South Carolina State Museum

South Carolina State Museum

301 Gervais Street
Columbia SC 29201
803-898-4921

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The South Carolina State Museum has four floors of permanent and changing exhibits, a digital dome planetarium, 4D interactive theater and an observatory. The State Museum, is located along the banks of the Congaree River in downtown Columbia, South Carolina.

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Reviews
  • Jun 04, 2020 by lindsey nelson

    I love the museum and all of the special exhibits. a little nervous that they are opening so soon

  • Jun 01, 2020 by Brian

    I was definitely impressed it was much more than I expected this is a beautiful Museum and has so much to see and appreciate and enjoy. Lots to read and lots to learn if you desire knowledge it's available for you here

  • Mar 10, 2020 by Malissa St. Vincent

    The Holmes exhibit was fun! I'm a huge fan of interactive exhibits. It was my bad luck that a couple high school classes were there at the same time, but still enjoyable.

  • Mar 04, 2020 by Heralen Maldonado

    First time in this museum, so much to learn from here

  • Feb 26, 2020 by Whitney Gibson

    So this was my first time at this museum ever. I truly enjoyed myself and the exhibits. I got to see one of the planetarium shows as well and that was definitely fun to do. We were there for 2 or 3 hours and still didn't see everything. I look forward to the next time we visit though.

  • Jan 29, 2020 by WILLIAM E. LEGARE

    Saw 4D Sherlock Holmes cartoon movie. 3D and additional 4D effects were GREAT.
    Being a Member has many Benefits. Plenty of parking. Fully HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE, elevators make it very easy to navigate the 4 floors.

  • Jan 22, 2020 by Amanda Boyce

    Fun, interactive, and enjoyable for all ages. The staff are available, friendly, and willing to help when needed. Price is great, and the museum is absolutely full of fun, interactive, and interesting exhibits for all ages. We love the state museum!

  • Jan 19, 2020 by Jereme Hardy

    We came for the NASA exhibit, but we're really surprised at how great the other exhibits were. We saw two shows, one at the 4D theater and one in the planetarium. Both were great and the kids loved them.

    The museum features four stories of various themed exhibits, including the NASA and Apollo exhibit, fossils and dinosaurs, and South Carolina history. There was also a Sherlock Holmes feature, but we did not explore that because our children didn't seem interested. I was surprised at the amount of things to explore and we spent a good amount of the day here, which is more than I can say for the EdVenture museum across the parking lot.

  • Jan 19, 2020 by Mia Brown Smith

    Very clean and organized. I loved that they had several elevators for our stroller and for handicapped folks. The staff was very friendly and the exhibits were fascinating. The thing I liked most was there was a family room on the bottom floor that was available for nursing moms.

  • Dec 29, 2019 by Mary C.

    This was a confusing museum for me. It was a little bit of everything--history, art, and science. I think I'm just used to seeing these topics in separate museums but this was all related to South Carolina. It killed about two hours and I can't say that there was anything memorable here. But it was good to learn more about South Carolina and it's history!

  • Dec 28, 2019 by Megan Steele

    Fun way to pass an afternoon. We enjoyed the planetarium showing and examining the third floor's science and technology exhibits. Any fan of astronomy will enjoy the special exhibit of telescopes through the ages.

  • Nov 28, 2019 by Louise S.

    Was visiting the son and decide to spend some time here. Large museum with different sections. Loved the shark exhibit. Was able to see a planetarium movie on the star of Bethlehem. Also saw a 3D movie on the Polar Express. Good upfront parking. Nice store. Worth the trip. Nice, Nice employees.

  • Nov 23, 2019 by Robert U.

    Went to this museum last month and was very impressed at the sheer breadth of material this institution has on display. From prehistoric animals that roamed the area millions of years ago to the early stages of the state's history, it literally has it all. The State's shameful history of slavery is on full unflinching display here. There are two versions of Eli Whitney's cotton gin, copies of the state's declaration of secession and the contributions of native Americans here as well. The astronomy exhibit is is incredibly extensive as well. It has an observatory with a very polite employee who was more than happy to to show us the observatory and explain how it observed our Sun on a daily basis. You really have to see it to believe it.

