Life size antique train engine car is suspended on a lift as it is moved from the back of a flatbed truck to the ground.

The Story of Us: Sharing Our Past, Building Our Future

See objects, artwork, fossils and more highlighting the museum's 35 year history and exploring what we have planned for the future.

Museum Hours

Open today from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Plan Your Visit

Now Open

This new exhibition looks at the history of the State Museum, the ambitious projects we have planned in the future, and answers many questions you might have about the museum through dozens of objects reflecting our past present and future. 

Why is there a South Carolina State Museum? What was the first artifact that was collected? How do we decide what to collect? How many exhibitions has the museum created and hosted? How many new species have been identified through our natural history collection? Find the answers to these and many other questions through the display of thought-provoking pieces from the museum’s rich and diverse collection, which are often tucked away in storage.  

Featured objects include:

  • Recent acquisitions such as a c. 1815 Bible owned by Charleston's William Turpin (see below for more information) and the first African-American Barbie produced by Mattel and created by Spartanburg native "Kitty" Black Perkins. 
  • Employee badge, Union membership card and reports related to the museum building's original use as the first electric textile mill in the world
  • Artwork including a recently conserved 1901 painting by artist Edward Gay (1837- 1928) and several pieces of Catawba pottery
  • Trilobite fossils dating back 500 million years
  • And more!

This exhibition also highlights current behind-the-scenes projects, including the inventory and digitization of the over 1.1 million objects in our collection, and offers a first look at where the museum will be heading through our Reimagine the Experience project.


Historic Turpin Bible Goes on Display

Included in this new exhibition will be the historic Turpin Bible recently acquired by the museum. You can learn more about this important object and explore it online now!

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Museum Hours

The museum is closed today

Closed Monday
Tuesday - Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday from Noon to 5:00 p.m.

Holiday Hours:
Closed Dec. 24, 25 and Jan. 1, 2024

Museum Location

South Carolina State Museum
301 Gervais Street
Columbia, SC 29201

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Plan your way through our 4 floors of permanent and changing exhibitions, planetarium, observatory and 4D theater.

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