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Entrance to the Old Slave Mart Museum.

Old Slave Mart Museum

Field review by the editors.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston's Slave Mart -- where enslaved people were imprisoned and sold -- was shut down by a Union victory at the end of the Civil War. Afterward it housed a number of businesses, including a car dealership.

In 1938 it was purchased by Miriam Wilson, who reopened it as the Old Slave Mart Museum, a private attraction. The city hated the place (Miriam was accused of smearing butcher shop blood on the floor to make it more sensational) even though by today's standards it offered a sanitized version of Southern slavery. Still, for most of the 20th century, it was the only slavery museum in the U.S.

Charleston eventually bought the Old Slave Mart Museum and has operated it as a municipal attraction since 2008. Much of the building has been torn down since its Slave Mart days, so there's not much space for artifacts. Instead, text-heavy displays relate the history of the building, and explain its link to the South's domestic trade in enslaved people.

Old Slave Mart Museum

6 Chalmers St., Charleston, SC
Downtown, in the historic quarter. On the north side of Chalmers St. midway between State and Church Sts.
M-Sa 9-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $8.
Save to My Sights

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