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Cause Area

  • Arts & Culture
  • Community
  • Education & Literacy


40 East Bay StreetCHARLESTON, SC 29401 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

Historic Charleston Foundation is an advocacy organization advancing the mission of historic preservation. As historic preservation has evolved into more than a movement to simply save historic buildings, the Foundation has broadened its scope into balancing the needs of modern society with protecting the sensitive fabric of the historic district. Communities must be vibrant to survive. With vibrancy comes inevitable growth and development. Our mission is to address modern society’s needs - mobility and transportation, tourism, livability and growth - while protecting and preserving the architecture and material culture of Charleston and its Lowcountry environs. Historic Charleston Foundation champions the historic authenticity, cultural character and livability of the Charleston region through advocacy, stewardship and community engagement.


Since its founding in 1947, Historic Charleston Foundation has been a leader in preservation. Like many communities around the world, Charleston faces complex issues that threaten its historic character and quality of life-from saving historic structures, flooding, affordable housing and transportation to development and tourism management. Partnering with citizens, government officials, and other organizations, our advocacy team is working to create sustainable solutions to manage growth on the peninsula and beyond.

Through our two house museums, the Nathaniel Russell House and Aiken-Rhett House, we seek to tell the stories of all of those who lived and worked at these properties. The Nathaniel Russell House has been meticulously restored to its 1808 grandeur using forensic scientific analysis, and features objects crafted during the time period. Currently, we are learning more about the 18 enslaved people who lived and labored at the Nathaniel Russell House through the ongoing Kitchen House Project. The Aiken-Rhett House Museum exemplifies a differing approach to historic preservation education, a "preserved-as-found" approach to its conservation which allows visitors to discover furniture and interiors unaltered since the mid-19th century. The Aiken-Rhett's dependency buildings have been virtually untouched since the 1850s allowing visitors the chance to better comprehend the every-day realities of the enslaved Africans who lived on-site, maintained the household and catered to the needs of the Aiken family and their guests.


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