Explore Our History
Edisto Island is treasured for its natural beauty, its beaches and creeks, its wildlife and its laid-back, easy way of life. But, it is also treasured for its rich history that includes Native Americans, Spanish pirates, English settlers, wealthy cotton planters, enslaved African-Americans and many who made their living off of the bounty of the ocean and creeks. To truly experience all that makes Edisto so special, be sure to include a visit to the Edisto Island Museum to learn more about our fascinating history.
The Museum is filled with artifacts and furnishings of many of the island’s most magnificent plantations as well as a wonderful collection of vintage photographs that reflect the glory days of Edisto Island when cotton was king. You’ll also find a Civil War Room that is filled with artifacts from this war as well as one of the first printings of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession.
Equally inviting is the Agriculture Room that has an impressive display of farm implements from the early days of Edisto. You’ll learn about the importance of cotton to the island’s economy and way of life and how that lifestyle was drastically altered after the Civil War. Our exhibits continue on through the period of the early 20th Century, featuring displays from Edisto’s oldest Freedman’s house, the art of creating shrimp nets, artifacts from the island’s school for African-Americans and a wonderful collection of vintage children’s toys.
Not to be missed is the Nature Room which enchants children and adults alike. You’ll see a wealth of fossils and shells that were found on Edisto’s beaches, including the jaw of a mastodon, and learn about the animals that are native to our island.
For a more detailed look at the history of Edisto’s plantations, click here for a map of the Plantations of Edisto Island.
We also have special exhibits that change every few months, so be sure to visit more than once. There’s always something new to learn here at the Edisto Island Museum.