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The Children’s Museum of the Upstate

11 Best Museums in South Carolina (2024)

11 Best Museums in South Carolina

Learn something new while you wander the halls, galleries, collections, and paintings in the best museums of South Carolina.

1. The Children’s Museum

In contrast to the many “Do Not Touch” signs located around other museums, the Children’s Museum of the Upstate in downtown Greenville actively invites visitors to interact with the exhibits. You can choose from three levels of exciting and educational information. From the age-appropriate playground to Grandma Betty’s Farm to the one-of-a-kind climbing structure, children of all ages will be enchanted by this place and beg to remain.

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate

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2. South Carolina Railroad Museum

Put another way, everybody gets on board! Currently, this exhibition is in transit. The authentic Rockton and Rion Railway, which runs on five miles of track and dates back to the 1880s, provides a unique opportunity for visitors to experience a journey through time. Historically, blue granite from South Carolina quarries was transported via the Rockton, Rion, and Western Railway, a multi-car train. You can participate in various unique events, and Saturday rides between June and August. The museum’s offices are lined by parked carriages like postal cars, sleeper cars, and a steam locomotive that are just begging to be explored by train enthusiasts. This museum in South Carolina’s collection of automobiles represents pivotal moments in the history of the United States.

3. Hilton Head Island

Some of the South’s most magnificent landscapes can be found in South Carolina’s low country. The Coastal Discovery Museum provides a unique opportunity to explore this region personally. Visitors can explore the area’s 68 acres of natural heritage and local culture via a network of trails and gardens. There is a butterfly habitat, a petting zoo, a costume shop, a scavenger hunt, and on-land and on-water excursions.

4. BMW Zentrum Museum

The building is stunning, and the BMW Zentrum Museum displays every last detail of the best car in the world. BMW’s past, present, and future—along with working copies of its discontinued designs—could slake your thirst for speed.

5. The Anderson County Museum

The Anderson County Museum has exhibits that interest people of all ages. The museum in Anderson does an excellent job of showcasing the city’s cultural heritage. Guests will be able to do several fascinating things, like experiencing a miniature version of the Anderson County Fair, the South Carolina Heritage Corridor, and the importance of the electrical and textile industries to the state’s economy.

6. The Fire Museum

Questions about fire safety in the past? The North Charleston Fire Museum has the solutions. Visitors may experience what it’s like to be a firefighter for a day by trying on original hoses and gear and learning about the history of the occupation.

Through hands-on exhibitions and live performances, visitors get as close to the action of firefighting as is safely possible.

7. The Halsey Gallery of Art

To all of you who enjoy elegant creations, listen up! The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art may not be the Louvre, but it features cutting-edge pieces from artists around the globe. You may never see the same exhibit twice at the School of the Arts at the College of Charleston because they are constantly changing them.

8. Charleston’s Museum

Why not check out America’s first museum while you’re here? The museum has been around since 1773, when it first opened. However, you can rest assured that the museum’s age does not diminish its allure. Impressive permanent displays at the museum include the “Low Country History Hall,” “Becoming Americans,” and “Civil War – City Under Siege” exhibits, among others. Open from 9 to 5, the museum features several temporary exhibits. Pelagornis sanders, the giant flying bird ever discovered, has its skeletal remains on display in their fossil showcase, making for a remarkable sight.

9. The Confederate Museum

The Confederate Museum is housed in the historic Market Hall, built in 1841 and considered a Confederate relic. The young men of the Confederate Army in the American Civil War would eventually use the building to store food, ammunition, and other essentials. The museum charges a modest $5 for each visitor. Visit the inside and look at the family heirlooms and artifacts from the antebellum era. Experience the passage of time firsthand by viewing these organic artifacts from the distant past.

10. The Nathaniel Russell Museum

Charleston merchant Nathaniel Russell’s “neoclassical mansion” (1808) is the only focus of this museum dedicated to his honor and preservation. Insight into the complex history of the Russell family, their problematic role in the slave trade, and the home’s antebellum overtones can be gained through a tour of the property. This landmark on Market Street has an adult admission price of $12 and a child rate of $5. (guests under six years old are admitted free of charge).

11. Aiken-Rhett Residence and Museum

One of the best preserved Southern (and maybe even American) townhouse neighborhoods can be found in the Charleston museum. It depicts the realism of urban life in Charleston during the Antebellum period by preserving the quarters of the enslaved people who resided there. The Historic Charleston Foundation operates the complex as a house museum where the complex’s social and architectural histories are preserved and examined.


A wide range of museum types can be found in South Carolina, from those specializing in local railroad history to showcasing contemporary art and those geared specifically for children. Museums offer more than just a glimpse into the past; they also give visitors unique chances to experience the past first hand.

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