Savannah’s Best Museums and Galleries
Savannah is steeped in history: from the rich architecture that surround our squares to the museums and galleries that tell the tales of this city’s past. Although these buildings are open year-round, they’re a great way to beat the heat during the summer months.
Here are our favorite museums and galleries in Savannah:
This former mansion—home to Georgia governor and the son of a Revolutionary War patriot—was transformed into a museum in 1875. The home and all its furnishings were left to the Georgia Historical Society with the instructions of opening as a museum. After some serious renovations, the museum was opened in 1886 as the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences. The building now contains two 19th– century period rooms as well as plenty of 19th and 20th-century art from both America and Europe. This museum-and-gallery is the oldest public art museum in the South!
Under the Telfair Museum umbrella lies the Jepson Center. This stunning building with its striking architecture and modern-feel houses rotating exhibitions of contemporary art as well as some permanent collections. Opened over a decade ago, the Jepson Center displays the Kirk Varnedoe Collection; honoring the late Savannah native, the collection features works by notable artists from the past 50 years, including many Georgia artists. Children can roam the ArtZeum, a perfect place for them to interact art! The Jepson Center also houses the Bird Girl statue, which stands on the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a novel written in and about Savannah.
Located a short drive from Downtown sits the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. The facility has a variety of exhibits, artifacts, and stories about the Eighth Air Force of the US Army Air Corps, a group that served during World War II. Visitors love the airplanes that dot the grounds, such as a B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber and two fighter planes.
This National Historic Landmark sits at the old Central of Georgia Railway Facility. Visitors can step back in time by hopping aboard historic railcars or taking a trip on one of their operating trains!
Since Savannah is a port city, it’s only natural that there would be a museum dedicated to the sea. This building was once the home of William Scarbrough, a owner of the Savannah steamship as well as the president of the Savannah Steamship Company. The museum has exhibits dedicated to model ships, paintings, and maritime antiques, all from the 18th and 19th-centuries, a time of great Atlantic trading between America and England.
Opened in 2002 to “inspire and challenge” Savannah College of Art and Design students, this gallery of premier contemporary art brings visitors from across the Savannah area and the world. New exhibitions are unveiled each academic quarter and feature works of haute couture, sculptures, photography, and many other mediums of artistic expression.
Unbeknownst to many locals, the Battle of Savannah, a major fight (and the second bloodiest) during the American Revolution, occurred just across the street from where the Savannah History Museum now stands. This museum details Savannah’s history, stretching from before this historic battle to the present moment, and includes exhibits that highlight significant periods in Savannah’s history.