Street Address
324 East State St.
Savannah, GA 31401
Mailing Address
324 E. State Street
Savannah, GA 31401
Hours
Last tour beginning at 4 p.m.
Monday - Saturday10 AM - 4 PM
Sunday1 PM - 4 PM
A variety of before and after hours programs are offered throughout the year.
Admissions

Pioneers in Preservation multi-site pass: $21; Includes admission to Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, Andrew Low House, Davenport House Museum.

Group of 10 or more people with advance reservation: $6 per person

Group of 10 or more, walk-ins: $7 per person

Girl Scout Troops with advance reservation: $5 per Scout, 1 free adult for every 10 students, additional adults $5

Past Partners: National Trust for Historic Preservation: $7

General Admission: $9
Seniors (over 65): $8.10
Military (with ID): $8.10
Friends of the Davenport House: free
Friends of Historic Savannah Foundation: Free
Students (18-21): $7
Children (6-17): $5
Children under 6: Free
AAA (with ID): $8.10
Coastal Museums Association Reciprocal Admission Partners: Free
Museum Type(s)
Staff
Jamie Credle, Director
phone: 912-236-8097
Jeff Freeman, Assistant Director
phone: 912-236-8097
Ben Head, Shop Manager
phone: 912-236-8097

Description

At the Davenport House visitors glimpse into the American past when the nation was new and Isaiah Davenport, a young carpenter from New England, achieved success as a builder in his adopted city. The world of early 19th century Savannah is presented through the outstanding Federal-style home Davenport built for his household. Furnished as it would have been in the 1820s, the museum is an authentic period restoration.

While the story of the original owner?s time is compelling, the twentieth century history of the house offers a chronicle of dilapidation, rescue, and restoration. By the 1950s the building had become a rundown tenement. Its survival is a testament to the tenacity of seven Savannah women who saved the structure from demolition. Their action in 1955 prompted the founding of the Historic Savannah Foundation, which has ushered in the city's historic preservation renaissance.

Davenport House provides a look at domestic life and aesthetics from an earlier time as it welcomes visitors to historic Savannah.

Mission

The mission of the Isaiah Davenport House Museum is to preserve and interpret the American Federal-style house, and the artifacts within, built by master builder Isaiah Davenport for his household with an emphasis on the years 1820-27, in order to educate, enrich and inspire our visitors and the community, as well as recognize the historical role of the house in the founding of Historic Savannah Foundation.

History

The 1820 Federal-style dwelling was built by upwardly mobile artisan Isaiah Davenport and his crew for his growing household, which included his wife, children and slaves. It was his family home until his death in 1827 when his wife, Sarah Clark Davenport, converted it into a boarding house. She lived in the residence on Columbia Square until 1840 when she sold it to the Baynard family of South Carolina. The house remained in their hands for the next 109 years.

As time passed, the once stately home in a fashionable neighborhood became a rundown rooming house in a seedy part of town. Even in an advanced state of neglect, New Deal surveyors recognized the architectural significance of the home when they identified and measured it for the Historic American Buildings Survey in the 1930s.

Threatened with demolition in 1955, a group of community-spirited citizens joined forces to purchase the Davenport House. This was the first act of the Historic Savannah Foundation, which has gone on to save hundreds buildings in the historic city through its renowned revolving loan fund and other historic preservation activities. In 1955, the Davenport House became the office for Historic Savannah Foundation as well as a family services agency. Sensing the potential for an historic site, the first floor of the house was restored and opened to the public as a museum on March 9, 1963. Years later the second and third floors were opened and Historic Savannah Foundation moved its offices to another building. Beginning in the mid-1980s leaders of the museum began an effort to adhere to professional museum standards.

In the mid-1990s the museum began a re-restoration process, which resulted in a more authentic experience for museum visitors, including period wallpaper and period room furnishings which reflect the inventory taken at the time of Isaiah Davenport?s death in 1827. In 2005, the Davenport House received the Preserve America Presidential Award for Private Preservation. In 2010, the Museum receive the Georgia Award for the Humanities.

Artifacts Collections

Management of the museum's collection is governed by the board-approved Collections Policy and Procedures (2006). The museum uses the PastPerfect software program for its collections. There are currently approximately 500 items in the collection, including furniture, ceramics, lighting devices, metals, textiles, books, and other household ephemera. In addition there are approximately 200 fragments from an archeological dig conducted at the site and housed with the collection.

Educational Programs

Programs and Services:

The Davenport House's premier program is its guided tour program offered to visitors from around the world seven days a week -- 354 days a year. The tour is presented by docents who are trained through the Davenport House's Docent Training Program, which focuses on tour content and communication. The museum offers tour training for interested community groups including Savannah tour company personnel.

Special programs and events are held throughout the year to celebrate holidays and other activities.

Between Christmas and New Year's the museum is open for Holiday Evening Tours which focuses on early 19th century celebrations of New Year's. Potable Gold: Savannah's Madeira Tradition, which explores the close connection between the beverage and the seaport of Savannah, is offered on Friday and Saturday evenings in February to groups of up to 17 participants. Tea with Mrs. Davenport and Tea in the Garden were to new program initiated in 2008 to acquaint visitors with the tea history and tea drinking traditions of the early 19th century.

