South Carolina State Museum

Located in Columbia, South Carolina, the South Carolina State Museum is known for their extensive display of permanent and special attractions. Of their permanent and special attractions, the South Carolina State Museum is especially famous for their 4D theater, which is also interactive, and their digital planetarium. South Carolina State Museum



The South Carolina State Museum was founded on October 28, 1988, with the intent to preserve, promote, and educate people about science, art, natural history, and cultural history. One of the most historic features of the South Carolina State Museum is the building it’s housed in. The Museum is located within the Columbia Mills Building, which is officially recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. The Columbia Mills Building is known as the world’s first textile mill that was completely electric. Building on its recognition, the Building was also General Electric’s first large-scaled industrial facility.

Although majority of the Columbia Mills Building has been renovated to adequately house the South Carolina State Museum and keep the foundation of the building in great condition, some areas in the Museum still have the Building’s original flooring. Photo: South Carolina State Museum

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»Permanent Attractions

Permanent Attractions

The South Carolina State Museum has over 70,000 objects and documents within their permanent collection. Although only a select number of objects from the Museum’s permanent collection are showcased at any given time, the Museum has a display of iconic objects from their collection that is displayed at the front of the main lobby.

South Carolina Art showcases how art has contributed to South Carolina’s cultural and historical significance. A wide variety of artists and mediums are showcased in the Museum’s collection, from decorative arts to traditional portraits, and even recent modern art.

History is the Museum’s largest concentration, and tells the story of South Carolina’s history.

Natural History captures the biology, geology, and paleontology history within South Carolina. Some of the artifacts within this collection date back to over 500 million years ago.

Science and Technology features a diverse collection of tools, media innovations, and transportation. Each display showcases how the technological and scientific industries have been important in South Carolina’s history.

Boeing Observatory is a 2,500 square foot facility built with a historical 1926 Alvan Clark telescope and a designated area for outdoor viewing.

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Planetarium is a 55 foot dome that allows visitors to explore a variety of entertaining and educational programs from one of the 145 available seats.

Rev. Dr. Solomon Jackson, Jr. 4D Interactive Theater allows visitors to experience a 3D educational and entertaining film, with the added dimension of physical experiences. Within the theater, guests can expect to feel vibrations, different weather and environmental conditions, and smell different scents. Photo: South Carolina State Museum

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»Special Attractions

Special Attractions

In addition to their extensive display of permanent attractions, the South Carolina State Museum allows displays a wide variety of special attractions throughout the year. Check out the Museum’s official website to obtain an updated list of special attractions.

Savage Ancient Seas transports visitors to an era when marine life was comprised of a variety of carnivorous reptiles and dinosaurs roamed around. With over 50 marine fossils that date back to approximately 80 million years ago, Savage Ancient Seas will give you a perspective of what life was like back then.

South Carolina and the Great War gives visitors an in-depth experience of what life was like in South Carolina during World War I, and how World War I had a large impact on the state.

ART: A Collection of Collections showcases a small collection of art from artists that are based within South Carolina. Each of the objects displayed within this attraction are truly one of a kind and have been rarely displayed, yet alone seen.

App4That allows visitors to explore how smartphones and apps have changed almost every aspect of society.

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»Educational Opportunities

Educational Opportunities

There is a wide variety of educational opportunities available at the South Carolina State Museum. Most of the Museum’s educational programs are completely free. Schools and general visitors are encouraged to participate in one of the Museum’s specialized guided tours. These guided tours allow visitors to get the most out of their visit to the Museum.

Another popular educational opportunity is the Museum’s overnight stay program. The overnight stay program is available for Boy and Girl Scouts. During the overnight stay, participants have the opportunity to explore the Museum, interact with accomplished special guests, observe space through the 1926 Alvan Clark telescope, enjoy an interactive experience in the 4D theater, and participate in many more activities.

For more information about any of the educational opportunities at the South Carolina State Museum, visit the Museum’s official website, or contact them during their hours of operation.

Back to: South Carolina Address: 301 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC 29201, Phone: 803-898-4921 Photo: South Carolina State Museum

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South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, SC