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Savannah History Museum

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savannah history museum

Located inside the Savannah Visitor Information Center, The Savannah History Museum gives visitors a look into the city’s fascinating past from 1733 to the present day. Take your time as you stroll through a variety of exhibits that chronicle the many events and people that have shaped this grand city.

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See a steam locomotive from the Central of Georgia Railroad and the fashion exhibit that displays women’s evening gowns from the late 1800s to the 1960s. Other “must sees” include The Revolutionary War exhibit and the carriage owned by Juliette Gordon Low, the Founder of the Girl Scouts USA. Other exhibits include weapons and military uniforms, the bench featured in the movie Forrest Gump and items from Savannah’s railway history.

Ultimate Guide To The Savannah History Museum

Featuring cobblestone streets, gorgeous antebellum architecture and moss-covered oaks, Savannah also boasts an intriguing past. Experience the colorful history of this famous port city at the Savannah History Museum through exhibits that illustrate momentous occasions from the Colonial era through the American Revolution and the Civil War to contemporary times. You can explore significant military, cultural and artistic events that have made the Hostess City of the South a top vacation destination. Learn about the people who inhabited the area after it became the Birthplace of Georgia. See how the stories of the past shaped the present and impact the future when you view the more than 10,000-piece collection of civilian and military artifacts on display. The Savannah History Museum is an essential stop for those interested in learning more about the city’s rich and fascinating past.

History of the Museum

The building, situated in the Savannah Historic District, was constructed from the 1850s to the 1870s. The long, narrow structure was a passenger depot for the Central of Georgia, one of the nation’s first railway companies. It served as a train station for over 100 years until 1972. The Great Savannah Exposition, a historic attraction, was housed in the building 12 years later. In 1990, the Coastal Heritage assumed responsibility for operating the museum. It features one of the largest collections of artifacts related to Savannah and Coastal Georgia. The society preserves and presents resources that facilitate educational experiences for the public.

Must See Exhibits

Playing a role in the cultural history of the country, Savannah is a popular setting for movies, including “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” “Glory” and “Forrest Gump.” The bus stop scenes where Forrest sat on a bench telling strangers the story of his life were filmed in Chippewa Square. A replica of the bench is on display in the museum. Museum pieces also include a carriage owned by Savannah native Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts. An interactive exhibit highlights local Native American cultures.

The history exhibits chronicle events from pre-Colonial times to the present day. Artifacts on display include military uniforms and weapons and a 1902 Crestmobile that predate the Ford Model A. There is also an antique cotton gin. Eli Whitney developed the concept for the machine on the nearby Mulberry Grove Plantation. Along with period women’s clothing, you can also view items related to fishing, quilting, and other local activities. The Great Savannah Exposition mural was created for the city festival held in 1984. The painting depicts famous citizens like the city’s founder James Oglethorpe and iconic images, including the SS Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Tips for Visiting

The Savannah History Museum is located inside the city’s Visitor Center at the intersection of Louisville Road and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. It is open for self-guided tours seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The gallery is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. There is a nominal admission fee with discounts for children 12 and under. Pets are not allowed. The tour takes approximately one hour. Complimentary one-hour public parking is available next to the Visitor Center. After that, the fee is $1 per hour. The museum is also a stop on public bus routes, including the Dot Express.

Although parking can be found near the museum, you can avoid navigating congested city traffic by riding the Old Town Trolley. This educational and entertaining sightseeing tour provides insight into the history and little-known facts of Savannah. In addition to the Savannah History Museum, you can visit other well-known sites around the city. Hop off at a location that you want to explore further and check out the exhibits at your own pace. When you are finished, step aboard the next scheduled trolley and resume the tour exactly where you left off. An Old Town Trolley sightseeing tour is the most convenient way to experience many of Savannah’s must-see attractions.

Nearby Attractions

savannah battlefield parkBattlefield Memorial Park commemorates the American Revolutionary War Battle of Savannah that occurred October 9, 1779. You can see the redoubts and other earthworks where soldiers from three armies fought the second bloodiest engagement of the war. Approximately 800 soldiers were killed or wounded. Guides wearing period costumes detail the history of the battlefield.

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Museum of Art features rotating exhibits of contemporary works designed to enrich the education of the school’s students and inspire visitors from around the world. Hosting over 20 exhibits per year, the museum highlights works from a variety of acclaimed artists. Constructed in 1853, the museum building is a historic jewel built from Savannah gray bricks. The National Landmark structure is the oldest antebellum train depot in the country.

The Georgia State Railroad Museum is considered one of the most complete antebellum railroad complexes in the country. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this former roundhouse for the Central of Georgia Railway is a fine example of Victorian-era architecture. In addition to an operating turntable, it houses a variety of locomotives, railcars and historic machinery. Visitors can also view a variety of model train layouts and the nation’s oldest portable steam engine.

The perfect place for families to play and explore, the Savannah Children’s Museum features more than a dozen exhibits designed to spark children’s imaginations. It is housed in the upper and lower levels of the historic Central of Georgia Railway Carpentry Shop. The hands-on outdoor displays include an underground archaeology table, giant building blocks and life-sized children’s game boards. Children can also enjoy arts and crafts, a maze, a sensory garden and water play on hot days.

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