The Telfair Museums are all connected by a seven-minute walk, three historic squares, and one woman's amazing legacy.
Here at The Southern Weekend we generally like to tell you what’s new and exciting in The South. But this time we want to tell you something you already know. Savannah is beautiful.
Seriously, the best thing you can do in Savannah is take a walk.
This perfectly planned and carefully considered city is one of the oldest in the country. And from the moment it was settled in 1733 until present day, the city overseers have taken great care to make it a beautiful, immersive experience to stroll the cobblestone blocks.
No matter where you walk in the historic district you’ll find beautiful examples of 18th and 19th century architectural styles, massive live oak trees covered in Spanish moss, and the city’s iconic squares full of historic monuments.
How then, does one pick exactly where to walk?
At the Southern Weekend we’d like to suggest you let Telfair Museums pick for you.
Telfair Museums consists of three different and distinct cultural outposts: The Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, the Telfair Academy, and the Jepson Center. All three museums are within a seven-minute walk of one another and you’ll pass through three historic squares along the way.
“The Owens-Thomas House is completely focused on history,” says Shannon Browning-Mullis, the curator of history and decorative arts for Telfair Museums. “The Jepson Center is completely focused on art and the Telfair Academy is really the bridge between those two. It gives you history and art in the same experience.”
The Telfair Museums are the legacy of Mary Telfair, a prominent Savannah resident and philanthropist. Upon her death, Mary donated the Telfair home to the Georgia Historical Society. That donation became the Telfair Academy, the first public art institution in the South.
“Mary Telfair really felt like the people of Savannah, by and large will never get to experience the kind of culture that was on display in Europe. So she brought it here to them,” Shannon says.
Today, the museums span two centuries of art and history. At the Owens-Thomas House visitors can walk through the residences of both historic Savannah socialites and the people they kept in bondage.
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Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters: The north half of the building contains the original slave quarters for the site. This two-story structure was composed of three rooms on each level. Nine to 15 enslaved people, about half of whom were children, lived and worked on the site at any given time between 1819 and the end of the Civil War. Once the war ended, the space became servants’ quarters, housing many of the same people. In November 2018, these wonderfully preserved spaces will offer new exhibits to help visitors understand the day-to-day lives of the enslaved people who lived and worked in the space, as well as the most unique architectural feature of the house, the indoor plumbing. #othouse #savannahhistory #tellinguntoldstories #slavequarters #telfairmuseums
At the Jepson Center you can see works from modern masters like Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, and Roy Lichtenstein. They even have a permanent exhibit featuring beautiful pieces from Bonaventure Cemetery including the famous Bird Girl Statue.
Sound like a lot? The Telfair folks agree. That’s why every ticket sold grants you one week to hit every stop. The Southern Weekend team saw it all in one but we won’t judge if you take your time.
Created in partnership with Telfair Museums.