The Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum

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The Charleston Museum chronicles the history of Charleston and the coastal region of South Carolina in the United States. Exhibits include a history of South Carolina’s Lowcountry from the time of early natives, a collection of weapons from the 1750s onwards and the story of Charleston during the American Civil War.

There is also a natural history exhibition as well as some more eclectic pieces such as an ancient Egyptian collection which includes a mummy. It is worth noting that the Charleston Museum has an interesting history of its own. Founded in 1773, the museum is said to be the oldest in the country.

The Charleston Museum history

The Charleston Museum was founded in 1773 and has since been regarded as ‘America’s First Museum’. Inspired by the British Museum, the Charleston Museum was established by Charleston Library Society on the eve of the American Revolution. The museum was associated with many distinguished South Carolinians and scientific figures and opened to the public in 1824.

The museum gradually collected an impressive selection of ethnological and zoological objects, although had to close during the Civil War. In 1920 the museum hired Laura Bragg as its director and she became the first woman to direct a publicly funded art museum in America.

The museum’s current building was completed in 1980, and since also acquired 2 historic house museums: Heyward-Washington House owned by signer of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Heyward, and where George Washington stayed in 1792; the Joseph Manigault House, a federal style home from the early 19th century.

The Charleston Museum today

Today, the Charleston Museum continues to offer the public a rich variety of Southern history and is open between 9am and 5pm Monday through Saturday. The museum’s permanent exhibitions include those exploring massive textile collections of clothes and silver, as well as ‘The Armoury’ boasting weapons from 1750 onwards, and ‘Becoming Americans: Charleston in the Revolution’.

There is also the Bunting Natural History Gallery with fossils and geological specimens telling the story of Lowcountry natural history over millions of years. The museum also offers ‘Kidstory’, a section that presents the history of Charleston to young people through more interactive, hands-on exhibits. Overall, you can spend between an hour or 2 exploring the museum before stepping outside to see the Civil War submarine model.

Getting to The Charleston Museum

Located within historic Charleston, the Charleston Museum is found just off route 26, exiting onto E. Bay Street. Otherwise, get the 7, 20, 31, 33, 211, C32, XP1, XP2 or XP3 bus that stops directly outside the museum. There is car parking on Ann Street around the corner.

History of the Charleston City Market

In 1788, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney ceded the land to the City of Charleston for the express use as a public market, and he stipulated that the land must remain in use as a market for perpetuity.

To fulfill this requirement, the low buildings&mdashsheds&mdashthat stretch from Market Hall to the waterfront were built between 1804 and the 1830s. These sheds originally housed meat, vegetable, and fish vendors each booth rented for $1.00 per day, or $2.00 if the booth had a slab of marble used to keep the meat or fish cold. Butchers often threw meat scraps into the street, much to the delight of local buzzards, which were nicknamed Charleston Eagles. Over the years, the sheds have survived many disasters, including fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and bombardment.

In 1841, three years after the Masonic Hall on the corner of Meeting and Market Streets was destroyed by fire, the current Market Hall was erected. Architect Edward Brickwell White was paid $300 to create the building's blueprints, which paid homage to the Temple of the Wingless Victory in Athens. The resulting handsome structure was originally used by the Market Commissioners for meetings and social functions, while the space beneath the hall housed vendors.

Since the 1970s, the original sheds and surrounding neighborhood have housed many small and unique shops. Of special note are the more than 50 sweetgrass basket weavers who carry forth a special Charleston tradition.

The Charleston City Market, recognized as one of the oldest in the country, is part of a permanent exhibit entitled &ldquoLife in Coastal South Carolina c. 1840&rdquo at the American History Museum of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

1788: Land is ceded to the City in order to create a 100-foot-wide merchant avenue from Meeting Street to the Cooper River with the intent purpose of becoming a public food market.

1807: At what was then called &ldquoCentre Market,&rdquo stands rented for 25 cents per week, payable in advance.

1841: Market Hall is completed.

1938: A tornado severely damages the area surrounding the Charleston City Market.

1944: The economy stalled and only four stalwart vendors remain in operation.

1973: The Charleston City Market is placed on the National Register of Historic Places. A resurrange in popularity and economic prosperity begins.