  • Begun in 2003, the Davenport House offers a Junior Interpreter program for teenagers wishing to volunteer at the museum and become tour guides. Currently there are 35 active JIs at the museum including 3 newly trained JIs. The museum has a JI program with Savannah Arts Academy where sophomore American students are trained to give tours in the fall of the year.
  • In 2003, the museum piloted living history program entitled Dreadful Pestilence: Encountering Yellow Fever intended to tap into the ghost tour market during the month of October. The program was awarded "Museum Program of the Year" by the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries in 2004 and was a staple of the museum until 2007.
  • To give the "yellow fever" program a rest in October, "our once cheerful island": The World of Savannah in 1824 was created and piloted in 2007. In October 2008 the museum's living history program focused on the visit of General Lafayette to Savannah in 1825 with the presentation "Greater than any thing ever witnessed in Savannah": Welcoming General Lafayette, the Nation's Guest.
  • We returned to Yellow Fever! Savannah's Epidemic of 1820 in 2009 with a new show which utilizes the entire property. An adaptation/revision of the new show was presented in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. A further revision took place in 2011. Between Christmas and New Year's the museum is open for Holiday Evening Tours which focuses on early 19th century celebrations of New Year?s. Potable Gold: Savannah?s Madeira Tradition, which explores the close connection between the beverage and the seaport of Savannah, is offered on Friday and Saturday evenings in February to groups of up to 17 participants.
  • We returned to Yellow Fever! Savannah's Epidemic of 1820 in 2009 with a new show which utilizes the entire property. An adaptation/revision of the new show was presented in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. A further revision took place in 2011.
  • Between Christmas and New Year's the museum is open for Holiday Evening Tours which focuses on early 19th century celebrations of New Year's. Potable Gold: Savannah's Madeira Tradition, which explores the close connection between the beverage and the seaport of Savannah, is offered on Friday and Saturday evenings in February to groups of up to 17 participants. Tea with Mrs. Davenport and Tea in the Garden were to new program initiated in 2008 to acquaint visitors with the tea history and tea drinking traditions of the early 19th century.

Facilities

Site:

The Davenport House is situated on Columbia Square at the corner of State and Habersham Streets in the Historic District of Savannah, Georgia. The house is one of the oldest brick structures in the city owning to common use of wood construction during the town's earliest history.

Sitting directly on the street the two-and-a-half story urban dwelling contains a total of 6,800 square feet involving a basement level, which originally housed the kitchen, storage and possible slaves' "personal" space , the first floor housing the public areas, and the second and third floors which were bedroom and storage space. The Davenport home sits on Columbia Ward's lot number 13, which originally measured (and continues to measure) 60 feet by 90 feet. The rear portion of the lot at one time held a carriage house, garden and privy.

The site now contains lot number 14 which is the museum's courtyard garden. The garden was a Bicentennial project of Savannah's Trustees Garden Club. It has since been redesigned under the guidance of renowned English landscape designer Penelope Hobhouse. While not a true restoration, the garden is maintained by volunteers ?in the spirit of the original owners' and is planted with varieties of plants known to the Davenports and typical of coastal Georgia.

Governance

The Davenport House is owned by Historic Savannah Foundation, which is overseen by a Board of Trustees. Historic Savannah Foundation is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. The museum has an Endowment Board of Directors who oversees investments and owns the Kennedy Pharmacy Building. The Davenport House Committee, comprised of 14 community members, is a recommending body to the museum director. The committee is led by an executive committee made up of a Chairman. Both members of the Endowment Directors and Davenport House Committee are elected to staggered three-year terms and act according to organizational documents - the Amended and Revised Davenport House Endowment Agreement, etc.

Publications

  • Publications and Media: The Davenport House Museum: Savannah's Beacon of Preservation, 2007.
  • Monthly volunteer newsletter.
  • Column in Historic Savannah Foundation's quarterly e-newsletter.
  • Biannual Friends of the DH newsletter.
  • DVD production: Historic Savannah Foundation Story (2012), Isaiah Davenport: Portrait of a Master Builder (2012), Yellow Fever in Savannah (2013)

ADA

It is the goal of the Davenport House Museum to provide a quality level of accessibility to the museum's interpretation that can be accomplished within the institutional mission. We recognize, however that the preservation and interpretation of an early 19th century historic building may present to challenges for our visitors. Because we are a museum, our efforts focus on balancing our commitments to preserve the historical resources in our care and to increase access to them. It is, therefore, in our interest to develop and provide opportunities that facilitate reasonable access to the museum's educational programs, operation, and services to a diverse public.

Visitors with special needs should communicate with the museum ahead of a planned visit to inquire about available services and assistance. With reasonable lead-time much can be done to facilitate a quality experience. If advanced notice is not possible, identifying special needs upon arrival will allow the museum to respond to needs reasonably.

Parking:

The museum provides no parking for visitors. The closest city metered space is for people with disabilities. It is on Habersham Street adjacent to the Kennedy Pharmacy Building (107 Habersham Street).

Mobility:

Adequate, safe wheelchair access is available to the basement level of Davenport House Museum which includes the museum shop, rest room, water fountain, staff offices. The museum's courtyard and garden is wheelchair accessible from both Habersham and State Streets.

On request a DVD will be shown at no charge. It provides a guided tour of the museum.

In addition to the hall chairs on each level of the museum's exhibit floors, portable, stable seating is available.

Vision:

A large print (18 point or larger) is be available in a three-ringed binder at the admission desk.

Touch baskets, which include fabric and plasters samples, are available in the museum rooms.

Flashlights or hand-held spotlights will be used by docents to illuminate objects and areas of conversation if a visitor identifies himself or herself as needing such assistance.

Hearing/Speech:

Additional information in written form is available in each room. (in room notebooks)

Large print materials with streamlined language will be available.

If a visitor identifies special needs a docent will illuminated objects/areas being discussed with a flashlight or handheld spotlight.

If a visitor identifies special needs a docent will take along an erasable writing board to communicate with the visitor.

Developmental/Emotional/Mental

If a visitor or attendant identifies special needs in advance of arrival, museum staff will provide a simple, straightforward experience using unembellished language delivered at the pace requested.

Wheelchair Accessible

Restrooms