Criminal Justice Hall of Hame | Confederate Museum | More Columbia Museums
The South Carolina Criminal Justice Hall of Fame was dedicated in 1980 as a memorial to all South Carolina law enforcement officers who have given their lives in the line of duty and to pay tribute to the dedication of all officers in the criminal justice profession.
There are a number of exhibits on various aspects of law enforcement, including a very interesting exhibit related to Public Enemy #1 John Dillenger. Dillenger was America's most notorious criminal from the time he was released from a prison in May 1933 until he was shot dead on July 22, 1934. Melvin Purvis, a South Carolina native and the FBI Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office, was in charge at the scene as Dillenger was gunned down outside a movie theater. Purvis also was responsible for the arrest of a number of gangsters in the 1930's before retiring in 1937. Purvis died in 1960 and is buried in South Carolina. An extensive gun collection that was owned by Purvis is on display.
There is a moonshine still on display, along with a Cellblock One steel prison cell from the Central Correctional Institution (CCI). CCI was built in the 1860's as a state penitentiary and was one of the nation's oldest and most infamous prisons until being closed and mostly razed in 1996. Other exhibits feature the FBI, Secret Service, South Carolina jails, the State Highway Patrol and more gun exhibits. There is a feature exhibit on J.P. Strom, the chief of the State Law Enforcement Division from 1956-1987.
Location: 5400 Broad River Road (Highway 176)
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Telephone: (803) 896-8755
The Confederate Relic Room & Museum is one of the best museums of its type. It was established in 1895 to honor South Carolina's Confederate veterans. There is an excellent presentation of uniforms, flags, naval artifacts, weapons, monies, and personal possessions. The collection annually attracts Civil War enthusiasts from all fifty states and many countries.
Items on display include Gen Wade Hampton's portrait and personal possessions, Gen. James Chestnut's uniform and a torch used in the burning of Columbia by Sherman's army.
Location: next to State Museum at 301 Gervais Street
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5 p.m.