Past Exhibits

2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 200620052004200320022001 | earlier
Secrets of the Maya (Oct. 13, 2012 - June 9, 2013)
For Us the Living: the Civil War Art of Mort Kunstler (Oct. 5, 2012 - April 7, 2013)
The Life and Times of Congressman Robert Smalls (July 7, 2012 - March 15, 2013)
Between the Springmaid Sheets (April 26 - Sept. 8, 2013)
The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases From a State Hospital Attic (Sept. 1 - Oct. 14)
Bull Street: Life Behind the Wall (Sept. 1 - Oct. 14)
Titanic: the Artifact Exhibition (May-Sept. 16)
Abstract Art in South Carolina (Feb. 24 - Sept. 30)
Tangible History (closed Sept. 3)
Animal Grossology (Feb. 5 - Sept. 5)
South Carolina Carolina Silver (April 2011)
Uncommon Folk (Feb. 26 - Jan. 15, 2012)
A Historic Campaign (March 11 - June 5)
The Great Charleston Earthquake (Oct. 8 - April 29, 2012)
BODY WORLDS Vital (Nov. 13 - April 15, 2012)
The Centennial History of the Boy Scouts of America (Jan. 29 - June 20)
Pirates, Privateers, and Buccaneers (March 20 - Sept. 19)
Palmetto Portraits (April 23 - Jan. 9, 2011)

Powers of Nature (Jan. 31 - Sept. 7, 2009)

Robert Courtright: Collages, Collage Construction, and Masks, 1953-2008 (Feb. 20 - Aug. 23, 2009) 

Our National Treasure: The American Red Cross (March 14 - June 28, 2009)

Deadly Medicine (Aug. 8 - Feb. 14, 2010)

Art from "The Lonely Shadow" (Aug. 29 2009 - March 2010)

From the Pee Dee to the Savannah (Sept. 26 - March 21, 2010)
Dinosaurs: Mesozoic Monsters (Oct. 17 - Feb. 28, 2010)


Hollywood Comes to South Carolina: A Century of Filmmaking in the Palmetto State
(Jan. 12 - Oct. 29)

Tet: Military Victory, Political Defeat (Jan. 31 - Jan. 25, 2009)
Finding Priscilla's Children (Feb. 15 - May 11)

20th Anniversary Juried Art Exhibition (April 25 - Sept. 7)

Catch of the Day (May 16 - Jan. 18, 2009)
Wilson 150 (May 30 - Sept. 28)
The SC State Museum: 20 Years of Treasures (June 27 - April 28, 2009)
Mud, Sweat and Cheers: Football in the Palmetto State 1889-2000 (Aug. 1 - Feb. 8, 2009)
Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion (Sept. 27 - Jan. 18, 2009)


Aliens: Worlds of Possibilities (Feb. 9 - Sept. 3)
Exploring planetary conditions in the forms of robotic aliens, alien landscapes, a “genuine” fake alien, and 20 interactive stations.  Explore the characteristics of the solar system, learn how scientists study planetary life and discover the possibilities of life beyond Earth.

Edmund Yaghjian: A Retrospective (May 16 - Sept. 16) 
More than 100 paintings and sketches by Edmund Yaghjian, one of the most important South Carolina artists of the 20th century.
Seeds of Change: South Carolina in the Great War (May 18 - June 29, 2008)
An examination of how ow South Carolina contributed to the war effort and how the war changed the Palmetto State, bringing it fully into the 20th century after its virtual isolation in the decades following the Civil War.
Earth & Space (June 15 - May 13, 2008)
Featuring spectacular images of space recorded with a variety of technologies from the Hubble Space Telescope to observatory scopes, from the international space station to shots from the space shuttle windows, in addition to historic telescopes, hands-on computer stations and more.

The Mark B. Coplan Collection of Art (Oct. 12 - March 23, 2008)
The compilation of 110 pieces, gathered over about 20 years by noted art enthusiast Mark Coplan and acquired by the museum in 2006, includes pottery, paintings, wood carvings, drawings, photography, printmaking, sculpture and more by artists such as Leo Twiggs, Corrie McCallum, Ed Lewandowski, Carl Blair, Preston Orr, Cecil Williams, Beverly Buchanan, Mike Williams, Robert Courtright and others.

The Purse and the Person (Oct 21. - Dec. 31)
Purses, whether leather, plastic or metal, and no matter what size or shape, illustrate the 20th century’s changing fashions, culture and economics through items that most women cannot do without.




