About Middleton Place

An Essential American Experience With A Mission

A National Historic Landmark, home to the oldest landscaped gardens in America and an enduring, vibrant, and essential part of the Charleston and American experience, Middleton Place is owned and operated by the Middleton Place Foundation. The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) educational trust established in 1974, uses historic preservation, documented research, and interpretation as a force for education, understanding, and positive change.


A Reason For Being

None of us enter Middleton Place the way many once did – by boat, with egrets as escorts, flashes of sunlight through trees, from the river. But we try to picture it.

We don’t wade through rice fields wrapped in August’s heavy, humid blanket. We can scarcely imagine it.

There are the Middletons, who strolled through the deep blush of camellias in bloom. The enslaved, who, stripped of their African names, tended children and livestock as their own, have long since died. But all of their spirits, stories, and the lessons they hold live on – here, with and within us, kept alive through meticulous research of history, architecture, and horticulture. They are known through the commitment of scholars who study agriculture and archeology, art, artifacts and journals. The stewards of today preserve the lush gardens, working stableyards, museum houses and precious lands.

It’s all done in the service of understanding the Middleton family and the enslaved people who made a way of life and an economic empire possible. It’s done to reveal the stories within the stories: the enslaved artisans who built terraces one bucket of earth at a time, the founder who led the Continental Congress and his son who signed the Declaration of Independence, the hands that harvested rice and bent iron, the descendants of families who meld race and place and age and occupation. All are invited to share the stories told here.

When we stand on the same land as generations of the enslaved and the free, take in its exquisite beauty and its inherent brutality, we understand that the stories of Middleton Place are American stories. Black stories. White stories. Essential, life-changing human stories.

Keeping those stories alive inspires our imagination, understanding, and empathy – and in so doing, they lead us all, together, to the next chapter, and the next.

There are always new stories to tell.

The History of The Middleton Place Foundation


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