New exhibit features historic photos of Charleston Museum, the country’s first museum


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The Charleston Museum presents a new exhibit of old photos in its Lowcountry Image Gallery, The Early Days: A Photographic History of America’s First Museum. Spoiler: the Charleston Museum is America’s first museum. Catch the exhibit now through May, 2018.

Founded in 1773, the Charleston Museum was overseen by a number of local organizations before moving into the newly built Thomson Auditorium on Rutledge Ave. in 1907. By the 1970s the building had fallen into disrepair; under the directorship of Donald Herold, the collections were moved to 360 Meeting St., where the museum is currently located.


The Meeting Street location opened to the public in 1980. In October of 1981 a fire destroyed the old Thomson Auditorium, leaving only the portico with its four columns.

The exhibit features images of the Museum’s time in Randolph Hall at CofC, the old museum on Rutledge Avenue, and images of the Museum’s current location. 

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