The Gibbes Museum of Art has been around since 1905, but it’s far more than a repository of dusty oil paintings. In fact, after a $13.5 million renovation in 2016, it now ranks in the upper echelons of American art museums. The permanent collection includes a miniature portrait gallery; the Mary Jackson Gallery, showcasing exquisite Gullah sweetgrass baskets; and the Campbell Rotunda Gallery, featuring 300 years of American Southern art. Watch for special exhibitions of works created on-site, like the one devoted to environmental sculptor Patrick Dougherty during his 2017 residency here. Don't miss the classical Lenhardt Garden, and Café Gibbes is a good spot for gourmet sandwiches, soups, salads, and a glass of wine in a quiet, contemporary setting.
The Gibbes isn't just Charleston's oldest art museum: it's one of the oldest art museums in the country, with a history that stretches back to the 1850s. The museum's gorgeous Beaux Arts building reopened in 2016 after a two-year renovation. It's free to explore the museum's first floor, which hosts artist studios and classrooms and provides access to the beautiful Lenhardt Garden.