The Telfair Academy

Photo courtesy of familyclan

Telfair Academy should be near the top of your list of museums to visit while in Savannah. Five large statues and four columns are the noticeable features on the front of this impressive building, which was once a mansion owned by the prestigious Telfair Family. Since the late 1800‘s it has been a period museum that lets you walk into the past and enjoy furnishings and artwork from the last two centuries.

Telfair Academy operates under the Telfair Museums organization, which also oversees the Owens-Thomas House & the recently constructed modern art masterpiece, Jepson Center. You’ll get the best admission price if you purchase a package ticket that allows entry into all of these wonderful tourist attractions. History lovers and art aficionados will love a visit to all three museums.

The Telfair Academy of Arts and Science isn’t a place you rush through. The recommend time to browse all the exhibits here is at least 3 hours. So taking in all three Telfair museums will fill up and entire day if you are slowing enjoying the masterpieces and reproductions.

The original mansion and the new art museum both sit on Telfair Square -- part of the notable grid of squares that are the hallmark feature of the Savannah Historic District. So how did this Telfair family end up with a famous city square and world class museum named after themselves?

The Telfairs were quite an important family in Savannah during the late 1700s and 1800s. During the 19th century, Alexander Telfair commissioned the construction of his neoclassical Regency mansion. He was the son of Edward Telfair, who was the governor of Georgia in the early days of the United States. In fact, Governor Telfair was the first executive of the state who served after the ratification of Georgia’s constitution in 1789. To give you a sense of history, 1789 was the year George Washington’s first term as President began.

Edward Telfair fought in the Revolutionary War as a soldier long before his political career began. His daughter Mary would be the one to transfer the family mansion into the hands of the Georgia Historical Society. The city of Savannah has benefited greatly by the contributions of this family. Visiting their former home that is now open to the public for educational enrichment and artistic appreciation is one way you can learn more about the history of Savannah.

The only disappointment many tourists mention on visiting The Telfair Academy is the “no photography rule.” Countless tourists go to this museum to see the fascinating paintings. Some go here for the Greek & Roman sculpture reproductions (among others). Many go to see the famous Bird Girl Statue that was featured on the cover of the novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Unfortunately, taking photos inside the museum is restricted.

For more than 125 years, The Telfair Academy of Arts & Science has welcomed visitors who are ready to step back into time a walk through period rooms from the 19th century or view inspiring artwork from both the 19th and 20th centuries. The tradition continues in Savannah as the past comes alive in one of America’s most beautiful cities.

Telfair Academy opens at 10am Tuesday - Saturday and at 1pm Sunday and noon on Monday.

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