Historic Charleston Foundation fulfills its educational mission through the interpretation of its collections and two house museums, the Nathaniel Russell House (c. 1808) and the Aiken-Rhett House (c. 1820). These historic properties serve as the ideal exhibition space for the Foundation’s outstanding collection of fine and decorative art.
Nathaniel Russell House Museum
51 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Hours: Monday- Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, 2-5pm (last tour, 4:30)
For two centuries, visitors have admired the grand Federal-style townhouse of prominent Charleston merchant Nathaniel Russell. Completed in 1808, the Nathaniel Russell House Museum, 51 Meeting Street, features an elegant free-flying staircase, unique geometric plan, and refined architectural elements. This National Historic Landmark has long been considered among Charleston’s finest buildings and one of America’s most significant neoclassical residences. Historic Charleston Foundation has meticulously restored the Russell House to its 1808 appearance, and the house serves as an ideal exhibition space for the Foundation’s outstanding collection of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century decorative and fine arts.
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Aiken-Rhett House Museum
48 Elizabeth Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Hours: Monday- Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, 2-5pm (last tour, 4:15)
The Aiken-Rhett House Museum, 48 Elizabeth Street, allows modern-day visitors to experience life in antebellum Charleston. The property is a remarkable record of the activities of Charleston’s elite as well as the enslaved African Americans who lived and worked at this site. Much of the original nineteenth century material, including wallpapers, painted surfaces, and furnishings, still survive in this dwelling. Although Aiken family members continued to reside in the house until the 1970s, there were minimal twentieth- century alterations. The Foundation has elected to conserve, rather than restore, the rich interior finishes, and so the Aiken-Rhett House remains much as it was during the nineteenth-century.
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