  • Nov 06, 2019 by Greg Moore

    Excellent museum! Wish I had more time they were closing before I finished. Of course I didn't get there early enough.
    If you go take note of the construction model of the floors in the museum. It used to be a cotton mill and that is one solid structure. Love it!

  • Aug 04, 2019 by Crystal R.

    I've been here soooo many times and never get bored the first Sunday of the month is $1 can't beat a bargain there's always something new if you go every few months . It's great

  • May 18, 2019 by Willie D.

    I came here for a event called A Taste of Black Columbia which showcase many black owed businesses in the Columbia,S.C. area and was sponsored by many companies including Jack Daniels,Pepsi and Mc Daniels automotive group. The food ranged from good down home cooking to upscale dishes like quail wrapped in bacon. A VIP package was sold for $300.00(wow !) which included front row seating for the show that night. Dress was from casual neat to gowns & suits and beyond(some dressed like they were going to the Oscars LOL) which everyone looked great overall. Mac & cheese,collared greens, baked salmon,pulled pork and many types of deserts .Jack Daniels was the drink of the night and they even had Honey flavored their also, which is my favorite. The last hour we had Grammy nominated R &B singer Ledisi perform and as always she did a great show(you see i'm a fan!). parking was not that bad but me I took a Uber and a Lyft back and forth to the event which I had a "few" drinks and wanted to be safe.I'm truly hoping to come back next year as this was the 9th year for it. Checkout my Pics and see for yourself

  • Apr 26, 2019 by Rob D.

    Paid $6 for access to the military /Confederate museum room Well worth the price of admission. Nice exhibits and helpful staff. Restrooms are absolutely disgusting though so use those at your own risk

  • Apr 09, 2019 by Danielle P.

    This is one of the museums that I visited 6yrs ago when I moved to SC. We visited all the history, govt bldgs., parks, art, libraries, farms and museums on the weekends for a few mths, great way to get yourself familiar to a community. Most of them have coupons for all or free for military. SC museum is about the state of SC's history strong emphasis on war, industry, dinosaurs, ocean animals, and agriculture. Adults and children need to learn your history since we don't get the full truth in school. Great way to spend a Saturday in the COLA. The museum is a pretty good size bldg. lots of parking, clean, bathrooms are well kept. Great displays giving all the details of events in history. Don't forget the Cotton Exchange for a little shopping or books. Your kids will love this outing! They offer programs thru out the yr.

  • Jan 19, 2019 by Noemi T.

    It is a nice museum. Would be better of all the exhibits worked. Most halfway worked.

  • Oct 18, 2018 by Shannon D.

    I have two reviews for the museum. One is for the actual museum and he second is for he Oz event. I have been when there isn't an event and for Oz. The museum has plenty of parking and offer a military discount. There is also a cafe. The museum is clean and mostly well maintained. A few displays had broken buttons but for the most part everything is intact. The displays are interesting and cover local history, dinosaurs, ocean animals, wars, etc. On average we spend 2-3 hours here. The Cotton Mill Exchange store is awesome! From SC gifts to books to clothing. I'm sure you'll find something to as a memento. Now for Oz- Well, I have two opinions on it. If you don't frequently visit the museum, then yes stop by. If you're strictly going for the Oz, it may be worth passing over this year. We had a blast because 1. My sister is a diehard Oz fan. Borderline problematic; in a good way.  2. We just moved back home so everything is exciting to my boys. 3. My sis said it wasn't comparable to other years (no outside vendors, no music, no beer) 4. The 4d show was awesome. That part was worth it to me.  But we also played in the museum for 2.5 hours after we did the Oz part.  The crafts were well thought out (collage, witches brew - slime, experiment to make witch disappear, make poppies) All in all we had a great time in just not sure the Oz event was five stars this year.