1986: The 440-room Charleston Place Hotel opens across from the Charleston City Market, a watershed event for the local tourism industry. The Charleston City Market quickly becomes the City&rsquos No. 1 attraction.

1994: The newly renovated 64-room Planters Inn o pens across from t he Charleston City Market. The boutique property is invited to join Relais & Châteaux, the exclusive French based collection of charming hotels and gourmet restaurants in 55 countries, and it futher helps bring visitors to the neighborhood.

2010: A $5.5 million makeover of the entire Charleston City Market gets under way.

June 27, 2011: The newly refurbished City Market reopens to the public. The centerpiece of the historic landmark, the Great Hall, is now enclosed and air-conditioned with 20 new and returning merchants. Its serpentine walkway, built in the early 1970s, is replaced with a straight central aisle that runs the entire length of the building, matching the open aisles in the reworked open-air sheds.

Charleston Revolutionary War Important Events

Before Charleston

Before we can even begin talking about the events leading up to the Revolutionary War in Charleston, we need to address the events leading up to the war in America . Tensions between the American British Colonies and Britain had been growing for some time before the official start of the war in 1776.

Most of the anti-British sentiment started after the end of the French and Indian War (1754 – 1763).

The war (which gave Britain control over France’s land in North America, east of the Mississippi) was costly. And to offset the costs, the British began taxing the colonies.

In response, many of the colonists began refusing to buy heavily-taxed products, such as stamps and tea. In December of 1773, Boston residents boarded a British ship carrying tea and threw the cargo into the harbor. In 1774, the Continental Congress was created in Philadelphia, representing the colonies. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was written (only two days after Congress voted for independence from Britain).

Charleston Tea Party – 1773

While the Boston Tea Party is the most famous of all the tea parties, there were several other instances where the colonists threw tea into the water as an act of civil disobedience. Charleston’s Tea Party took place in 1773, before the Boston Tea Party.

In this instance, Charlestonians simply brought the tea ashore so it couldn’t be sold the tea wasn’t destroyed as it was in Boston.

Attempted Occupation – 1776

Otherwise known as the Seige of Charleston, the British attempted to occupy the city in June of 1776. Charleston’s location was ideal for military forces. A harbor city, Charleston could give the British advantage when it came to military strategy. The city is also home to several forts and batteries that would have given the British vital resources. In the end, the Patriots won and the British retreated from the area.

Siege of Charleston – 1780

Unfortunately, the British were able to take the city in 1780, but not without a fight. The city held off enemy troops for six weeks, making it the longest siege of the war. It was also the largest battle in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. But on April 1, British troops took Fort Moultrie and over 5,000 prisoners, including three signers of the Declaration of Independence. Even though the siege was a stinging defeat for the colonists, it played a major role in the American victory in the revolution. To learn more about the importance of the Siege of Charleston and how it paved the way for the American victory, pick up a copy of Carl Borick’s “A Gallant Defense: The Siege of Charleston, 1780″.

British Retreat – 1782

December 14, 1782, is known as Victory Day as this was the date of the ceasefire between the British and American armies in Charleston. On this day, the British were escorted out of the city and onto boats waiting for them in the harbor.

The West Virginia State Museum at The Culture Center

The West Virginia State Museum is dedicated to inspiring, educating and enriching the lives of the public by instilling a deeper understanding and sense of pride through the collection, preservation and exhibition of diverse cultural and historic traditions, focusing on every aspect of West Virginia history, culture, art, paleontology, archaeology and geology from all geographic regions - representing the people, land and industries.

A History of The West Virginia State Museum

The collection of the West Virginia State Museum finds its beginnings with the West Virginia Historical and Antiquarian Society which was organized in the Senate Chamber of the State House in Charleston on January 30, 1890. At this time it was an organization with limited state support but now with a home on the first floor of the capitol to showcase its collection.

On April 3, 1894, Governor William A. MacCorkle held a reception to announce the opening of the West Virginia State Museum in the 1885 West Virginia State Capitol building located at the head of Capitol Street in downtown Charleston. The museum contained the artifacts on exhibit at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, as well as exhibiting the valuable collection of the Historical Society already on exhibit. An article the next day in the newspaper applauded a large turnout for the event and the efforts of Governor MacCorkle, Colonel Bob Carr, Colonel A.D. MacCorkle and Captain John Baker White. These collections continued to be exhibited together when on February 18, 1905, by an act of the legislature, those artifacts from the Historical Society legally became part of the West Virginia State Museum.

