on February 8, 2006
When you're the last in a long line of a distinguished southern family, what do you do with the family home? If you're Mary Telfair, you use it to found the south's oldest art museum. Built in 1819 for Alexander Telfair (Mary's brother), William Jay designed this house at nearly the same time as the Owens-Thomas House. They're both now owned by the Telfair Museum of Art, which opened in this building in 1886.The permanent collection in the museum concentrates, logically enough, on American art from the 18th century onwards. The best pieces are American Impressionist paintings. However, there are also works by Kahlil Gibran, author of The Prophet. Of course, The Bird Girl, the statue featured on the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is here in the sculpture garden, too.The real highlight is the building. It was expanded, initially, for the 1886 opening of the museum, but you can still see and feel the house it must have been. The rooms at the front are used for the worthwhile furniture collection, and preserve a sense of what kind of home Jay designed for the Telfair family.If you're going here and the Owens-Thomas house, there's a combination ticket available that will save you 50% off the second ticket in the end.
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