Two hands in blue latex glove hold a whale tooth carved with a bird and images of ships and the sea

Cultural History

Featuring more the 65,000 objects, the cultural history collection includes pottery dating back thousands of years to modern-day household items, clothing, and more.

Bringing South Carolina Stories to Life

The cultural history collection at the South Carolina State Museum includes more than 65,000 objects that bring the diverse stories of South Carolina to life.

These artifacts represent the state’s rich past dating back 14,000 years to early Native American cultures through colonial settlement, the American Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the African-American experience and more all the way into the 20th century. The collection features a wide range of objects from large pieces of furniture to weaponry, quilts and other textiles, toys, pottery, and more.

(JoAnn Zeise. Curator of Cultural History) “Here we have some of the beautiful Repose in our silver collection so Repose is when you take the silver or metal and you kind of bang it from the inside to get the design on the outside and here you see this beautiful very popular design, just like China has patterned, silver has patterns and we have a lot of this is really popular during the Victorian period. We'll put that one back and I'll get you an example from a really popular company this was Kirk and Company from Baltimore really well known for their work still around in some form today beautiful flower design on this one and other companies did this as well including one you may have heard of you may not realize they did silver this one's actually from Tiffany and Company and inside of it it has a beautiful gold wash so a beautiful piece so you can see how the this it was shaped from the inside to make the pattern on the outside and that's what the Repose is it's a French word for like to work out or to push out.”

A man and woman bend down towards a table to examine a large, old leather bound book

Collection Spotlight: William Turpin Bible (1815)

Take a closer look at this recently acquired object in the museum's collection: a Bible owned by William Turpin, a Charleston merchant and enslaver turned abolitionist.

Discover More About the Turpin Bible

NEW! Search the Collection Online

Explore more than 20,000 objects from the museum cultural history collection online.

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