Monster Trucks: The Science of Extreme Machines (Jan. 28 - May 7)
Exploring the science and thrills behind monster trucks, featuring two real monster trucks, an interactive drive train, suspension system demonstrations, and hands-on activities.

Myths and Metaphors: The Art of Leo Twiggs (Feb. 3 - April 9)
This exhibit features unique batik paintings of Southern and African-American heritage by artist Leo Twiggs, one of the most important artists working in South Carolina today. 

Brimming Tides: Paintings and Drawings by Brian Rutenberg (March 17 - Sept. 4)
Currently maintaining a studio in New York City, nationally-known painter and South Carolina native Brian Rutenberg exhibits his abstract paintings inspired by the Lowcountry.

A Common Thread: The Artistry and Craftsmanship of Textiles from Around the World (May 19 - Sept. 17)
This unique collection, which has never been exhibited outside of RBC Liberty corporate headquarters, showcases textiles ranging from early pre-Columbian pieces from Peru and Mexico to modern examples from Iran, Turkey, Indonesia and China.

Napoleon: An Intimate Portrait (June 1 - Jan. 1, 2007)
This major exhibition includes more than 250 period artifacts, many of which were the French emperor’s personal items, including his famous hat, clothing, portraits, furniture, maps and many others. 

Carolina Natural (Sept. 8 - Sept. 8, 2007)
A large portion of this exhibit features never-before-seen specimens from the State Museum's natural history collection.

Treasures by the 100s (Oct. 6 - Feb. 7, 2007)
A variety of artifacts from the museum collection relating to the number 100 that, with a few exceptions, have never been on exhibit before.
Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe (Nov. - Feb. 18 2008)
The 2500 square-foot exhibit, from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, features striking images taken by the space telescope, which orbits the Earth 370 miles above the planet’s surface.

Visions of Victory (Dec. 15 - May 15, 2007)
This exhibit displays 147 images of memorable moments in sports history and portrays athletes such as Arthur Ashe, Nadia Comaneci, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Babe Ruth and more.



Prehistoric Predators:  Dinosaurs Unleashed! (Jan. 28 - July 17)
This exhibit features life-size skeletons, robotic creatures, videos, hands-on activities and numerous dinosaurs, such as the Giganotosaurus, the largest carnivore ever found. 

Panorama:  Paintings and Prints by Corrie McCallum and William Halsey (March 26 - July 4)
Paintings and prints by Charleston artists William Halsey and Corrie McCallum display the important work of this husband and wife team. 

A Look Inside:  Decorative Arts of Charleston’s City Hall (July 8 - Sept. 10, 2006)
Featuring art treasures from Charleston City Hall, this exhibit includes furniture, Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard’s sword, currency printing plates and portraits of prominent South Carolinians such as President Andrew Jackson and civil rights leader Septima Clark.
Southern Shadows:  75 Years of Rice Family Silhouettes (July 15 - Jan. 8, 2006)
Marking the 75th anniversary of Rice family silhouette art, this exhibit features silhouettes from Lowcountry artists Carew Rice and Clay Rice. 
Norman Rockwell’s America (July 29 - Jan. 29, 2006)
This 7,600-square-foot exhibit features 323 Saturday Evening Post covers, drawings, paintings by America’s most beloved artist, Norman Rockwell.
Camera Man’s Journey:  Julian Dimock’s South (Sept. 2 - Aug. 6, 2006)
Taken between 1904 and 1905, these sepia-tone photographs reflect life for many African-Americans in Columbia, Beaufort and Hilton Head at the turn of the twentieth century.
The Art and Craft of South Carolina Knifemakers (Nov. 18 - Sept. 10, 2006)
The exhibit demonstrates the artistry and craftsmanship of knives produced by South Carolina knife makers.  On display are blades from the 19th century and knives from different regions in the state.


Titanic Science (Jan. 31 – May 2)
This exhibit examines the science behind the sinking and the recent exploration of the 46,000-ton luxury liner that struck an iceberg in 1912. Hands-on activities and 15 artifacts from the wreckage are featured.
A More Convenient Season:  The Civil Rights Movement in South Carolina (May 4 - May 29, 2005)
Marking the 50th anniversary of Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kan., the U.S. Supreme Court decision that abolished the doctrine of “separate but equal,” this exhibit examines how the civil rights movement affected the state.
Convergence (May 21 - July 11)
Featuring a variety of media, this exhibit includes the work of artists Virginia Scotchie, Von Allen, Virginia Derryberry, Reni Gower, and Alison Helm. 
Inside Africa (May 29 - Jan. 2, 2005)
This exhibit includes artifacts, recreated environments, animal dioramas, and videos reflecting the diversity of life in Africa.  It contributes to a deeper understanding of Earth’s second largest continent and its people.

