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“good museum / great docent” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Karpeles Manuscript Library

Karpeles Manuscript Library
Ranked #130 of 229 things to do in Charleston
Attraction details
Charleston, South Carolina
Level Contributor
83 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“good museum / great docent”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 December 2013

Housed in a mid-19th century Greek revival church, Charleston's Karpeles Manuscript Library is one of several such scattered around the United States.

These libraries feature selections drawn from the world's largest private manuscript collection, which includes documents from prominent artists, composers, explorers, scientists, political leaders, religious figures, and other culturally and historically significant people. The exhibition at each location changes four times per year. One visit you might see letters written by Eva Perón or John Adams -- and on another visit you could view religious tracts by John Calvin or Martin Luther; or maybe scientific studies by the likes of Galileo, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, or Albert Einstein; or musical compositions by such luminaries as Ludwig von Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, or Richard Wagner. Also displayed are a few Egyptian artifacts collected by David and Marsha Karpeles.

It is worth noting that the the docent is also one of the library's attractions. He is not only friendly and knowledgeable, but a true Southern gentleman with a real talent for storytelling. His tales are informative as well as enjoyable. Indeed, I have learned a great deal from him over the years, and I am a college prof!

The library, which offers free onsite parking, is located on the fringe of Charleston's historic district in an area that is rapidly gentrifying, with good restaurants and bars within easy walking distance. It is well worth a visit for those interested in culture and history. And a nice break from the city's more crowded tourist sites. Probably not a good place to take children, however, as there are no interactive kid-friendly exhibitions.

Visited November 2013
2 Thank Robert W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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11 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
780 reviews
216 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 225 helpful votes
“Fantastic if you are a history/document buff”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 January 2012

This is one of a series of places where stuff from the world’s largest private collection of original manuscripts and documentsis shown. It's in a old church of mild interest, by itself. The documents on display vary from time to time as they move from one Karpeles location to another. Not a place for kids, but anyone with a mild interest in history or a love for documents should spend an hour. The docent was very helpful once he saw we were really interested. It's free (free parking too) and deserves more visitors.

Visited March 2011
1 Thank jxx9595
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charleston, SC
Level Contributor
17 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“History inside and out”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 January 2012

The magnificent 1850's Greek revivl church that houses the museum is worth the visit alone, but add to that the priceless documents an manuscripts inside make this ideal for those serious about history

1 Thank chasfootprints
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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