Wednesday, April 19, 2017

4th Day in Savannah, Georgia

Don and I spent the morning and early afternoon today at the Telfair Museums. We started at the Jepson Center, a museum devoted to contemporary art and rotating exhibitions. It is very child-friendly. We heard the sound of singing and laughter, and there are several hands-on activities for the kids. Telfair is a big name around Savannah-- there is even a Telfair Square-- and Mary Telfair was known for both her eccentricity and her philanthropy.

Jepson Center (Source)
The museum houses the "Bird Girl" statue from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, both a best-selling book and movie. Originally, she stood in a cemetery, but she was removed to the museum because she was drawing hordes of tourists to the once-quiet spot. The more sterile-looking environment in the museum was deemed safer for the statue and for the cemetery. From her current position, her back is also clearly visible to the numerous tourists who pass by to see her from the street below.

A version of the Savannah Bird Girl (Source)

The Jepson Center also featured an interesting, temporary exhibit of artist Nick Cave, a performance artist best known for his "Sound Suits." He made his first one out of sticks, inspired by the beating of Rodney King. They are constructed of found materials around a theme, and meant to be worn and performed-in. The museum booklet calls them, "A second skin that conceals race, gender, and class, soundsuits camouflage the body, forcing viewers to look without bias or judgment." They can also be pretty noisy, as a video of the performers attested.

Our next stop was the Telfair Academy, the "oldest public art museum in the South and the first art museum in America founded by a  woman," and formerly Mary Telfair's family mansion. Pieces are mostly from the 1800's. There are also some plaster casts of famous works of art from the Vatican Museums. We found the museum well worth the visit.

Our last stop was the Owens-Thomas House, a National Historic Landmark, to visit the intact slave quarters and take a guided tour of "one of the finest examples of English Regency architecture in the country," according to a brochure. It is famous for its plumbing facilities, which were way ahead of their time. Also, the Marquis de Lafayette slept there and made a speech from one of its balconies. The house's walls are very thick and made mostly of tabby covered by stucco.

Owens-Thomas House (Source)

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