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Gibbes Museum of Art

Most people know Charleston as a historically significant city. Between its role in the American Revolution and the American Civil War, Charleston has tons of history to explore. However, what many people don’t realize is the amount of artistic expression that the history of the city has inspired. Visit the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC to see the works and collections inspired by that are unique to Charleston.

History of the Gibbes Museum Charleston

The Gibbes Museum of Art was originally established in 1858 as the Carolina Art Association. The namesake of the museum, James Shoolbred Gibbes, generously donated $100,000 to the Carolina Art Association upon his death in 1899. The donation was contested in court for several years by his surviving family, but in 1903 the money was finally cleared for use. The Carolina Art Association built a new Beaux-Arts style building in 1905 and was renamed the Gibbes Art Gallery, eventually changing the name to the Gibbes Museum of Art. The museum underwent an extensive, two-year renovation and reopened on May 26, 2016, featuring a new creative education center and 30 percent more gallery space.

About the Gibbes Museum of Art

The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC is devoted to art that tells the story of Charleston, and connects the current contemporary art scene to the city’s artistic past. Their permanent collection features over 10,000 works of art, dominated by works from American artists that show the evolution of Charleston specifically or the American South as a whole. Works include painting, sculptures, works on paper, decorative art objects and multi-media installations. However, the Gibbes Museum of Art is most known for its stunning collection of miniature portraits, an early American phenomenon that began in Charleston. These tiny portraits were used to commemorate special events and were painted on delicate ivory pieces. With over 600 of these portraits in their collection, these portraits give incredible insight into everyday early American life and truly should not be missed!

Plan Your Visit

The museum is open six days a week, closed on Mondays, from 10am to 5pm most days. The museum offers extended hours on Wednesdays until 8pm, and shorter hours on Sundays, from 1pm to 5pm. The first floor of the Gibbes Museum of Art is open to the public free of charge! This space is filled with activities for the whole family. Admission to the second and third floor galleries is $15 for adults, $6 for children ages 4-17 and free for children 3 and younger. There are discounts available for seniors, college students, and military.

Spend a day with the beautiful art of Charleston at the Gibbes Museum of Art!