Preserved in its original state since the 1970’s, the Aiken-Rhett House stands apart from other house museums as it appears as if Mrs. Habersham just left. The Historic Charleston Foundation, which manages the property, has also gone through great lengths to preserve the story of the enslaved who inhabited the house. It’s a 360° glimpse into Charleston’s complicated past.
Built in 1820 by merchant John Robinson, the Aiken-Rhett House is nationally significant as one of the best-preserved townhouse complexes in the nation. Vastly expanded by Governor and Mrs. William Aiken, Jr. in the 1830s and again in the 1850s, the house and its outbuildings include a kitchen, the original slave quarters, carriage block and back lot. The house and its surviving furnishings offer a compelling portrait of urban life in antebellum Charleston, as well as a Southern politician, slaveholder and industrialist. The house spent 142 years in the Aiken family's hands before being sold to the Charleston Museum and opened as a museum house in 1975.