121 Barnard Street, Savannah (on Telfair Square)
Open daily. Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm and Sunday-Monday, 12pm-5pm. Adults $20, seniors/military $18, students (13-30) $15, children (0-12) free. Includes admission to the Jepson Center and Owens-Thomas House. Official Website
One of two art museums operated by Telfair Museums, the Telfair Academy displays mostly traditional art and sculpture, within the setting of a 19th-century historic house.
The Telfair House was constructed between 1818 and 1819 for Alexander Telfair, son of the former Governor of Georgia, Edward Telfair. English architect William Jay designed the house in the Greek Revival/Regency style typical of his work in Savannah.
Bequeathed by Alexander’s sister Mary Telfair to the Georgia Historical Society on the condition that it be turned into a museum, the house was enlarged in the 1880s, under the supervision of New York architect Detlef Lienau. An additional story and wing were added to the original house of William Jay’s design; the statues positioned around the front entrance were added at the same time.
The remodeled Telfair House opened to the public as an art museum in 1886, and has remained open ever since. It is one of the oldest public art galleries in the South.
The Telfair Academy’s permanent collection comprises around 4500 artistic and cultural objects, accumulated over the many decades since its establishment. As a small, regional gallery, much of the museum’s collection consists of works by lesser-known artists.
Acquisitions in the early 20th century focused on American artists working in the impressionist style. Later collection policies targeted works reflecting the history and landscape of Savannah. The Telfair Museum also houses a range of pieces by artists from across the South. More about the Telfair Academy’s permanent collection
The Telfair Academy also runs several short-term exhibitions each year alongside its permanent collection, many of which focus on the art and artists of the South. See details of current and upcoming exhibitions.
Guided tours of the collections are available daily.
207 West York Street
Open daily. Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm and Sunday-Monday, 12pm-5pm. Adults $20, seniors/military $18, students (13-30) $15, children (0-12) free. Includes admission to the Telfair Academy and Owens-Thomas House. Official website
The contemporary complement to the Telfair Academy is only yards away across Telfair Square. The Jepson Center, a striking contemporary marble and glass building designed by noted architect Moshe Safdie, opened in 2006 to display the Museums’ contemporary collections.
The Jepson Center’s collection includes galleries devoted to southern, local and African American artists. It also has an interactive gallery designed specifically for children. Several rotating exhibitions of items from the Center’s permanent collection, plus special traveling exhibitions, are shown every year. See details of current and upcoming exhibitions.
601 Turner Boulevard
Open Tuesday-Sunday: Sunday, 12pm-5pm; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10am-5pm; Thursday, 10am-8pm. Adults $10, seniors/military $8, students $5, children (0-13) free. Family ticket $20. Official website
The SCAD Museum of Art, operated by the Savannah College of Art and Design, is one of Savannah’s newest art galleries, located just outside the Historic District (facing on Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard) in a historic 19th-century railroad building. Its displays concentrate mostly on contemporary art.
Like any art museum in a smaller city, SCAD Museum of Art does not possess collections on the scale of organizations of national note, but those interested in contemporary art will enjoy a visit nonetheless.
The building in which the Museum is housed is itself of architectural and historic significance. It was formerly the Central of Georgia Railroad’s north depot (the south depot, also preserved, has been transformed into Savannah’s Visitor Center and History Museum).
The depot, one of the oldest surviving railroad depots in the United States, was built in 1853, constructed from the famous Savannah gray bricks manufactured by slave artisans on the nearby Hermitage Plantation. It is designated a National Historic Landmark.
Highlights of the Museum’s permanent collection include exhibits of African-American art from the late 19th century to the present day, British and American art, 19th- and 20th-century photography and items from SCAD’s collection of costumes. More about the permanent collection
The Museum of Art also displays several special exhibitions throughout the year. See details of current and upcoming exhibitions
111 East 34th Street
Open Thursday-Saturday, 11am-4pm. Free admission. Official Facebook page
Savannah’s newest art museum opened in 2017, created to showcase the extraordinary collection of African art amassed by local businessman Don Kole.
The collection – displayed in a 1905 historic home in Savannah's predominantly residential Thomas Square Historic District – consists of over 1000 art works from more than 20 nations in the African continent, together representing 130 different cultures.
The collection ranges from large and impressive sculptures to masks, pottery, military objects and figurines in wood and textiles. Docents are on hand to explain more about the history and significance of the pieces.
502 East Harris Street
Open Tuesday-Saturday, 12pm-5pm. Adults $7, seniors/military $3, children/students $2, young children (0-2) free. Official website
This small art center and cultural events space displays examples of African-American art and sculpture in a historic school house constructed for the education of black Savannahians after the Civil War. See details of current exhibitions