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Through innovative partnerships, comprehensive collections, and stimulating exhibitions and programs, the South Carolina State Museum provides educational environments that entertain, inspire imagination and creativity, and enrich the lives of visitors. The museum is located at 301 Gervais St., Columbia, SC.



The South Carolina State Museum, the state’s largest and most comprehensive museum, is located along the banks of the beautiful Congaree River in downtown Columbia, South Carolina. Founded in 1988, the State Museum is the primary storyteller of the history of South Carolina. Through rich and diverse collections displayed through interactive and engaging exhibitions, the State Museum strives to honor the groundbreaking nature of its setting, providing both residents and visitors an in-depth picture of the state’s past, present and future. There is much to see and do every day at the State Museum through a variety of exhibitions and educational programs both offered at the museum and through distance learning programs, as well as through entertaining community events of all kind.



The State Museum has four disciplines that reflect the richness of South Carolina’s history. The museum’s collection contains more than 70,000 artifacts. The museum’s four disciplines represent:

South Carolina Art – Just as South Carolina art plays an integral role in the lives of many visitors, it is integral to the story the State Museum tells of South Carolina.

Natural History – South Carolina is one of the most biologically diverse areas of the United States. See a giant shark display, a dinosaur and the South Carolina habitats exhibitions.

Science & Technology – The science and technology floor provides historic and contemporary exhibitions and activities. Explore space, science, discover the principles of flight and learn about the inventor of the laser.

Cultural History – The history floor of the State Museum covers roughly 14,000 years of the state’s heritage. See a Civil War submarine, a train history and the African American history exhibitions.



One of the largest planetariums in the Southeast, this massive 55-foot dome planetarium and theater takes guests on journeys to the deepest reaches of space through educational and entertaining astronomy shows, non-space films dealing with art, history or natural history and laser light shows set to music of the Beatles, Pink Floyd, U2 and more.


The only permanent theater of its kind in South Carolina, the 4D theater couples high-definition 3D digital projection movies with physical features to provide multisensory, interactive experiences for guests. Physical features, including water sprayers, leg ticklers, air blasters, scents, snow, bubble and smoke effects, strobe lights and vibratingseats, are synchronized to the images displayed on the screen.


The observatory, equipped with a computer controlled 1926 Alvan Clark 123/8 inch refracting telescope, is playing a central role in the museum’s distance learning initiatives. For the first time in the nation, remote access of a vintage telescope is being provided free-of-charge to classrooms across a state. The observatory is also available to the public for on-site solar and night sky viewing.