When the legislation was passed to combine the two collections, additional funding and a new residence for the state museum was found. The museum moved to the Capitol Annex which had been completed in 1903. It turned out to be a great move for the early museum collection and saved it from the capitol fire of 1921.

When the 1932 West Virginia State Capitol building designed by Cass Gilbert was completed, the collection of the state museum was placed on exhibit in the basement. By the early 1970s it was determined that the State Museum had outgrown its space in the Capitol building and needed its own facility to preserve and showcase the wonderful treasures. On July 11, 1976, the West Virginia Science and Culture Center opened with beautiful state of the art exhibitions of history and culture. After 30 some years the collection is still housed in this modern facility that is environmentally controlled. In June of 2009, the newly renovated West Virginia State Museum opens with exhibitions and art that have been updated with modern conservation mounts, scenic beauty and architectural design elements that will help to preserve the collection for generations to come.

Charleston Museum

Established in 1773, Charleston Museum was the first museum in America and is located in the heart of downtown Charleston, South Carolina. It preserves and represents the cultural and natural history of Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry. The museum exhibits the objects from the cultural, and natural history collections of the city. It introduces the people and events from early settlement through the late 19th century. Collections include early tradeware, slave tags, artifacts from the eras of rice and cotton, southern furniture, and firearms and weapons. There is a separate gallery, Charleston Silver, featuring early silver collections and the christening cup of George Washington. The Early Days displays an Egyptian mummy, jarred biological specimens, and a plaster cast of the monumental statue of Pharaoh Rameses II, obtained from the British Museum in the 1890s. Special exhibitions and traveling exhibits are also organized by the museum. The Charleston Museum Institute offers innovative educational programs covering such Charleston topics as archeology, furniture, silver, architecture, Civil War history, and the Gullah culture. The museum also has two National Historic Landmark houses, the Joseph Manigault House and the Heyward-Washington House.

Charleston’s Museums Help Students of all Ages Learn the Stories Behind the History

The best Charleston museum is the city itself. You can see where signers of the Declaration of Independence lived, the site where politicians decided South Carolina should withdraw from the United States and where Dubose Heyward lived. You can do all of this while soaking up the ambience of the city that would be captured in the classic American opera "Porgy and Bess."

The city also boasts "America's First Museum" as well as a Museum Mile that includes former homes of political leaders over the city's nearly 350-year history, art and artifacts, a place for children to learn history and about the world around them, and one museum dedicated to telling the story of one of Charleston's darkest times as a center of the slave trade.

If you have a few hours to kill in the Holy City, check out Explore Charleston or Historic Walking Tour for walking tours you can print out or follow along on your phone.

To visit the "real" museums of Charleston, go to the Museum Mile, which has six museums, five nationally important historic houses, four scenic parks and a Revolutionary War powder magazine, as well as numerous historic houses of worship and public buildings, including the Market and City Hall.

The starting point is the Charleston Museum founded in 1773. Known as "America's First Museum," this museum chronicles Charleston's history from tribal pottery of native Indians through the Colonial era, the American Revolution and Civil War. Two historic houses, Heyward-Washington House and the Joseph Manigault House are part of the museum's offerings.

Next is the Gibbes Museum of Art, which opened to the public in 1905 and has a collection of paintings, sculptures and other art from several eras. A portrait room shows the people who built Charleston over the generations contemporary and local artists are also featured.

The Old Slave Mart tells the story of a slave auction mart from the early 18th century. The complex once included an enclosed yard, a jail, a kitchen and a morgue. The property was saved nearly 100 years after the last slave auction there by sisters Judith Wragg Chase and Louise Wragg Graves, who took over the Old Slave Mart in 1964. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places, and the museum that exists today was opened.

For more recent history, check out Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, which includes the carrier Yorktown and a newer exhibit on the Vietnam War. And the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry next to the Visitors Center caters to children 10 and younger with hands-on exhibits, including a pirate ship and fire truck. Nearby is the Best Friend of Charleston Museum, which is a free museum celebrating the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Co.'s original engine that brought train travel - and commerce - to Charleston.

