The 7 Best Museums in South Carolina!

From museums illustrating the history of local railways, to contemporary art spaces, to museums designed for giving children hands-on opportunities, South Carolina has something to please everyone. Museums offer more than lessons on life way back when, they offer experiences you won’t forget. Here are the 7 best museums in South Carolina offering unique insight on the state’s history, and so much more. 

Children’s Museum of the Upstate, Greenville, SC

While plenty of bold “Do Not Touch” signs litter every exhibit in other museums, the Children’s Museum of the Upstate in downtown Greenville insists interaction at every turn. Fun and education collide in three levels of learning. From toddler-friendly play areas to Grandma Betty’s Farm to the one-of-a-kind climbing structure, kids of all ages will thrive on hands-on opportunities and unique experiences… and beg you to let them stay.

SC Railroad Museum, Winnsboro, SC

All aboard! This museum is on the move! Chugging along five miles of track, the visitors can take a ride through history on the real Rockton and Rion Railway from the 1880s. Formerly used to haul blue granite from quarries in South Carolina, the multicar train is now known as the Rockton, Rion and Western Railway. Hop aboard for a Saturday excursion June through August, or take a tour on one of their special events. There are also several stationary cars lining the museum headquarters for train enthusiasts to explore, such as a mail car, sleeper car, and steam locomotive. All cars featured at the museum were once productive vehicles, working hard to further American civilization.

Coastal Discovery Museum, Hilton Head Island, SC

South Carolina’s low country offers some of the greatest sights of the south, and you can experience them up close at Coastal Discovery Museum. Numerous trails and gardens wind through 68 acres of natural history and local culture. You’ll also find a butterfly enclosure, wildlife, costume play, scavenger hunts, and excursions for both land and water. 

BMW Zentrum Museum, Greenville, SC

Aside from the architecturally amazing building, the BMW Zentrum Museum displays all the fine details of the ultimate driving machine. From BMW’s rich history, to the successes of their innovations, to real versions of retired designs lining the floor, you can quench your thirst for all things speedy.

Anderson County Museum, Anderson, SC

Detailed exhibits that delight the eyes of young and old line the numerous walls within Anderson County Museum. Decadent in local history and heritage, Anderson has carved its own place in history, and the museum tells its tales like no other. A miniature model of the Anderson County fair, the South Carolina Heritage Corridor, and the importance of electricity and textiles to the local economy are only some of the many adventures that visitors will journey through.

North Charleston Fire Museum, North Charleston, SC

If you’ve ever wondered how they handled hot disasters way back when, the North Charleston Fire Museum can quench your queries. Guests get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a real firefighting hero: you’ll get hands on with hoses and gears, and learn how much firefighting has changed through the decades. With interactive exhibits and theatrical presentations, you can get as close to firefighting as possible without compromising your safety.

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, SC

Calling all art lovers! It’s certainly not the Louvre, but the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art boasts some innovative collections from artists near and far. Located at the College of Charleston School of the Arts, you may never see the same exhibit twice since they are continually updating their displays for your enjoyment.

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816 Bull Street, Columbia, SC
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1515 Main Street, Columbia, SC
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301 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC
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301 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC
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211 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC
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1800 12th Street, Cayce, SC
ABOUT THE MUSUEM The City of Cayce is rich in history and the Cayce Historical Museum was established to share this history with you. The museum s... Read More
313 Butler Street, Saint Matthews, SC
The Calhoun County Museum and Cultural Center, originally a 5,000 sq. ft. pecan plant, was purchased by Calhoun County in 1976. Since then, the bui... Read More
231 Fox Street, Lexington, SC
The Lexington County Museum, founded in 1970, offers a rare and unforgettable experience – the chance to see and touch a way of life gone for... Read More
South Carolina State University 300 College Street NE, Orangeburg, SC
The concept for a museum and planetarium on the campus of South Carolina State University originated in the early 1970's. The first exhibition spac... Read More
6449 Savannah Highway, Neeses, SC
1314 Broad Street, Camden, SC
About Us: The Camden Archives and Museum is funded by the City of Camden and is a department of the City. It is responsible for collecting, preser... Read More
200 Knights Hill Road, Camden, SC
Mission: The mission of the Museum is to foster public interest in the sport of American Steeplechasing and reaching the broadest audience throug... Read More
110 Industrial Park Road, Winnsboro, SC
The South Carolina Railroad Museum, Inc. was established in 1973 by a group of dedicated railroad enthusiasts from the Columbia and Charleston, Sou... Read More
110 Industrial Park Road, Winnsboro, SC
Mission: Preservation and promotion of railroad history and artifacts in South Carolina. Our volunteer members restore and operate antique locomot... Read More
2714 Cleveland Street, Elloree, SC
Museum History Local Quilt ExhibitsIn 1998, as part of the downtown revitalization efforts, a committee of three Elloree citizens  investigat... Read More
231 South Congress Street, Winnsboro, SC
Mission: To stimulate interest in the role of Fairfield County in the development of South Carolina and the nation. To preserve the history of ... Read More
122 North Washington Street, Sumter, SC
Mission:Mission is to promote the history of Old Sumter District through the preservation and exhibition of objects, manuscripts, and documents, wh... Read More
55 Joe Dority Road, Bishopville, SC
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1521 Springfield Road, Williston, SC
121 West Cedar Lane, Bishopville, SC
The South Carolina Cotton Museum is a "Blue Star Museum." The South Carolina Cotton Museum is a major interpretive site preserving the legacy of co... Read More
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