  • Jul 25, 2018 by Marlana M.

    Easy to navigate. Caters to all ages. We are a homeschooling family and love this museum. Kids love the planetarium. Haven't eaten in any of the eateries yet. But staff is always kind and smiling.

  • May 31, 2018 by Florence Y.

    A wonderful museum with lots of interesting hands-on activities. We spent about 90 minutes there. Pricing is very affordable and there's discount for military/veterans.

  • Apr 23, 2018 by Thomasina R.

    Loved it.  A lot going on, check out the website.  Exhibits are very informative, and entertaining.  Did not get a chance to visit planetarium or movie theater.  Arrived too late in afternoon for that.  Would make better plans next time

  • Mar 01, 2018 by Rachel S.

    I take my 80 third graders to the museum every year and we LOVE IT. This is the least stressful field trip for us as teachers because the staff is wonderful. They are there to greet us on the curb, they interact with the children and are great teachers! This year we visited the planetarium which was a huge hit for adults and kids alike, and the Matter Matters workshop, where they taught the kids all about matter in an engaging way, finishing with giving us marshmallows frozen in liquid nitrogen! As always the kids love exploring the museum, from the giant shark to the old timey school house and the mind bending optical illusions. My only complaint is not enough time to spend here!

  • Jan 10, 2018 by Shydeia C.

    I've loved attending the South Carolina State Museum! Several events associated with USC and the African American Studies department have been phenomenal and I look forward to future events! I would love to see them getting more involved with high school and college students. It feels like a gap between children and adults.

  • Oct 26, 2017 by Marqus R.

    South Carolina State Museum is, as a state museum all about the state of South Carolina, with the possible exception of the planetarium. There is a strong emphasis on South Carolina agriculture, early industry, and wars. On the war count it seems that South Carolina has been involved in all of them and there is a separate Confederate Relic Room dedicated almost exclusively to matters involving the Civil War. It's a beautiful building with everything about it appear new, bright, well planned and done right. I usually fall in love with museums but for whatever reason I couldn't get excited about things here. However, though I can't say I'm a fan, it does rate Four Stars.

  • Oct 18, 2017 by Elena M.

    While visiting Columbia, I mistakenly came here because I thought it was the Children's Museum, and I'm glad I did! The staff was very sweet, including at the cafe. I didn't realize how much I could still learn about the history of South Carolina and the South in general, so I was very pleased with this great learning tool. My toddler LOVED the train set diorama and the life size houses. The giant shark and the interactive Wizard of Oz exhibits were awesome, and "the Yellow brick road" photo op at the Oz gift shop was a nice touch. The main gift shop was one of the best of its kind - I got Civil War coloring books and South Carolina crayons for my daughter to keep busy while at the hotel, and I couldn't tell you who enjoyed them more.

  • Sep 16, 2017 by Sherry C.

    Columbia is so lucky to have such a great museum. We love it!  It's really a great place to spend an afternoon. Fun place for all ages. And I love the exhibits that are brought in. We've been fortunate to see some really great exhibits in our town. This museum really covers a lot of history....mainly SC history. The Planetarium is amazing!!! Such a great addition. And it was wonderful having it during the eclipse to really give us a good idea what to expect on the day of the eclipse. And a special thanks to Bob Aerial for the amazing telescopes!  I can't imagine him having so many beautiful telescopes.  Thanks Bob for your generous donation!  On Tuesday nights you can go see some really cool planets and other sires. Check Facebook to see what's going on. If you haven't been.... you're missing something!

  • Jun 06, 2017 by Elizabeth P.

    I attended the wonderful free family oriented Story Fest SC event last Saturday, along with my daughter and her family. What a great day! Encouraging literacy and education, exploring history and science. Kuddos to the museum, staff and volunteers! This was my first time visiting this fine regional museum. I hope that we will be able to go back at other times during our visits to SC.