Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum

Open Tuesday-Saturday. Adult admission $8.

See below: full visitor information

See also: overview of museums in Savannah

This small museum is devoted to the history of Savannah’s Civil Rights movement, with exhibits documenting experiences of the Civil Rights era and the achievements of Savannah’s activists. Expect to spend about an hour.

The museum is named for Ralph Mark Gilbert (1899-1956). One of the first leaders of Savannah’s Civil Rights movement, Gilbert first came to Savannah as pastor of the First African Baptist Church (on Franklin Square), serving in that capacity from 1939 until his death.

Gilbert’s achievements during his time in Savannah were numerous: he served as president of Savannah’s branch of the NAACP from 1942 to 1950; was a leader in the development of programs for young people; and was also active in local politics and the registration of African-American voters.

The building in which the museum is housed is itself significant in Savannah’s African-American history. Constructed in 1914 by a black contractor, it has been used by black-run businesses and organizations ever since: the original Wage Earners Bank; then an African-American insurance company; and after that the offices of Savannah’s branch of the NAACP.

Advertisements:

What To See & Do

Guided tours The museum is set up as a series of self-guided exhibits, but guided tours by one of the museum’s docents are often possible. Call the museum in advance of your visit for more information and to inquire about tour availability for the day you plan to visit. If you take the self-guided option, docents are usually present to answer any additional questions you may have.

Exhibits Exhibits are primarily devoted to the history of the Civil Rights movement in Savannah. The museum employs various media to document the city’s Civil Rights struggle, including mapping of the city’s most significant sites, film, oral history interviews with participants in the movement, archival photographs and more.

Other exhibits attempt to recreate aspects of the African-American community’s experience of segregation, including a replica of a local department store lunch counter in which black customers were once denied service. Historic signs displayed throughout the museum also recall Savannah’s segregated past.

Photographic exhibits provide a visual record of the history of the predominantly African-American West Broad Street (present-day Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard) neighborhood and commercial area.

Visitor Information

The following is correct at the time of writing. Please verify details before planning your trip. For additional information call 912-777-6099 or visit the official Facebook page.

Opening hours Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm.

Admission Adults $8, seniors $6, children $4.

Getting There

Address 460 Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31401
GPS coordinates N 32.072108, W -081.100183

The Civil Rights Museum is located in the southwest of Savannah’s Historic District, a few blocks south of the Visitor Center on Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard. See on map

Public transport The nearest stop to the museum if you are riding Savannah’s free downtown shuttle is at the Visitors Center on Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard at Liberty Street. The stop is five blocks north of the museum. More information about using Savannah’s public transport

Several paid Chatham Area Transit (CAT) bus routes stop nearer to the museum, with stops located 1-2 blocks away. Get public transport directions

Advertisements: