The structure is one of the three most historic Colonial Public Buildings in the United States. Faneuil Hall in Boston and Independence Hall in Philadelphia being the other two.
The Old Exchange is open to the public as a National Historic Landmark. Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Completed in 1771 by the British Colonial Government, the New Exchange and Custom House soon became the economic, cultural and political center for the city of Charlestowne and the wealthy colony of South Carolina. In the Great Hall, South Carolina's Delegates to the Continental Congress were elected, Independence was declared, the Ratification Convention of the United States Constitution was held and President George Washington was entertained.
During the Revolutionary War, the occupying British Army created a Provost Jail in the cellar. Soldiers, Citizens, criminals ,and rogues were held in dungeon-like conditions. Local townspeople watched the firing on Fort Sumter to begin the Civil War from the roof-top. In later years, the U.S. Lighthouse Commission, U.S. Army, and Navy fought through World War I and World War II within its walls.
In 1976, the State of South Carolina and the South Carolina State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution work to restore the building to its Colonial Glory, opening as a museum in 1981.
Throughout the building's existence, it has truly been a witness to American History.