Charleston also has several unique museums, such as the Karpeles Manuscript Museum, which is home to the largest private collection of historic manuscripts, including documents that detail the run-up to the War of 1812 on display through the end of 2015. The building itself, a Greek Revival dating back to the 19th century, is also an historic treasure that originally served as a Methodist church. The museum is one of about a dozen around the country supported by philanthropist David Karpeles and dedicated to telling the history of the U.S. through documents.

The North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum and Education Center has the largest collection of restored American LaFrance firefighting equipment in the country. There are more than 20 vehicles dating back to the 1780s. In addition to history, the museum lets visitors learn a little bit about the work of firefighting (yes, there is a fire pole), as well as fire prevention and safety.

Speaking of fire hazards, don't miss the Powder Magazine, the state's oldest public building dating back to the early 1700s and one-time home to the walled city of Charleston's original arsenal the Postal Museum inside the Post Office building at Meeting and Broad streets and the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, which was completed just before the Revolutionary War and was used, among other roles, as a Patriot prison during the British occupation of the city and a dungeon for pirates.

Discover the Postal Museum

Here's a suggestion for a great, relaxed afternoon in Charleston : Start at the newly refurbished City Market . There you will find a plethora of Palmetto State souvenirs. Pick up a handful of postcards.

Then, wander over to one of Charleston's great coffee shops like City Lights and sip a cappuccino while you write all of your friends and tell them, "Wish you were here."

Finally, head over to the corner of Meeting and Broad streets, where you can pick up some stamps at the beautiful, wood-paneled Charleston post office branch. But before you slip your postcards into the outgoing mail, make sure that you take a few minutes to check out a museum that really delivers - literally!

The Postal Museum is a small but fascinating museum that focuses on the history of the postal service in Charleston. Old stamps, post office memorabilia and newspaper clippings tell of the post office's role in many of the city's historical moments.

The current post office, which houses the museum, was built in 1896 on the ruins of an old police station that had been destroyed by an earthquake a decade earlier. If your local post office, like mine, is full of Formica and florescent light, you won't want to miss this post office branch's warm, 19th-century charm. What is purely utilitarian in our modern world was once full of elegance and romance.

In a world where we now can track our packages on smart phones and send messages to one another with the click of a mouse, it's very interesting to spend a few minutes thinking about a time when the postal service was the only link people had to their friends, family and colleagues across the state and country.

Cannon Park (Charleston, South Carolina)

Cannon Park is a 2.7 acre public park located in peninsular Charleston, South Carolina. It is bound to the north by Calhoun St. and to the south by Bennett St. To the east and west are Rutledge Ave. and Ashley Ave. respectively.

Some of the property on which the park is located was given to the City of Charleston in the early 1800s for a public park. The land previously had been a sawmill pond. The last parcels to complete the existing space were acquired in 1893. [1] Work on a public park began in 1894. [2] By 1897, however, the park had fallen into disuse by residents goats and cows were pastured on the land, and the grass was left uncut. [3]

In anticipation of a Confederate reunion, Charleston's City Council decided to spend $30,000 to build a convention hall. [4] Fifteen plans were submitted for the new facility, and those of Charlotte, North Carolina architect Frank Pierce Milburn were selected. [5] The hall, with seating for 7000, was completed and handed over to the City Council on April 27, 1899. [6] After the Confederate reunion, the hall was used infrequently and never to capacity. In October 1901, the City Parks Commission leased the auditorium to William P. Dowling, Jr. for a term of three years for use as a theater. [7] In December 1904, the city council chose to use the building as a temporary location for the city hospital. [8] In January 1907, the city council agreed to lease the hall to the College of Charleston to house its museum, thereafter known as the Charleston Museum, for a nominal rent. [9] [10] In October 1981, a fire destroyed the hall about one year after the museum moved to Meeting Street, leaving only its four grand columns. [11]

