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Telfair Museums – Part 1


With a deep and intense tie to history its no surprise that Savannah has great museums. Simply taking a walk through the towns historic district is like engaging with a huge museum all on its own, but this isn’t everything the town has to offer. The Telfair Museums make a fantastic trio of exhibition spaces that cover the history of the area and much further a field. With the origins of the buildings and many of the works inside stretching back hundreds of years, there is also much more contemporary work to be seen and enjoyed. The three separate buildings hold vastlydifferent artifacts but can all be accessed by foot, with a brief walk being the only divider between them all. But which one of these great places that celebrate art, culture and history will be your favourite?

The Telfair Academy

This building gets its name from the man it was primarily designed for the wealthy Alexander Telfair. Originally constructed back in 1819 and lived in for many years, it wasn’t until 1875 when Mary, his sister decided the Georgia Historical Society should turn the building into a museum. After architects were brought over from England to make the necessary changes in order to make it a public space, 1886 marked the grand opening and of course it still serves its purpose today. For visitors interested in the buildings history the permanent Mansion to Museum exhibit walks guests through a more thorough story of just how this rich house came to serve many. With paintings, sculptures and items family acquired from the family, there is no better place to learn about this important Georgia construction.

Today six different galleries can be found inside the walls of the academy, the huge expansive rooms and decorative functional construction pieces can all be clearly seen as you walk your way round. The Rotunda Gallery is a tribute to the people who were instrumental in the early establishment of the gallery itself. Here paintings not only depict some of the men but more importantly are curated into clusters that depict the tastes of each person. It works as a fantastic mood board for acquiring a sense of who these people were and what kind of art they delighted in, much of which you will find is classical.

In the bright sculpture gallery the pale matte white that brings to mind elegance and class fills the room. Here you will find an assortment of casts from Greco-Roman artists that were clearly loved by the houses founders. The light and space here really emphasise just how wide the rooms here are and the columns show that the space spreads vertically too. In the galleries above where the bedrooms used to be now sit a collection of many different items that range from smaller framed oil paintings to textile creations. The octagon or oak room quite differently remains a semi-preserved entertainment space where the owners would relax or meet with business associates. With the dining room, kitchen and other rooms all containing a piece of the puzzle the Academy makes for a multistory deep dive into history.