Operation Overlord:  Breaking Through the Atlantic Wall, D-Day, 6 June 1944 (June 5 - June 5, 2005)
Commemorating the 60th anniversary of D-Day, this exhibit looks at the Allied invasion of Nazi-controlled Europe and the role South Carolinians played in it.

Thresholds (July 20 - Oct. 17)
This exhibit of religious and spiritual art reflects the variety of religious traditions in the South.  South Carolina artists include Jean Grosser, Peter Lenzo, and Leo Twiggs.
Triennial 2004 (Nov. 19 - Feb. 27, 2005)
This exhibit featuring 29 South Carolina artists showcases art created in the state specifically from the past three years.
Tutankhamun:  Wonderful Things from the Pharaoh’s Tomb (Jan. 24 - Jan. 4, 2004)
This dazzling exhibit includes 126 replicas of objects from the tomb of Egypt’s boy king. The exhibit explores the pharaoh’s African heritage, the magic of sacred objects and the curse of King Tut.
At the Threshold of the Homeland:  The Pivotal Campaigns for Iwo Jima and Okinawa Feb.19-June 22, 1945 (April 19 - Aug. 9)
With photos and artifacts, including weapons and ammunition, this exhibit tells the story of two crucial World War II battles.
Bluegrass in the Blood:  The Lucas Family of Sandy Run (May 3 - June 1)
Part of the museum’s celebration of International Bluegrass Month, it tells the story of a South Carolina family whose musical roots go back to the 1840s.
More than an Attic:  Treasures from the Palmetto State (July 3 - March 17, 2004)
This exhibit features art, scientific and historic artifacts and natural history specimens that the State Museum is preserving for the future. Most have never before been exhibited.
Traditions & New Inventions:  South Carolina Self-Taught Artists (Sept. 5 - Jan. 4, 2--4)
This exhibit explores the very creative work of the state’s self-taught artists. Included are paintings, drawings, woodcarvings, whirligigs and a quilt.
Jugware:  Johnson Family Stoneware from Laurens County (Sep. 26 - April 4, 2004)
The exhibit features the sort of beautiful, utilitarian pottery that was such an important part of South Carolina life until about the 1930s.
Bottles for Ben Tillman’s “Baby”:  The South Carolina Dispensary 1893-1907 ( - Jan. 4, 2004)
These highly collectible bottles are from the state’s attempt to establish a monopoly on the production, sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages.
Home Blown: Beverage Bottles of Laurens Glass Works, 1910-1996 ( - Jan. 4, 2004) The exhibit looks at the history of one of the most significant glass manufacturers in the Southeast.
A Century of Service:  Strom Thurmond, 1902-2002
Kinetosaurs:  Dinos You Bring to Life!
Southeastern College Art Conference:  4th Annual Members Exhibit
The Legacy of Marie Curie:  100 Years of Science Innovation
Zoom! (Jan. 8 - Dec. 2)
Theme Park:  The Art and Science of Universal Studios Islands of Adventure (Jan. 26 - May 2)
Paperwork:  Gene Merritt Drawings from the Permanent Collection  (Feb. 16 - Aug. 18)
Piecing a Quilt of Life:  Contemporary Art Quilts by Senior Women (March 8 - June 3)
Concrete Knowledge:  Constructions and Carvings by L.C. Carson (April 20 - Aug. 18)
Expanding the Scope:  Art from the Permanent Collection  (July 27 - June 26)

Building a Better World:  Civil Engineering in South Carolina (Sept. 28 - March 30)

Guadalcanal:  U.S. Marines vs. Imperial Japan, Aug. 1942-Feb 1943 (Oct. 19 - March 2)
Dressed for the Occasion:  Making a Statement with Clothes
Give Me Space:  Toys, Tales and Trinkets of our Time
Triennial 2001 (April 28 - Aug. 1)
The Turning Point in the Pacific:  The Battle of Midway, 1942 (May 15 - July 15)
Backyard Monsters 2:  The World of Insects (Sept. 15 - Jan. 10)
The Difference in Dirt:  South Carolina Pottery and Ceramic Arts (Sept. 21 - Jan. 6)
Frankenstein’s Lab (Oct. 2 - Nov. 11)
SECAC Juried Art Exhibition (Oct. 19 - Nov. 11)