This is the second in a series of posts by students taking Historical Archaeology at Armstrong. In today’s post, Reinali Cermeno visits the Savannah History Museum to learn about history through archaeology in the museum’s exhibits.
Visiting the Savannah History Museum!
Downtown Savannah is known for its beautiful architecture, wonderful restaurants, and abundant history. On February 8, I had the pleasure of visiting the Savannah History Museum located on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. I can honestly say I had an amazing experience learning about Savannah’s historical archaeology! The museum is located in the Central of Georgia Railway’s Passenger Depot and Terminus facility where it operated until 1971, and reopened as a history exposition in the 1980’s. They have educational exhibits and a collection of over 50,000 artifacts. The museum takes us through Savannah’s history from 1733, covering the Revolution and Civil War, all the way through modern day including musical, cultural, and artistic historical contributions.
The first exhibit of the museum pertained to the Native Americans. In an enclosed glass case, there were six artifacts, belonging to the Native Americans, and on the bottom of the case you had six modern day tools. The concept was to match the artifact to what in modern day America it would be used for. If you were right a green light would light up! For example, there was an arrow head made between A.D. 507-1157, and the matching modern day tool would be a bullet that is used for hunting. This activity was fun, and I think it’s helpful so people understand artifacts.
Another exhibit that displayed Savannah historical archeology was the Colonial exhibit. This exhibit had many artifacts ranging in size from small pins to a beautiful vase. The vase belonged to John Gardiner who established a tannery in 1802, two blocks northwest from where it’s currently located. A pearlware platter was found by archaeologists who excavated his yard and believe it was made between 1792 and 1840. Collecting data from the artifacts has many benefits that can help us understand more about their diet, customs, and status.
The museum also has exhibits on other very interesting subjects such as: the rise of cotton, life on the water, Dr. Belford: Dentist of Savannah, Central of Georgia Railway, Savannah and the American Revolution, and Women of Merit: Juliette Gordon Low and the Girl Scouts just to name a few. I think it is a must-see museum! As residents or visitors to Savannah you should definitely stop by and learn about the amazing history of Savannah. Also check out the cool artifacts discovered by some of the best archaeologists here in Savannah. The donations and public support will continue to make a big difference in enhancing the current exhibit, and help archaeologists discover the missing parts of Savannah’s history in the future.