When you purchase a museum membership, a host of benefits accompany that expense. They are often detailed in a beautiful pamphlet; things like: discounts to the museum store, free or advanced entry to special exhibitions; members only soirees, and so on. What these brochures may fail to explain in full detail is how that money is funneled back into the community by way of outreach programs. Countless individuals who might not otherwise have the opportunity can experience art. In some cases, this cultural exposure may be life altering. A child might visit a museum on a school trip and experience a lightning rod moment that causes them to choose art as a vocation. A senior citizen might be able to participate in a free workshop that spurs their interest in a creative outlet and keeps their mind active.
The Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center in Savannah is cited for having “unparalleled devotion to mixing art with public service,” and its community outreach since its inception in 2006 is impressive. As the primary city hub for art education, it has provided tours to over 54,800 students. As one Savannah Chatham County Public School Administrator recognized, “many of these students would not have access to a culturally significant facility” because many local school populations have a high poverty rate.
Art education at the Jepson isn’t confined to the building. The Center also provides outreach to hospitals, Veteran’s Administration clinics, senior centers, health and wellness centers, and low-income communities throughout Savannah. Since 2006, over 16,500 at-need individuals have benefited from Jepson Center opportunities. The Jepson center also uses outreach to provide a bridge between other community organizations. Over 110 partner organizations including churches, businesses, youth programs, schools, and more have collaborated with the Jepson Center as the common bond in these relationships.
The next time you are considering a museum membership, remember that it really is so much more that what it appears at face value, for both you and many others. Museum patronage is a wonderful way to support the local community at large.
For admission and hours to all of the Telfair Museums properties, click here.