Exploring Downtown Savannah’s Telfair Museums

Despite having lived in the South for a good portion of my life, I had never once visited Savannah, Georgia until the summer after I graduated from High School. I decided to take a weekend trip to visit some family, and in the process, met up with a friend from Korea. Neither of us had been to Savannah before, so we weren’t sure what we wanted to do once we met up, so I Googled some things to do and found the name of an art museum. After walking for 30 minutes across town in the midday heat of July, swatting away gnats and sweating off my makeup, we finally reached Telfair Academy, which is just one of three Telfair museums.

The first museum we went into was the Telfair Academy, which is a renovated neoclassical mansion built in 1819, and designed for the Telfair family. From 1883 to 1886, the family home was transformed into an art museum.

There are several rooms inside the museum, each dedicated to specific collections of artwork collected throughout the years. The sculpture room contains many replicas of marble statues, as well as artwork from 19th and 20th century artists from Europe, all over the United States, and even Savannah. I personally enjoyed the style of art that this room showcased, ranging from impressionistic scenery to plaster casts of classic marble statues, like the Venus de Medici.

Another room in the museum was dedicated to the revival of classical art and style in the 19th century, depicting huge murals of Apelles, Iktinus, Durer, and Praxiteles. The Rotunda Gallery was my favorite part of the museum mainly because of the large works of art it contained.

After visiting the Telfair Academy, we moved onto the more contemporary art museum, the Jepson Center of the Arts, which was built in 2006 and is home to American art from the 20th and 21st centuries.

I personally preferred the classical art portion of our museum outing to the more modern art, but the Jepson Center did showcase of wide variety of culture that I thought was very interesting. Their exhibitions included photography, politically charged traditional artwork, modern sculpture, and an exploration of the digital artwork of the video game Katamari Damacy.

Student Produced Portfolio Pieces
My Friend Enjoying A Digital Art Game
Hanging Fabric Collage Sculpture

The third museum of the Telfair museums is the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters, which we unfortunately did not get a chance to visit, but it now will be a definite bucket list item if I ever find myself in Savannah, Georgia!