In 1981, the city proposed a redevelopment of Cannon Park along the lines of the proposal drafted by Olmsted in the late 19th century. The Olmsted Brothers, a landscaping firm in Brookline, Massachusetts, had designed plans for a park during the 1890s, but these never were implemented before the site became Thomson Auditorium. [12] The proposal retained the columns as a focal point and established the landscape around them using palm trees and oaks. A water basin was planned but never implemented. [13]

The park today has a playground and walking paths. While the park is unfenced, it does allow unleashed dogs. [14]

Slavery and Heritage in Charleston

At the beginning of the 20th century, in fact, the field was dominated by Southern historians who gave the institution of slavery a paternalistic veneer. It was only in the 1930s that the historian Frederic Bancroft began piecing together the evidence showing just how important the domestic slave trade was. And that meant, to put it mildly, that slave families and owner loyalties were far less secure than previously portrayed.

The history has evolved since then, but it is still fitting that one of the most informative sites about slavery in Charleston is, despite its modest size and resources, a museum that focuses specifically on the slave trade and is housed in a building that during slavery’s last established years was one of the South’s primary slave markets: The Old Slave Mart Museum.

Under the direction of Nichole Green, and with Elaine Nichols as curator, the museum, owned by the City of Charleston, is not a repository for objects, but a place where a narrative history is adroitly and soberly told, mostly on mounted wall panels. Part of that history is reflected in the building itself.

The trans-Atlantic slave trade had been forbidden by Congress in 1807, but that meant that the domestic trade became all the more important. Between 1789 and 1865, we learn, more than a million American-born slaves were sold in the South.

In Charleston, they were mainly sold outdoors, near the Old Exchange Building . But eventually there were complaints about crowds obstructing traffic, and, more important, perhaps, as tensions with the North increased, sales of human beings were attracting critical attention. The city banned outdoor slave sales near the Exchange after July 1, 1856. That was the very day that “Ryan’s Mart” opened indoors, becoming the most important showroom in Charleston.

The museum doesn’t pretend to present a history of slavery, or an account of its abolition (though on the second floor, a traveling exhibition purchased from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in New York, does address the subject). It simply chronicles the domestic trade. There is nothing here still redolent of such barter —the backyard prison, kitchen and outbuildings are long gone — but it doesn’t matter. The transformation of a slave showroom into a slave-trade museum gives a poignant edge to the account, in which an auction of slaves could resemble a sale of used cars.

The most valuable workers sold for nearly $40,000 in 2007 dollars (a chart of costs is shown). Hundreds of slaves, it is evident, could be worth more than the plantation they worked on. We read, too, that most white Southerners didn’t even own slaves. But slavery’s presence was widely accepted as natural.

Spend an hour here, and it starts to seem all the more remarkable that a museum has not undertaken a more ambitious examination of the subject. That will be one of the challenges for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, which is scheduled to open in 2015. In the meantime, remnants of slavery’s presence are so prevalent here that it becomes poignantly evident just how major an achievement is reflected by slavery’s enduring absence.


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Hanging Planter Macrame Workshop

The Charleston Museum


By 3000 BC the Sumerians were writing in dents and dashes called cuneiform and Egyptians had developed a picture form of writing called hieroglyphics. Participants will study examples of these ancient writings in our Early Days exhibit and attempt writing their name in both.

Kid Tours is a series designed to highlight artifacts from the Museum’s collection that have fascinated children for years. Kid Tours meet every Wednesday during the months of June and July at 3:30 PM. This program includes a tour highlighting the weekly theme and an engaging craft project or educational activity.

The Charleston Museum

# TextileTuesday During World War II, natural materials were rationed under the L-85 restrictions, and scientific research led to the development of new and improved synthetic materials like Dacron and Lycra. Post-war marketing campaigns for “better living through chemistry” promoted these synthetic fibers as superior products over natural fibers, when in essence, many of them are plastics, making them less breathable and more likely to trap sweat.

These two cocktail dresses are made of synthetic fibers meant to imitate the look of silk. The yellow dress on the right, c. 1955, has layers of filmy synthetic chiffon with an acetate lining and a boned bodice for structure. The blue dress on the left, c. 1961, has a pared down silhouette of a stiff material in a satin weave that gives a bright shine to the surface of the textile from the synthetic fibers.
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Watch the video: Ghost Adventures 2021 New Episode - Annabelles Curse (November 2022).

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