State Museum launches online collection database

The South Carolina State Museum is excited to announce the launch of its online collection database, allowing educators, students, researchers and others to explore the museum’s collection digitally for the first time.

The database currently features the museum’s art collection and will expand to include the museum’s cultural history, science and technology and natural history collections in the coming months with the majority made available online in time for the museum’s 35th Anniversary Celebration in November 2023.

“This project, made possible by funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the South Carolina State Legislature, has been years in the making,” said Paul Matheny, the State Museum’s Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs. “Currently only a small portion of the museum’s collection is on display, this new feature will allow us to share more of the over 1.1 million artifacts, artwork fossils and specimens in our care.”

This online database allows guests to get closer to these objects than ever before. High quality digital images can be enlarged and examined, enabling users to view the inscriptions of enslaved potter David Drake and the artistry of painters such as Wenonah Bell and Brian Rutenburg – just a few of the many highlights to discover within the museum’s art collection of more than 4,500 pieces of fine and folk art, historic and modern pottery and ceramics, sculptures, and contemporary works. Guests are invited to browse this online collection or search for specific items by keyword, object type, description, date range or by using advanced search functions.

Launching the online database is an important step in the museum’s Reimagine the Experience campaign, which aims to feature more of the museum’s extensive collection and eventually renew more than 150,000 square feet of exhibition and storage space to better highlight the stories and people throughout South Carolina’s history. The database is available online now at

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