Telfair Museums in downtown Savannah has reopened its three sites – the Telfair Academy, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, and the Jepson Center for the Arts. The three museums closed to the public in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The museums, which share a single $20 admission fee, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays. During the initial reopening phase, they will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

“This is a major step toward restarting the cultural and tourism industry in Southeast Georgia,” said Bob Faircloth, Telfair’s acting director. “Our museums have a more than $9 million annual economic impact here in Savannah, we’re the city’s largest employer and provider of programming in the cultural arts sector, and we’re excited to get back to sharing the rich and important experience of art and history with Savannah residents and tourists.”

The museums have implemented a number of new health initiatives for visitors and staff, including social distancing, regular deep cleanings, hand sanitizer, plexiglass, face masks, and reduced-contact admissions procedures.

In particular, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, a National Historic Landmark, will have family-sized tour groups and a new audio component to help ensure the safety of guests on the 200-year-old property.

“This museum has been around since 1886 – the first U.S. museum founded by a woman and the oldest public art museum in the South,” Faircloth said. “We’ve been through the 1918 flu pandemic and other big disruptions before, and we’ve always come out stronger. And I’m happy to say we’ve done it again.”

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