Savannah is home to plenty of museums that provide several opportunities to learn about the city’s history.
No trip to the Hostess City is complete without paying a visit to these top 10 institutions.
The Telfair mansion was built in 1819 and currently contains three nineteenth-century period rooms to tour, as well as multiple art galleries. The museum features American and European art from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including paintings, original furnishings, decorative arts, and sculpture. It’s also home to Savannah’s Bird Girl statue, famously featured in the well-known novel and film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
With an emphasis on contemporary art and education, the Jepson Center offers art and activities to interest all age groups. TechSpace features a long-term exhibition of digital art, including interactive art installations. ArtZeum is another interactive space that challenges children and adults to consider how we make and view art. Here you’ll find puzzles, architectural blocks, and magnetic tiles for kids to build, curate, and learn. The Jepson Center also offers many traveling exhibitions and installations, including sculpture, painting, video art, textiles, and more.
This 1819 mansion was built in the Regency style and includes a carriage house and gardens, as well as a two-story space in the north half of the building that originally housed nine to 15 enslaved people, and later housed servants. Guided tours of the mansion’s public and private spaces, including a butler’s pantry and working cellar level, allow visitors to explore the relationship and harsh disparity between Savannah’s upper and lower classes in the 19th century.
Housed in the elegant 1819 Scarbrough House, this museum features nine galleries displaying ship models, maritime paintings, and artifacts. Originally owned by shipping merchant and president of the Savannah Steamship Company, William Scarbrough, the building was restored in 1997 and is home to the largest private gardens in Savannah’s Historic District. The collection includes a model of the steamship Savannah which was the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean!
This historic home was built in 1820 by Isaiah Davenport and is one of the oldest brick structures in the city. Come tour the 6800 square foot urban dwelling, or plan a special event in the beautiful adjacent gardens. In addition to daily tours, the museum offers annual events including Tea in the Garden, Summer Supper, and candlelit Holiday Evening Tours, among others.
The Georgia State Railroad Museum is a National Historic Landmark, offering visitors the opportunity to explore historic railcars and machinery and experience the fully operational turntable. Check out the train ride schedule to hop aboard a site tour by train! The museum also hosts group tours, field trips, and birthday parties.
The SCAD Museum of Art features contemporary art from international artists. Offering 72 classes each week, the museum works to enrich the education offered at Savannah College of Art and Design with creative programs, film screenings, and lectures. SCAD student docents offer tours every Saturday morning. Current exhibitions include photography from the Karl Lagerfeld collection, whimsical sculptures by Berta Fischer, and Alex Gardner’s “Guest Room” paintings, among many others.
The American Prohibition Museum is not your average museum. With interactive, selfie-approved exhibits and an on-site speakeasy, it’s never been more fun to learn about the Temperance Movement! Check out the moonshine exhibit where you’ll learn how to make your own “white lightning,” or learn to dance the Charleston while you peruse authentic flapper costumes. View an authentic 1921 Model T on display and then head to Congress Street Up for a classic 1920s cocktail.
If you’re traveling to Savannah with kids, the Savannah Children’s Museum is the perfect place to learn and play. With over a dozen exhibits entirely located outdoors, including a maze, sensory garden, and reading nook, this museum encourages exploration and imagination ideal for children and families. Plan your visit in advance and print out activity sheets on their website to enhance your museum experience.
Learn about the Eighth Air Force from World War II to the present at this patriotic museum. Exhibits include a Combat Gallery with original aircraft, engines, and scale models, Mission Experience featuring a 90 ft. painted mural, and Airmen Down which includes a recreated safe house and POW camp. Visit the Chapel of the Fallen Eagles, the Memorial Garden, and the museum’s traditional English Pub.
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