115 Holiday Dr.
Summerville, SC 29483
Phone: (843) 851-9595
Fax: (843) 832-1824
Arts & Museums
Located in a former police department building in the historic district, this small 1993 museum houses exhibits, relics, models and artifacts about the history of Summerville and surrounding area. By appointment, one-hour walking tours are offered by the museum that take visitors past Victorian and pre-Civil War plantation homes (around USD10 adults, USD5 children ages 12-17, and free for children under 12). The museum also has a gift shop with books and activity books for children. In March the museum holds a plant sale and on the third Thursday of each month it holds a gathering open to the public with live entertainment and carriage rides. Closed New Year's, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. No credit cards; cash and checks accepted; street parking only. -Natasha Lawrence
Middleton Place is an 18th Century rice plantation and National Historic Landmark comprising 65 acres (26 hectares) of America’s oldest landscaped Gardens, the Middleton Place House Museum and the Plantation Stableyards. The Gardens reflect the elegant symmetry of 17th Century European design. Sculpted terraces, parterres and reflecting pools full of swans are highlights of their intricate design. Rare camellias bloom in the winter, while vibrant azaleas blanket the hillside above the Rice Mill Pond in the spring. Tickets for house tours are separate from the general admission fee.
Drayton Hall is a National Trust Historic site resting on 630 lovely acres (254 hectares). The building was completed in 1742, and today it stands as a quality example of Georgian-Palladian architecture; in fact it is the oldest surviving example of this architectural style. Owned by the Drayton family for seven generations, the house remains near to its original condition, though it has been through the Revolutionary War and several hurricanes and earthquakes. This is a true piece of history, so come explore the house and enjoy the pastoral grounds. Drayton Hall regularly hosts school field trips and other educational opportunities.
The North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum is dedicated to teaching children about the science of fire and fire fighting. There are a number of interactive exhibits, which are designed to teach about fire safety and fire prevention. They also have a large collection of antique fire fighting gear, including old uniforms and a whole fleet of vintage firetrucks.
This 25,000 square-foot museum and interactive exhibit/educational playground provides a wealth of information on the history of fire fighting equipment and vehicles, as well as safety and fire prevention programs, assisted by staff dressed as firemen. Adults and children will have plenty to see, touch and hear. Considered one of the finest fire museums in the United States, visitors can view 18 fire trucks from 1857 to 1969, slide down a fire pole, or test one's knowledge, strength and skill at using fire fighting equipment. Located near the Tanger Shopping Outlet Center off Interstate 26, the museum also features a small gift shop and a Charleston Visitor Center information booth. - Natasha Lawrence
Located on the former Charleston Naval Base in memory of the thousands of military and civilian personnel who served when the base was open and active, this beautiful park on the west side of the Cooper River is well worth a trip off the beaten tourist path. Steel plate photographs of the Navy Yard from 1901 to 1996 are exhibited against a wall that resembles one side of an aircraft carrier. There are plaques, statues of the Lone Sailor and the Homecoming as well as models of the different ships that were built here (256) or called North Charleston home. Visitors can walk the boardwalk along the river, see the modern art exhibits around the park or let their children play on the playground nearby. Admission is free. Free parking is in a nearby lot. Many festivals and community celebrations are held here. - Natasha Lawrence
After a successful attack on the USS Housatonic, a Confederate enemy ship, on the night of February 17, 1864, this US submarine mysteriously disappeared four miles off Charleston Harbor along with her eight crewmen. The HL Hunley Submarine was discovered over 135 years later with the help of modern technology. It has since been raised and is in the process of conservation in a 90,000-gallon tank at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center on the grounds of the former US Navy Base. The crew was ceremoniously buried at Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery. Visitors can view the actual submarine, artifacts and documentaries. There is a small gift shop.
This 1700's rice plantation that was once 5500 acres offers one of the best insights into the life of enslaved Africans who utilized their homeland skills in an agricultural industry that made Charleston one of the richest cities in colonial America. Now a 654-acre historical, cultural and natural museum, visitors have a unique opportunity to walk swamp trails and see natural wildlife just like plantation workers. An interpretive center introduces the visitor to the "Caw Caw Swamp", then guided tours into rice fields with interconnecting boardwalks and view archaeological digs of a plantation house burned by Sherman during the Civil War. Bird walks and canoeing trips on the sea marshes are two popular programs. Bring binoculars, bottled water, picnic lunch or snack and insect repellent. Rates vary for resident and non-resident. Call or check website. - Natasha Lawrence
You'd never expect to find a museum in a mall, but that's where you'll find The American Military Museum. Located in the Citadel Mall in West Ashley, they boast a huge collection of military gear from American conflicts dating all the way back to the Revolution. They have uniforms, headgear, weapons, flags, patches and more, from all branches of the military. Come see real pieces of American history!
Located in downtown Charleston, Alterman Studios Gallery was founded in 1980 and measures 6,000 square-feet, making it the largest photography complex. This complex has the Alterman Gallery, Jack Alterman's professional photography services, and the Charleston Center for Photography and Custom Services of Black & White, Copy, and Digital services. They also promote and teach the craft of photography and offer instruction for photographers at all levels of expertise. They also hold workshops on special topics like digital printing, wedding photography and studio lighting that helps add to a photographers skills.
The Karpeles library is the world's largest repository of original manuscripts and documents. David and Marsha Karpeles founded the institution in 1983 to encourage children to learn. It is one of nine branches nationwide. It is housed in a building dating back to 1791 and served as a Methodist church and a Confederate hospital. In addition to historical manuscripts, the museum in Charleston makes space available for school programs, art exhibits and community service. All library services are free.
Managed by The Medical University of South Carolina, Macaulay Museum of Dental History highlights the history of oral care. The collections featured at the museum were possessions of Dr. Neill Macaulay who donated it to the university in 1976. The exhibits on display include a dentist's apparatus as well as a replication of a dentist's office from the early 20th Century. Though the museum is located next to the The Waring Historical Library, it doesn't have a separate entrance and can only be accessed though the library.