What’s Classic and What’s Coming in Charleston: History

Where to discover Charleston’s rich history

Kitty Robinson is the executive director of the Historic Charleston Foundation.

“I like to think of Charleston as America’s most historic city. The most prominent house museum is the grand, Federal-style Nathaniel Russell House, which is set on one of the largest lots in the historic district. Known for its free-flying curving staircase, it’s furnished with period pieces dating back to 1808. And the garden there is my favorite in town; we keep it planted year-round.

Each spring we have the month-long Festival of Houses and Gardens, when the public is invited to go inside the private residences and gardens that are hidden behind the brickwork. Tickets go on sale November 1.

About twenty-five minutes from downtown, Magnolia Plantation & Gardens has extensive gardens, with some parts dating back more than 300 years. There are many varieties of camellias and azaleas, flowers that were first planted when Charleston was founded as a port city.

We’re bringing history into the digital age at the Aiken-Rhett House. The former governor’s mansion has been called an urban plantation, with a main house and properties in the back where enslaved Africans would have lived. We are creating a 3-D rendering of how the drawing room would have appeared in the 1800s—complete with paint finishes, wallpaper, furniture, and curtains—which will be displayed on a touch-screen computer.”