Telfair Brings Art and History to Life at Three Historic Sites

Posted on June 28, 2018 by

Want to experience iconic Southern art, history and architecture with a uniquely Savannah spin? Visit three distinctive Telfair Museums sites — the Jepson Center, Telfair Academy and Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters — to experience three centuries of art and culture.

JEPSON CENTER – 207 W. York Street

Jepson Center

The Jepson Center for the Arts is the newest museum in the Telfair family.

The Jepson Center, overlooking Telfair Square, is the newest museum in the Telfair family and among the most recently opened museums in the South. The building’s limestone- and-glass facade was designed by internationally
acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie — making the museum itself a work of art. It houses the famous Bird Girl statue,
immortalized on the cover of John Berendt’s bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, as well as a
collection of some of Georgia’s best contemporary art.

Featuring permanent, family-friendly experiences like the interactive ArtZeum and the innovative TechSpace, the
Jepson Center also hosts traveling exhibitions. “Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip” offers glimpses of the classic American road trip through the camera lenses of 19 different photographers, while “Bonaventure: A Historic Cemetery in Art” chronicles this legendary Savannah plantation-turned-cemetery’s impact on the arts. Both exhibitions will run through September 2018. Mark your calendar, as a treasure trove of work by legendary Impressionists, including Monet, Degas and Renoir, is set to come to the Jepson Center this fall.

TELFAIR ACADEMY – 121 Barnard Street

The Telfair Academy is the oldest public art museum in the South.

After experiencing these creative wonders, head across the square to explore the Telfair Academy, the oldest public art museum in the South, which originally opened its doors in 1886. Located in the heart of Savannah’s National Landmark Historic District, the Telfair Academy houses an indoor sculpture gallery and elegant rotunda. This neoclassical Regency-style museum, designed by British architect William Jay, was once the family home of Telfair Museums’ founder Mary Telfair.

The Telfair Academy, which was recently restored to its original splendor with vibrant coats of historically appropriate yellow mineral paint, showcases fine art and decorative art in a range of styles, from American Impressionism to Ashcan School Realism. Don’t miss stylish 19th-century period rooms, as well as impressive works from the museum’s permanent collection.

OWENS-THOMAS HOUSE AND SLAVE QUARTERS – 124 Abercorn Street

Owens Thomas House

The Owens Thomas House is often identified as the crown jewel of English Regency architecture in America.

For a broader view of Savannah’s history, tour the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters, the city’s first house museum. Originally built for wealthy planter and politician Richard Richardson by architect William Jay, the Owens-Thomas House is often identified as the crown jewel of English Regency architecture in America and once entertained international figures like the Marquis de Lafayette. This historic home has also earned accolades for its innovative design, which incorporated indoor plumbing ahead of the White House. Don’t miss the formal parterre
garden, which features stunning topiaries year-round.

The Owens-Thomas House also includes the only intact urban slave quarters open to the public in Savannah. Guided tours of the Owens-Thomas House share the stories of everyone who lived there, from the enslaved people who worked in the house to those who owned the home.

All Telfair Museums sites are open from noon-5 p.m. Sunday through Monday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The last tour at the Owens-Thomas House is 4:20 p.m. Tickets offer one week of access to three authentic Savannah experiences for one admission price. For more information, call 912.790.8800 or visit telfair.org.