New chief curator of the Telfair Museums already eyeing the future

Published: Feb. 2, 2022 at 11:32 AM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Alex Mann is settling in to his role as the new chief curator and director of curatorial affairs of the Telfair Museums in Savannah, but he’s already thinking about the future.

“I am building a list very, very fast of different ideas, some of which will become exhibits here and others I’ll put in a drawer and may pull back out two decades from now,” Mann said.

He arrived in November from Washington, DC, fresh off opening a new exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where he’d worked since 2017. Before the Smithsonian, he also worked at museums in Norfolk, Virginia and Providence, Rhode Island. He’s excited about the home town, community feel the Telfair has to offer.

“A big ship turns very, very slowly and so I’m excited to be in a place where we can be very responsive to the community because a smaller staff can listen really closely and sometimes react very quickly,” Mann said.

Mann holds a Masters degree in art history from Yale University and says his own self-awareness led him down this career path.

“I always had an interest in art, but discovered very early on that I was not good at actually making art,” Mann said. “Working in museums and in the classroom, working with students, was a way for me to be a part of these conversations that are so much fun.”

Most of his adult life has been spent in museums along the mid-Atlantic region, but Mann grew up and went to college in North Carolina. He says Savannah feels more like home.

“I’ve always been especially interested in the art and the history and the culture of my home region,” Mann said. “Savannah is not North Carolina, but they have a lot in common and so for me, it’s personally very gratifying to explore those stories and to dig into the archives here these are projects I want to do in the future.”

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