually with a special message inside with well wishes towards a loved one or special friend. The virtual gift cards are as easy to send as an email or a text message and can be purchased for nearly ten thousand different merchants and businesses. You can personalize the gift message, and send it directly to your recipient’s phone, all within seconds. GiftYa’ digital format provides not only a speedy delivery but also a convenient way to store and maintain different gift card balances. You don’t need to worry about having that particular gift card for that particular establishment on that particular day, as long as you have your phone, GiftYa cards are with you. Check out the list of top best museums in Charleston, South Carolina below, including several that accept GiftYa!  

Not to mention their digital format makes GiftYa perfect anytime you want to send a gift card with a large sum to a loved one in Charleston *wink wink.* With a GiftYa there’s no writing multiple balances all over a card and hoping you can keep it organized. You also don’t have to worry about the card being lost or stolen with a GiftYa. 

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

Best Historical Museum in Charleston South Carolina 

122 E Bay St | French Quarter | oldexchange.org/

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon is at the top of my list today for one very simple reason. The absolutely overwhelmingly positive reviews and reactions from the visitors they have had in the past. Although everything I will recommend to you on the list today will have high customer review ratings, none of the other museums on the list today had such a high rating from its visitors than the Old Exchange.

And I can understand why. There are several levels to the museum, but don't worry, there is a self guided tour to keep you from getting lost and make sure you see everything in the correct order. 

“I was a little hesitant to take this tour at first, but it turned out to be really informative.  They go through a lot of history of Charleston as well as the dungeon itself.  I would definitely recommend to anyone in Charleston for the first time..” - Yelp Review 

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon isn’t accepting GiftYa digital gift cards just yet, but check here for all the other GiftYa available for best museums in Charleston

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

Amazing Art Museum At The College of Charleston

161 Calhoun St | College of Charleston | halsey.cofc.edu/

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is unique to me because it’s a free to visit museum that is located on a college campus..

And if you are a fan of art museums in general but feel like you’ve been there, seen that, don’t worry the Halsey has something to offer even to the most weathered art critic. And the institute provides a “multidisciplinary laboratory” that allows artists to create, interpret, and present their art in a myriad of different forms or styles. So you’ll be sure to see a little bit of everything when you visit the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art.  

“What sets the Halsey apart is its daring exposes.  From the destruction of the historic foundations of Charleston to racial issues to political causes, the Halsey knows no boundaries.  They dare to take art to new limits and force you to think.” - Yelp Review

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art doesn’t offer GiftYa digital gift cards just yet, but check back soon because we are always adding the best museums and attractions in Charleston!

The Charleston Museum

Explore History and Culture at America’s First Museum 

360 Meeting St | Mazyck-Wraggborough| charlestonmuseum.org/

Founded in 1773 (3 years before the country was even founded) the Charleston Museum was America’s first museum. Which in and of itself makes it a pretty cool spot to visit. I mean there aren’t very few museums that have been around longer than the country itself.

But even if that’s not enough of a hook for you, the Charleston Museum is also going to focus on the history and story of Charleston itself. And Charleston is often labeled America’s Most Historic City, so the history of Charleston is really the history of the country. If you are looking to really learn a lot and expand your knowledge of American history, then this is going to be the museum for you. 

“Absolutely worth a few hours to tour.  This museum has a solid design to walk you through the political history, natural history, ancient history, and self history of Charleston.  It helps put each era into context with a good amount of detail on events and impact with personal artifacts to deepen the story.  ” - Yelp Review 

As always we’re busy adding attractions and the best museums in Charleston to GiftYa all the time but you can’t get one for The Charleston Museum just yet. Check back soon.

Aiken-Rhett House Museum

The Most Beautiful House Museum in Charleston 

48 Elizabeth St | Mazyck-Wraggborough | historiccharleston.org/aiken-rhett-house/

I’ve never been to a house museum before. In fact, I’d never really heard of one before today. But people really seem to enjoy seeing the houses of the uber-wealthy preserved for some reason. 

The house itself was built in 1820 and was greatly expanded by the governor over time. The museum was established in 1995 and allows modern day visitors to experience life in antebellum Charleston. So if you really want to get a look at a preserved moment in history, the Aiken-Rhett House Museum really is like stepping into a time machine. 

“A must-see in Charleston. Very organized and informative; the audio tour was fantastic. We loved learning about this beautifully preserved site.” - Yelp Review 

You can’t get a digital GiftYa gift card to Aiken-Rhett House Museum at the moment but be sure to check back soon as new best museums and locations in Charleston are added all the time!

Gibbes Museum of Art

Powerful Inspiring Art in Charleston 

135 Meeting St | French Quarter | gibbesmuseum.org/

While the Halsey museum focuses more on the contemporary, the Gibbes museum of Art is much more of a well rounded museum. Featuring everything from Colonial artwork up to the kind of contemporary works that are displayed at the Halsey.

And it’s because of this that I felt I needed to include two art museums on this list. If you are a fan of history museums, you might find a lot of joy in seeing how the people of that era thought about and created artworks. You can gain a real insight into history by observing the cultural attitudes and styles of different eras and that is exactly what the Gibbes Museum of Art will allow you to do the next time you are in Charleston. 

“Beautiful museum in the most fabulous part of the city! You can literally walk to several other sites once you get parked… …The museum offers a glimpse into Charleston's history, art work and the past.

It's well worth your time while visiting Charleston!” - Yelp Review 

Unfortunately Gibbes Museum of Art isn’t one of the best museums in Charleston participating with GiftYa just yet, but check back soon cause they might be any day now.

Mace Brown Museum of Natural History

A Great Free Museum in Charleston for Kids

Street 202 Calhoun Street | College of Charleston | geology.cofc.edu/natural-history-museum

While I wanted to make sure to get some historical and art museums on the list, I wasn’t sure what all kinds of museums Charleston might have to offer when I started compiling this list. And I was relieved to find out that they have a great natural history museum. But if you are traveling with kids or you are a family in Charleston looking for a museum, the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History is going to be the best museum for you. It’s hard to get little kids interested in modern art or historical artifacts. But it is really easy to get them interested in dinosaur bones and fossils. 

“LOVE THIS PLACE, great for kids of all ages.  The students that assist in the Museum are very knowledgeable and interested in teaching about the place.  

Closed on Wednesday

Open 11am - 4pm” - Yelp Review 

There aren’t GiftYa digital gift cards available for Mace Brown Museum of Natural History as of the date of this writing, but there might be now! Be sure to check GiftYa itself for all the gift cards available for the best museums  in Charleston.

There you have it! All the best museums you can find in Charleston. South Carolina. I must say I have to write a great number of articles about the best things in the best cities, but I always enjoy writing these ones in museums. It’s nice to see all the unique and creative museums that different cities have. People often forget how relaxing a visit to a museum can be in a day so I am always happy to research them and recommend them to those in need.

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