McKissick Museum is located at the heart of the historic Horseshoe on the Columbia campus of the University of South Carolina. It was established in 1976 by the University Board of Trustees to bring together under one roof the many object collections housed in various departments and colleges across campus. These collections date to 1801 and provide insight into the long and illustrious history of the University. McKissick Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums, operating within their guidelines for the proper care and safekeeping of these historical artifacts.
The McKissick building is a Works Progress Administration structure erected in 1939 as the University's library. It stands on the site of the first President's house built on the Horseshoe, which was removed to make room for the library in 1937. A plaque commemorating the house lies in front of McKissick Museum at the edge of the grass bordering the plaza.