[Logo by John Silver]

James W. Turner- Director

About the Museum- Charleston

1-(843) 853-4651

Early History

The Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, is housed in a grand and bold Greek Revival structure of the Corinthian order after the Temple of Jupiter in Rome.
The history of the building dates back to 1791 when William Hammet and a group of Methodist dissenters decided to form their own Methodist congregation. The new congregation grew over the period of 65 years until 1856 when a larger sanctuary was needed. Property was purchased and the cornerstone was laid on June 24, 1856. The church was called St. James´┐Ż Chapel, "as he was the great Apostle of practical piety".
During the Civil War the Confederate forces in Charleston used the building as a medical storehouse and hospital until the Union Army attacked and Charleston was evacuated. The building was one of the first attacked in an effort to capture the water supply held in the large cisterns on the ground floor.

The Hurricane of 1989

On the night of September 21, 1989, Hurricane Hugo passed through Charleston leaving the building severely damaged. The roof was torn off and the interior was destroyed. After a major renovation, the building was again opened on November 11, 1990.

Mini-Museum Programs

The Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Charleston supports twelve special exhibits of documents and manuscripts in twelve elementary through high schools in South Carolina and North Carolina. Exhibits change several times each school year and are chosen to supplement school curricula and matters of topical interest.

School and Group Visit Programs

The Museum encourages visits by groups (schools, senior citizens, classes, etc.). Special arrangements can be made to accommodate the group traveling schedules. Bus parking is available.

School Lecture Program

The Museum Historian, in cooperation with the Charleston Historical Society, visits selected elementary through high schools giving lectures on special topics related to Museum documents and manuscripts.

Art Exhibits

The museum has wonderful space to exhibit artwork. Fine Art is continuously exhibited showing paintings, sculptures, and photography of local, regional, national, and international artists.

Community Service

The museum makes space available for workshops, meetings, and special events for community groups, governmental groups, and private organizations.