Built in 1819 for the wealthy Telfair family, the Telfair Academy became an art museum in 1886, making it one of the oldest of its kind in the USA. The neoclassical-Regency mansion boasts 19th-century American and European paintings and sculptures; and rooms furnished in period style. Visitors explore independently with their standard admission tickets, which also grant access to the Telfair Museum of Art’s Jepson Center and Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters.
Buy admission online to save time in Savannah, or join a hop-on hop-off trolley tour and alight at Stop 13 outside the Telfair Academy for a convenient independent visit. The Academy also features on historical Savannah walking and Segway tours; and on combo experiences teaming Historical District sightseeing itineraries with River Savannah cruises. Rumors of hauntings at the Academy also make it a fixture on some ghost tours.
Things to know before you go
- The Telfair Academy will delight anyone interested in art, architecture, and history.
- The museum is stroller- and wheelchair-accessible.
- Allow around 1.5 hours to look around the galleries.
How to get there
The Telfair Academy overlooks Telfair Square in Savannah’s Historic District, just a few minutes’ walk from its two sister institutions. The easiest way to reach it is using Savannah’s fare-free DOT shuttle: buses on its Forsyth Loop stop near Telfair Square. Alternatively, all the city’s CAT buses, apart from #6, #12, and #20, stop outside the Academy. Drivers will find payable street parking and parking garages nearby.
When to get there
The Academy is open throughout the week but is closed on public holidays. The galleries are generally quiet, but for the most peaceful environment, arrive near the opening time. When visiting, look out for free guided tours to learn more about the Academy’s history.
Highlights of the Telfair Academy
Wander the mansion to admire its art, including American Impressionist and Ashcan Realism works by artists such as Gari Melchers and George Bellows. Plus, don’t miss Savannah’s famous Bird Girl—a 1936 bronze sculpture that stood in Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery before being immortalized on the 1994 cover of John Berendt’s Savannah-based novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
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