Museum Hopping in Savannah

Although every house inside the historic district has a history and is a work of art unto itself, Savannah still has some top notch museums and galleries to fill those moments when you’ve seen just too many hand carved Colonial staircases for one day. For the purposes of this post, the Jepson Center for the Arts, featuring the Telfair family home and art museum, will be the focus of the photographs. In between, I’ll slip in some really cool places that you see on the way to and from the museums.

Telfair Academy Museum
The Telfair mansion was completed in 1819, and the last Telfair occupant donated the house to be part of an art museum in the 1880’s. Telfair Academy opened in 1896, and features two large rooms furnished in 1840 style, along with two massive galleries, and many smaller exhibition spaces. This photo is from Destination America Travel…

Telfair Mansion and Museum
This drawing was made before the museum was begun in the 1880’s. The front part is the original mansion, and the rear addition housed the giant exhibition rooms on two floors.

Telefair Rotunda Gallery

Telfair Skylight

Telfair Rotunda Discussion
This upper floor space in the museum addition from the 19th century displays the largest paintings in the collection.

Fugitive Slave by Houston
“The Fugitive Slave”, by John Adam Houston, anchors an exhibition of selected pieces from the Johnson Collection of Southern fine art in Spartanburg called “Romantic Spirits”. The painting was completed in 1853, and supported the Abolitionist cause with its sympathetic depiction of a runaway enslaved man.

In Sight of Home Henry
“In Sight of Home”, by Edward Lamson Henry (1841-1919), continues the slave theme with a much less passionate approach. Children run to greet their mother and father who are returning from a trip to town, while a young slave child hitches a ride on the back of the wagon.

Cherokee Co NC Romantic-Spirits
This idyllic mountain scene is called “Falls of Tamahaka- Cherokee Co. NC”, and was painted after 1855 by Belgium artist William Charles Anthony Frerichs (1829-1905).

Andrew_Melrose French Broad
“Morning on the French Broad”, circa 1880, by Andrew Melrose (1836-1901), is one of the earliest depictions of this ancient Western North Carolina stream. On a high bluff sits a blockhouse that seems to be the remnant of a decaying fort.

Lost Cause Mosler
You can’t have a show about Southern art without featuring a well known work that depicts the futility of the just ended struggle. “Lost Cause”, 1868, was painted by a Jewish artist named Gustave Henry Mosler (1841-1920). We see a dejected soldier leaning on his firearm, while behind him is the broken shell of a log cabin. We also see a Spring landscape and rising moon that shows the infinite possibilities of rebirth and renewal.

Savannah Mahogany Door
This Mahogany door was surrounded by thick vines, making a most welcoming portal.

Savannah Mansions
On a nearby Square, two dowager mansions retain their grandeur after almost 200 years.

Jepson Center Front Wall
With Telfair Academy clearly visible through its front wall of glass, The Jepson Center across the steet is a modern tribute to light and space.

Jepson Center Staircase
A sweeping grand staircase leads to many galleries on the second level.

Jepson Center Glass and SHadow
The ingenious use of glass and aluminum creates ever changing patterns on the many surfaces of the 2006 structure.

Owens-Thomas House
Don’t let the surly and disinterested tour guides spoil your visit to this 1819 Oglethorpe Square masterpiece by English Architect William Jay. It is the third piece in the Telfair Museums collection. Elements in the remarkable house include internal cisterns for running water and sewerage, a bridge connecting the two sides of the upper floor, and furniture actually from the original families. The house is a treasure trove of amazing architecture and engineering.

Owens Thomas House 19th century
This is one of the earliest photographs of this magnificent residence.

Savannah Lutheran Church Tower
The tower of the 19th century Lutheran church glistens in the noonday August sun.

Savannah Post Office Building
The Old United States Post Office and Courthouse- 1894

Savannah Post Office Courts
Designed in the Second Renaissance Revival style, the original portion of the building is constructed entirely of white Georgia marble, and features the typical Italianate tripartite facade divisions characteristic of the style. Today the building houses Federal Court offices. It is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The French Market Building
Today, it is the home to The French Market retailer, but 125 years ago, this 1870s building was where the streetcar turned off of Broughton. Many historic buildings along this venerable thoroughfare have been restored to their late 19th century appearance.

Broughton Street Postcard

Marshall House Facade
After a long day at the museums, our hotel is a welcome sight. The Marshall House was originally The Marshall Hotel, built in 1851, but it was used as the main hospital during the Civil War. After extensive rehabilitation, it reopened as The Marshall House in 1999, and is now one of Savannah’s premiere hostelries.

Marshall House Lobby
The lobby is comfortable and full of 19th century treasures.

Marshall House Rug
A modern rug really sets off the antiques and artwork.

The Marshall House Suite
The guest suites are spacious and beautifully furnished. 18th and 19th century artifacts, prints, and documents hang throughout the hotel, and are a treat to explore.

Bohemian Hotel Deck
Having your favorite cocktail while watching the sun set from the roof deck of the Bohemian Hotel on the Savannah River is the best way I know to end the perfect Savannah experience.

3 thoughts on “Museum Hopping in Savannah

  1. Savannah is a lovely place. We enjoy visiting it and Charleston, but two totally different southern coastal towns! Where is the statue to John Wesley? We took a bus tour and the driver asked 3 questions about Wesley, being a staunch United Methodist, I jumped in and answered every question. (Plus no one else on the bus was obviously interested.) I got a key ring for my efforts. Still have it. Nancy

  2. So enjoyed the mini tour of Savannah, this is definitely on my bucket list pf places to visit. The Marshall House really reminds of of New Orleans.

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