Founded in 1896 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Museum is the oldest museum in the Columbia area. The museum focuses on South Carolina military history from the Revolutionary War to the present, emphasizing South Carolina's Confederate era. The third oldest museum in South Carolina, the SC Confederate Relic Room & Museum, houses over 5,000 artifacts. The museum is an agency under the SC Budget & Control Board.
The museum is also accredited by the American Association of Museums. Only 11 of approximately 200 museums and historic sites in South Carolina have earned this distinction. Just 750 museums out of 16,000 nationally are accredited. A nationally known Civil War flag collection, a significant South Carolina uniform collection, and a growing weapons collection are complemented by a historical archives collection and a 19th and 20th century textile collection, allowing the museum to interpret the political and social influences on South Carolina's military history.
In September 2002, the S.C. Confederate Relic Room and Museum reopened in a renovated 17,000 square foot area of the old Columbia Mills Building, near the State Museum. The martial tradition of South Carolina is a theme running throughout the new exhibit and highlights the state's unique but influential role in the history of our nation during the time between the Revolutionary War and Reconstruction. There are also exhibits on South Carolina's involvement in the Spanish-American War and both world wars.