October 1, 2023

Checking Out the History in and Around Columbia, SC


History is something that South Carolina is drenched in, filling every city block and riverbed with thousands of years of incredible information.  Thankfully, Columbia is full to the brim with museums of art and history and even buildings that have stood for hundreds of years.

If you’re interested in learning more, make these stops!

Columbia Fire Museum

Columbia is a city that’s been shaped by the first it dealt with, and this museum celebrates the incredible history of South Carolina’s largest fire department!  Located downtown, you can explore the old engines, get to know how fires were once handled, and get acquainted with the heroes who saved lives even a hundred years ago.  Although a lot has changed since the first firefighters in this state, one thing hasn’t: they save lives! 

Columbia Museum of Art

Art is part of what makes life so interesting, and the Columbia Museum of Art is at home in downtown Columbia, near the Capitol building.  Here you can see art that stays up year-round, as well as rotating exhibits that swap out to ensure everyone has something new to see each time they visit the grounds.

Thematically organizing the museum means you can explore entire swaths of history or ideas and understand the people who lived them a little better. 

Harriet Barber House

Although you won’t see it if you’re looking for Columbia houses for sale, this is one of the most important properties in the city!   Once the home of a freedman who was able to start life fresh as his own man, this property is now a museum that discusses what the freedmen and freedwomen had to go through before and after and how life wasn’t suddenly perfect just because they were free.

This is an incredibly moving museum and a must-stop destination if you love history or simply want to understand Columbia on another level. 

Cayce Historical Museum

If you want a step back into the early 1700s, you can walk through this amazing museum that feels like a time machine.  Letting guests touch and interact with actual historical items, ranging from lifestyle to agricultural goods and more, make it so you can get a real understanding of what life might have been like for those who lived here.

This museum also talks about the indigenous people who have lived on this land for thousands of years and what their lives were like all those years ago versus what they’re like now.

Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens

If you want to see one of the oldest historic houses and how beautiful a property here can really be, it’s a good idea to stop at the Hampton-Preston Mansion.  This massive estate has an extensive garden with its own ponds and has lived many different lives.  Visiting here will leave you feeling inspired and in awe at how large it is.

Columbia is An Incredibly Historic Area

Whether you’re from Columbia and you want to learn more, or you’re new to town, and you’re interested in getting to know it, these museums and stops will fill you in.  There’s no city quite like this one.

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