Fourth Floor Highlights
Travel back 14,000 years to learn about early Native American cultures and discover the history of colonial settlement, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the African-American experience, and more all the way through the early 20th century. Guests can also enjoy the Recent Acquisitions Gallery and the Palmetto Gallery, which are changing exhibition spaces located on the fourth floor, as well as the Robert B. Ariail Historic Telescope Collection and the Boeing Observatory.
Native American Cultures
Learn about the fascinating history of South Carolina's Native American cultures, including the Catawba, Cherokee, Yemasse and others. See examples of early pottery, detailed dioramas and discover the stories behind how the earliest peoples came to the area now known as South Carolina and transitioned from nomadic lifestyles to settling in villages and cultivating crops.
Why did Europeans want to explore the New World and how did that result in the establishment of the Carolina Colony? Who were the Lords Proprietors? Find out when you explore the fourth floor and see amazing artifacts, such as the Royal Governor's Chair (dating to 1757), an ornate silver cup brought to South Caroline by Governor James Glen in 1742, an 'elephant coin' from 1694 and more.
There were more battles fought in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War than in the Civil War. Trace the history of the Revolutionary War and its impact in our state with a life-size replica of Fort Moultrie, a selection of firearms from the period and more.
Civil War & Reconstruction
Guests can explore the complicated history of this massively important historic event and its aftermath in South Carolina with exhibitions featuring military weaponry, uniforms, and medical equipment, as well as discover how Reconstruction re-shaped the state and the ways in which its effects are still having an impact on the current day.
Did you know the State Museum is housed in its largest artifact - our building! Once known as the Columbia Duck Mill, the building was the first electric mill in the world. Learn more about the importance of mills in our state with displays including original machinery, multimedia content, hands-on features and more.