Full size train replica of The Best Friend of Charleston at the State Museum. Shows green train with red wheels and black smoke stack.

Third Floor Galleries

Discover the history of science and technology in South Carolina, learn about the development of transportation and enjoy changing exhibition spaces. 

Museum Hours

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

Plan Your Visit

Third Floor Highlights

The museum's third floor galleries offer guests the opportunity to discover stories revealing the impact of innovation and industry on South Carolina and learn more about the people who contributed to its advancement. These exhibitions take guests on a journey from the formation of meteorites to steam powered locomotives, Charles Townes' Nobel Prize winning invention of the 'maser' (precursor to the laser), Gen. Charles Duke's historic walk on the Moon and beyond.

Also available on the third floor is a fascinating look at the history of the mill industry in South Carolina, including information on the museum's largest artifact - our building! Once home to the first all electric textile mill in the world, the museum's building was first known as the Columbia Duck Mill which produced a canvas like material called duck cloth. 


The Best Friend of Charleston

This full-size train replica depicts America’s first passenger steam locomotive. Discover how the development of railroads and steam power transformed industry in the state, plus find out why The Best Friend of Charleston met an untimely end after only six months of use.


Textile Mill Industry

Learn more about the importance of the mill industry in South Carolina with displays including original machinery, multimedia content, hands-on features and more.


South Carolina Astronauts

Did you know South Carolina is the birthplace for many astronauts, including Gen. Charles Duke, Ronald McNair, Gen. Charles Bolden, and more? Learn about their important contributions to space exploration, see related objects and artifacts, and discover the many South Carolinians who have participated and worked in the aerospace industry.



This collection currently on exhibition features some of the oldest items in the care of the State Museum! Learn how these meteorites made their way to Earth's surface, what the different types are, and discover how many have been found in South Carolina - one of which is on display for you see on your museum visit.

More to Explore on the Third Floor

Make Some Noise: the Science of Sound engages guests of all ages in an interactive world of sound! Explore the way sound travels, how humans and...

History of the Columbia Mills Building

Learn more about the textile mill once housed in the museum's building and how it eventually became the South Carolina State Museum.

Black and white image of Columbia Mills interior showing loom machinery