The second visit on third and last day of my South Carolina/North Carolina road trip was the South Carolina Military Museum in Columbia, SC. Located in the shadow of the Universtiy of South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium, it’s operated by the South Carolina National Guard and located in the Guard’s compound on National Guard Rd off of Bluff Rd. It isn’t the easiest thing to find and you have to pass through a guard post to get back to it, but it is well worth the visit for any History or Military History buff.
The South Carolina Military Museum presents the Military History of South Carolina primarily from the National Guard perspective, from the Spanish explorers in South Carolina through today. Their collection and equipment on loan for display includes uniforms, weapons, equipment, and vehicles from the various wars from both sides of the conflicts. They have a number of beautifully restored military vehicles from both the United States and World War II Germany on display in the museum. There is also a wonderfully restored Bell H-13B, 48-0796, which is the first H-13B airframe, serial number 101 from 1948. Outside of the museum is a good collection of heavier armored vehicles that wouldn’t fit inside the museum and there is an OH-58 and UH-1 beside the museum. The museum also contains an excellent display on the South Carolina Air National Guard, detailing the aircraft they have flown since they were stood up in 1947. The ANG display also tells about some of the personnel that have flown in the SC ANG and has an ejection seat from an F-104.
The South Carolina Military Museum is indeed a hidden gem and is well worth finding. They have a great collection and friendly veteran volunteers full of interesting stories and information. There’s no admission since it’s a government museum, but there is a collection box you should drop a donation in; operating a museum like this isn’t inexpensive and their government budget doesn’t cover everything.