Jepson Center, Telfair Academy now free to locals on Saturdays and Sundays

free admission telfair museums jepson center academy savannah

From April 2-Aug. 28 2022, Telfair Museums in Savannah waives weekend admission fees for six-county region

Two of the most popular museums in Savannah, the Jepson Center for the Arts and the Telfair Academy, are now offering free admission to locals on weekends for a limited time.

On Saturdays and Sundays from April 2-Aug. 28, Telfair Museums is waiving admission fees at its two sites on Telfair Square to residents across a six-county region: Chatham, Bryan, Effingham, and Liberty (Georgia), and Beaufort and Jasper (South Carolina). Parking in downtown Savannah is free on Sundays.

The new offering is in celebration of the landmark exhibition The Art of William O. Golding: Hard Knocks, Hardships, and Lots of Experience, which opened April 1 at the Jepson Center. Golding, the African American son of a Reconstruction Georgia lawmaker, was tricked aboard a sailing vessel as a youth while playing on Savannah’s River Street in the 1880s. He spent nearly 50 years circling the globe on a variety of sailing and steam ships before returning to the U.S. Marine Hospital in Savannah, where he spent his final years illustrating his experiences from memory in fantastical, detailed scenes of the ports he claimed to have visited throughout his life, from China to the horn of South America. This original Telfair exhibition, the largest ever presented of Golding’s work and organized by senior curator Harry DeLorme, brings together more than 70 of his drawings for the first time.

“Golding’s story is both an exciting and poignant seagoing tale,” DeLorme said. “His life intersected with major events in world history, and he left his mark in drawings that are chock full of creative invention, personal symbolism, and sailor’s lore. His work reflects his pride of service as a Black seaman in the U.S. Navy during times of war, and he deserves a much larger place in the history of American art.”

The new free-admission program is the largest and longest ever offered in Telfair’s 136-year history, adding 44 free days in 2022. Beyond the Golding show, the program will extend access to more than a dozen other exhibitions at the Jepson Center and the Telfair Academy during the promotion period, with a distinctive emphasis on works by Black artmakers and artists with connections to Savannah.

“We wanted to do something special to commemorate this incredible exhibition and Golding’s life and work,” explained Ben Simons, Telfair’s executive director/CEO, “while at the same time celebrating our whole community being back together, out and about. The conversation quickly evolved from, ‘How can we make this one amazing exhibition free?’ to ‘How can we broaden access for thousands of people to join us in enjoying art and history again in person?’ It’s a huge personal priority of mine as director to expand accessibility for our community to all that Telfair offers, and a great testament to the passion of our board of directors, our funding partners, and our exceptional Telfair team. We’re just thrilled to be able to do this.”

Telfair’s third site, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters on Oglethorpe Square, is not included in the free-admission promotion due to the historic landmark’s ticketing and capacity limits, though it remains available for touring through museum membership or standard admission, which is $22.

The Jepson Center and the Telfair Academy are open daily from 10AM-5PM. Investment in the new free-admission program is provided by the City of Savannah, the Georgia Council for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other funding partners.

For more information, visit

Telfair Museums Free-Admission Program

When: 10AM-5PM Saturdays and Sundays, April 2-Aug. 28 2022
Where: Jepson Center and Telfair Academy, on Telfair Square in downtown Savannah
What: Free museum admission for locals; parking is free in Savannah on Sundays
Who: All residents of Chatham, Bryan, Effingham, and Liberty (Georgia), and Beaufort and Jasper (South Carolina) counties


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