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South Carolina State Museum, Columbia, SC


  • Historic Car at the Museum
  • Plane Exhibit shows Science Focus of Museum
  • South Carolina State Museum - Locomotive
  • South Carolina State Museum Exhibit
  • South Carolina State Museum Exhibit
  • South Carolina State Museum Exhibit
  • People at the South Carolina State Museum

Discover South Carolina history at the South Carolina State Museum as part of this group bus tour. Housed in the historic 1893 Columbia Mill textile building along the banks of the Congaree River in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, the Museum was founded in 1988. Through its diverse collection displayed throughout its interactive and engaging exhibits, the State Museum provides visitors of all ages with a look at the past, present and future of the state of South Carolina. 


Visit South Carolina State Museum

During your visit to the South Carolina State Museum, take a self-guided tour of the Museum’s permanent collections and many traveling exhibits to learn about the story of South Carolina. At the Cotton Mill Exchange, you can shop for items unique to the Palmetto State.

Permanent Collection

The South Carolina Museum’s major disciplines; art, science and technology and cultural and natural history, reflect the richness of South Carolina’s past. On the Museum’s art floor is the Lipscomb Art Gallery. Changing twice a year with a new show of art of the state or region, this stimulating space is integral to the story of South Carolina featuring everything from traditional portraiture and decorative arts to the most up-to-date contemporary art by South Carolina artists. Explore space and science, discover the principles of flight, or learn about the inventor of the laser on the Science and Technology floor. 14,000 years of South Carolina history await you on the State Museum’s history floor. Highlights of the history floor include a Civil War submarine, a train history exhibit and African American history display. Samplings of the Museum’s history collection span from some of the oldest stone tools found in the state to the first automobile mass-produced in South Carolina during the 1920s. The South Carolina State Museum not only explores its cultural history, but also its natural history. Learn what makes South Carolina one of the most biologically diverse areas of the United States. A shark display, the Life and Past dinosaur exhibit and South Carolina habitats exhibit are also featured in the State Museum’s natural history space. 

Shopping at Cotton Mill Exchange

The Cotton Mill Exchange offers visitors the best of South Carolina. Located in the lobby of the historic South Carolina State Museum, beautiful linens, jewelry, home and office décor and gourmet food are available to purchase.

Travel Tips

-          The South Carolina State Museum regularly features temporary exhibitions that support the Museum’s permanent collection.


-          Wheelchairs are available to use during your visit to the Museum free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis.