Our Experience at The Telfair Museums
Our Experience at The Telfair Museums
Note: This post is sponsored by Telfair Museums. All content and opinions expressed are my own.
This past weekend my family was able to experience the Telfair Museums in Savannah, GA. My family and I make it to the hostess city several times a month, but our trips usually consist of spending a lot of time at doctor visits or shopping instead of touring the city. This time around, we attempted to experience as much of the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters and the remarkable Jepson Center that we could in one day.
Our first stop was the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters that is located in the historic district. As a visitor of the historic home, you’re treated to guided tour of the main living areas. The well-preserved décor and artwork were quite a view to take in. Around every corner, my children “oh’d” and “ah’d” and it’s just an all-around beautiful place to see. They asked many questions about who lived there and if the people in the portraits were still living. They are aware of Savannah’s haunted history and they were very inquisitive about the possibility of the home having ghosts that still reside there.
My boys are at an age where they are fascinated with black history in America and around the world, so as we made our way down the stairs and into the basement (self-guided) there was a real spark that lit in their faces. It is one thing to see what slaves and African American lives were like in movies but to stand where they once slept, cooked, and raised families was a truly humbling experience for us all.
This portion of the home is a stark difference from the elaborate designs, colors, and furnishing of the homeowners. The children noticed that immediately and likened it to a cave. I imagine it could have been quite cold and dark prior to the modern addition of recessed lighting. The glass covered floors that protect the grounds where scientists and historians have dug to find many of the artifacts within the basement was a hit with the kids. The fact that the city that we visit so often has this much history that is still being dug up and discovered was exciting news for them.
In recent years, many changes have been added to make this area of the home more interactive with a projection of slaves working and an iPad to share even more about the lives of the people who maintained the pristine home. There are now cases that house artifacts and delve into the deeper history of slavery in Savannah, the heartbreak caused by separation of families, and much more. I have always admired the willingness of the Telfair Museums to face this torrid past with patience and elegance while still making efforts to move forward with compassion. This presentation in the museum is a beautiful must-see. It is one area that my family as whole wanted to linger and take it all in.
I am pleased that as a family we could enjoy this together and I would recommend this as a teaching moment for families from all walks of life and children of all ages. My youngest is five and she loved the experience as much as her big brothers.
With just a short ride across the original cobblestone streets that are still intact in the historic downtown we made our way over to W York Street to explore The Jepson Center. It is a structure that you can not miss as it is a massive piece of contemporary architecture. The white building and gorgeous glass panes are stunning. Once inside, it was just as beautiful, and we found ourselves awestruck by the massive staircase that led up to the numerous art exhibits.
As a parent, I really enjoy Savannah for the history lessons. However, as a creative and wanderlust mother, I love that the Jepson is devoted to contemporary art and brings in exhibitions from around the world. It exposes its visitors to a world that many may never be able to experience otherwise. On our visit, we had the chance to walk through clouds of hanging sculptures by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, muse under the beauty of the katniss plant mobile hanging in the atrium by Katherine Sandoz, and even step into the world of Japanese video game designer Keita Takahashi.
We are a big technology family. For the boys, who love video games and online competitive games. They were immediately drawn into the systems by Keita Takahashi. I was surprised to see how easily they grasped the concepts of the games. They expressed to me that it looked different from the systems they have at home but they are “user-friendly”. The controller on the “Alphabet” game was designed specifically to allow large groups to play together. That was a fun interactive experience for us all.
The ArtZeum is a wonderland. It was hard to pull them away. Every nook and cranny has something to let a child’s creativity run wild. If you want to spark joy for your family just visit this interactive children’s museum for a few hours. I assure you that it will cause the five-year-old creative in you to jump out. Seeing the kids play dress up, build structures from little connecting triangles, and learn new facts about art was heartwarming. It shows us that through storytelling and using our hands we all have the ability to create masterpieces.
It takes more than a few hours to see all three of the Telfair Museums sites, but a day is just long enough to know that they are places that you’ll want to visit often. My family will be headed back in the summer, and especially since they’ll be out of school. I know visiting over a weekend will allow us to get even more out of the sites!