Fans of art and design will enjoy a visit to both the Jepson Center for the Arts and Telfair Academy, two thirds of Savannah’s celebrated Telfair Museums, the oldest public art museum in the South.
Three separate attractions make up the Telfair Museums. The Jepson Center for the Arts and Telfair Academy are art museums, while The Owens Thomas House & Slave Quarters is a historic house museum.
Telfair Museums had its start in 1875, when Mary Telfair bequeathed her family’s house and furnishings to the Georgia Historical Society as a museum. The first museum founded by a woman in the United States. The museum opened to the public in 1886, making it the oldest public art museum in the South.
All three Telfair Museums are worth the time, if you have it. Even better, all three are also just a few minutes drive from the front door of our Savannah bed and breakfast, McMillan Inn.
Jepson Center for the Arts
The Jepson Center for the Arts is located at 207 W York Street in downtown Savannah.
The center, which opened in 2006, is housed in a stunning building designed by internationally acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie. The building’s intriguing outlines echo the contemporary and modern art collection displayed within.
Inside, you’ll discover an ever-changing tableau of fine art, from both classical masters and emerging artists. Exhibits include art from the museum’s permanent collection, as well as special, traveling exhibitions.
Highlights include a hands-on children’s museum, special event, and unique shopping opportunities. Learn more about the Jepson Center for the Arts on the museum website.
The Telfair Academy
The Telfair Academy is just a two minute walk away from The Jepson Center for the Arts at 121 Barnard Street in downtown Savannah.
The Academy is housed in a stately, two-story, 1819 Regency style mansion. The house was designed by architect William Jay, who is also responsible for the Owens-Thomas House, the William Scarbrough House, and The Savannah Theatre.
The Telfair Academy’s permanent collection includes 19th and 20th-century paintings, works on paper, decorative arts, and sculpture. Highlights of the celebrated collection include masterworks of American Impressionism and the Ashcan school. Visitors will also enjoy the history and stunning architectural setting of the house, via two, nineteenth-century period rooms.
The Telfair Academy is also home to the famous Bird Girl statue. The statue was moved from Bonaventure Cemetery after the book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” made it famous.
Visit www.telfair.org for hours and more information.
The Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters
The Owens Thomas House is a grand, 19th-century mansion and a National Historic Landmark, located at 124 Abercorn Street.
The museum tells the story of antebellum life in Savannah, and not just for the rich mansion owners. The Owens-Thomas House museum is also home to the oldest intact urban slave quarters in the South.
Visitors to the museum will be learn about the day-to-day lives of the people who lived and worked here 200 years ago, both free and enslaved.
Learn more at the museum website.
All three Telfair Museums are within easy driving distance, or even walking distance, of McMillan Inn. In fact, that’s true of most of the best that Savannah has to offer.
Our Savannah B&B is located in the downtown historic district, so getting out and exploring the beauty of our historic city is a snap. Forsyth Park, Savannah’s Squares, historic house museums, shopping, dining, galleries, theaters, and more. Come see for yourself with a stay at McMillan Inn!