My walking tour guests often ask me about fun things to do in Charleston and I always recommend one of my absolute favorites – a visit to the Gibbes museum of art. It doesn’t matter what time of the year, it never disappoints. It’s just the perfect respite after a two-hour stroll around the Historic District, especially after my Famous & Infamous Ladies of Charleston tour which happens to include four quite varied female artists whose remarkable talents are on display there in the permanent collection. After viewing the featured artists’ former houses, studios, resting place, etc., it’s exciting to follow up and view their artistry firsthand in one of the prettiest buildings in town.
Situated in the heart of the city, this lovely Beaux Arts building designed by architect Frank Pierce Milburn in 1905 was the intention to house and showcase works of art in Charleston. James Shoolbred Gibbes (1819 – 1888), generously bequested $120,000 upon his death in 1888 (which today would be the equivalent to about 3.1 million dollars), and the donation went to the Carolina Arts Association.
Today, the museum houses over 10,000 works of fine art, mostly American, with a connection to Charleston. One of my favorite places to escape the hustle and bustle is the gorgeous Lenhardt Garden in back of the building. Grab a delicious iced latte from The Daily, the charming cafe on the first floor, and enjoy the twitter of cardinals dancing overhead.
It’s undergone an extensive (and expensive) renovation, so do pop in and take a look. The first floor is free to the public. And, definitely will be a memorable experience.
For more information, please visit their website for ticket information and days/times of operation: