Charleston’s Downtown History Museums Walk, Charleston (Self Guided)

Charleston is very famous for its large number of historic houses and history museums. Take the tour below to see some of the most famous and interesting history museums in Downtown Charleston. Take this walking tour and you will learn more about history of Charleston.
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Charleston’s Downtown History Museums Walk Map

Guide Name: Charleston’s Downtown History Museums Walk
Guide Location: USA » Charleston (See other walking tours in Charleston)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 km
Author: alice
Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon

1) Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon (must see)

Built from 1767–1771 by South Carolina's provincial government, the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, also known as the Custom House and Half-Moon Battery, and The Exchange, was used during the 18th century for a variety of civic functions, including as a custom house, public market, public meeting place, and jail. In 1790, the State Legislature met here to ratify the new State Constitution. The building was badly damaged by Union artillery fire during the Civil War and the great earthquake of 1886; it was repaired after each occasion.

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973, the building is owned by the South Carolina Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who operate guided costumed tours that include all three floors of the building. The Provost Dungeon once had animatronic figures that told stories of pirates and colonial days, but those have been supplanted by personal dungeon tours by docents.

Why You Should Visit:
If seeing a real dungeon is high on your to-do list, this is a must, as the guided dungeon tour is intriguing and the best part of the experience.
The history of the building and property is fascinating, nonetheless, and there are some fun activities on the main and second floors.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Old Slave Mart

2) Old Slave Mart (must see)

The Old Slave Mart is a building located at 6 Chalmers Street in Charleston, SC that once housed an antebellum slave auction gallery. Constructed in 1859, the building is believed to be the last extant slave auction facility in South Carolina. In 1975, the Old Slave Mart was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its role in Charleston's African-American history. Today, the building houses the Old Slave Mart Museum.

The Old Slave Mart was originally part of a slave market known as Ryan's Slave Mart, which covered a large enclosed lot between Chalmers and Queen streets. The market was established in 1856 by Charleston City Councilman Thomas Ryan after a citywide ban on public slave auctions made private facilities necessary. Slave auctions were held at the site until approximately 1863; in 1865, the Union Army occupied Charleston and closed Ryan's Mart. The Old Slave Mart Museum has operated on and off since 1938.

Why You Should Visit:
Highly informative museum, with extremely knowledgeable staff that's more than capable of responding to questions that the various exhibits will undoubtedly raise in your mind.
Exhibits are related to both the transcontinental slave trade and the domestic slave trade, with numerous large storyboards along with personal stories from slaves.

Consider buying a ticket here in conjunction with the Old Exchange, as you get a discount when purchasing multiple tickets.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 9am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Powder Magazine

3) Powder Magazine

The Powder Magazine is a gunpowder magazine and museum in Charleston, and the oldest surviving public building in the former Province of Carolina. It was erected in 1713 by colonial settlers as a place to safely store and centralize their gunpowder supplies. It was also involved in the 1780 siege of Charleston. The Powder Magazine was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989. It has operated as a museum since the early 1900s, although extensive renovations have since been conducted. The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America is the current operator of the museum, which includes historic artifacts and displays about the building during the Colonial and American Revolution periods. Each wall of the building boasts a large arch. The walls get thinner as they reach the top of the arch, changing from three feet thick, near the ground, to just a few inches thick near the top.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Jewish Heritage Collection

4) Jewish Heritage Collection

The Jewish Heritage Collection is a very interesting archives located in Special Collections at the College's Addlestone Library. It shows 300 years of Jewish life in the southern United States. The exhibitions were established in 1995 and have been enriched by documents, photographs, and other memorabilia relating to the Jews. The museum is taken care of by the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina.
Karpeles Manuscript Museum

5) Karpeles Manuscript Museum (must see)

Founded in 1983 by David and Marsha Karpeles, the Karpeles Manuscript Library is the world's largest private collection of original manuscripts and documents. To make the documents more accessible, there are several Karpeles museums across the US. Items are rotated between museums quarterly and each of the museums present a daily general exhibit and one or more special scheduled exhibits throughout the year. Each of the libraries is located in a historic building.

Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Charleston library is housed in a former Methodist church named St. James Chapel which was built in 1856. The building is in the Greek Revival style following the Corinthian order and was inspired by the Temple of Jupiter in Rome. The inside of the building is in considerably better repair than the outside and is a worthy home for the very interesting documents currently on exhibit.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 11am-4pm
Closed Mondays and Holidays
Sight description based on wikipedia
Daniel Library and Museum (Citadel Archives and Museum)

6) Daniel Library and Museum (Citadel Archives and Museum)

Citadel Archives and Museum is located on the grounds of the Military College of South Carolina and tells the history of the college since its foundation in 1842 till the present times. It has very interesting and exceptional exhibitions and memorabilia.

Walking Tours in Charleston, South Carolina

Create Your Own Walk in Charleston

Create Your Own Walk in Charleston

Creating your own self-guided walk in Charleston is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Charleston Children's Entertainment Tour

Charleston Children's Entertainment Tour

Charleston is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southern USA and it has many tourist attractions that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Take the tour below to discover some of the best locations for some fun with your children and the family!

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
Charleston Downtown Art Galleries Walk

Charleston Downtown Art Galleries Walk

Charleston is a very beautiful, southern city, with a rich history and very friendly people. It is also home to some amazing and interesting art galleries and museums. Take the following driving tour and discover Charleston's most appreciated art galleries.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Charleston is the oldest and the largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. Known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, distinguished restaurants, and mannerly people, Charleston is a popular tourist destination and has received a large number of accolades, including "America's Most Friendly City" and also "The most polite and hospitable city in...  view more

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 km
Charleston Art and Culture Walk

Charleston Art and Culture Walk

Charleston was founded in 1670 and is a great tourist destination that offers you some of the most amazing, old and interesting tourist attractions. There is some great art and culture to be visited and enjoyed. Take the following tour to see it all.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km
Charleston Downtown Churches Tour

Charleston Downtown Churches Tour

Charleston is also sometimes called the Holy City. That is because of the large number of churches in the city. The city has many outstanding and fascinating religious structures. Take the following walk to see the most popular churches in Downtown Charleston.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
Charleston Harleston Village Churches Tour

Charleston Harleston Village Churches Tour

Charleston is very famous for its number of churches, as well as for being very open and tolerating different kinds of religious faiths. Charleston is the only city in the USA to have an independent Huguenot church. Here is a tour that will take you through Charleston’s Harleston Village churches.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Charleston for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Charleston has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Charleston, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.