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5 of the Region's Best Museums

Plan a Trip to These Interesting Museums

Lexington County Museum 

Location: 231 Fox St., Lexington

What it commemorates: 

Since 1970, the Lexington County Museum has served as a fabulous door to the region’s storied past and hands-on history. Wander through an expansive collection of structures that transports guests from the colonial era to the Civil War. In the heart of Lexington, this seven-acre museum complex features 36 historic buildings. Some of the structures include the original Lexington County Post Office, the oldest documented house in Lexington, and the house where the traditional song “Old-Time Religion” was composed. Exhibits inside the buildings focus on locally-made and used artifacts including furniture, quilts, pottery and rifles. Of special notation is the museum's collection of artifacts and structures made and used in the local area before 1865.

South Carolina Military Museum

Location: 1 National Guard Road, Columbia 

What it commemorates:
The first museum dedicated to the Palmetto State's military tradition opened in 1981, thanks to the vision of South Carolina National Guard Col. Hugh McLaurin III. It originally was located in Sumter in a small space. By 2007, the location was moved to Columbia and into a much larger area for displays. A second building was christened June 7, 2014, making this museum the largest land-based, military museum in South Carolina and one of the premier U.S. National Guard museums. Featuring a vast array of authentic and period firearms, edged weapons, uniforms, helmets, artillery pieces and armored fighting vehicles, both buildings of the South Carolina Military Museum trace the evolution of the citizen-soldier from the earliest militias to their modern descendants, the South Carolina National Guard. In so doing, the museum covers the complete military history of the state, from the time British boots first touched Carolina soil to present-day operations worldwide.

Columbia Museum of Art

Location: 1515 Main St., Columbia

What it commemorates:
The Columbia Museum of Art celebrates outstanding artistic creativity through collections, exhibitions and programs. This museum ranks among the leading art institutions in America. Its collection encompasses nearly 7,000 works and spans thousands of years of history, representing a range of world cultures. Established in 1950, the museum welcomes 135,000-plus visitors annually and acts as a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming—from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, Arts & Draughts parties and craft haven gatherings.

South Carolina State Museum

Location: 301 Gervais St., Columbia

What it commemorates:
The South Carolina State Museum is a state-of-the-art facility launched in 1988 and features four floors of permanent and changing exhibits, a digital dome planetarium, 4-D interactive theater and an observatory. This largest and most comprehensive museum in the state is located along the banks of the Congaree River. The museum is housed in its largest artifact, the former Columbia Mill. The former textile mill also is a world-first. When it opened in 1894, manufacturing cotton duck cloth (a canvas-like material), it was the first totally electric textile mill in the world. It was also the first major industrial installation for the General Electric Company. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

McKissick Museum

Location: 1501 Pendleton St., Columbia 

What it commemorates:
McKissick Museum is located at the heart of the historic Horseshoe on the University of South Carolina campus. It was established in 1976 and is accredited by the American Association of Museums. Exhibitions can be found on three floors of the museum. The museum team offers a variety of events and programs year-round.

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