SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) — The past two years have been particularly challenging for museums with in-person crowds restricted for much of that time.

But the Savannah African Art Museum has adapted, grown and strengthened its impact on the community in the face of COVID-19 and is now reaching a wider audience than ever before.

The art inside this remodeled home on Savannah’s 37th Street is history. And history is not only displayed but also made here.

“We have about 28 countries represented from Central and West Africa, within the collection more than 180 cultural groups represented,” said executive director Billie Stultz.

The Museum of African Art in Savannah contains the most comprehensive collection of its kind in Georgia, consisting primarily of more than 1,000 pieces that the Kole family of Savannah acquired over four decades and wanted to share with the community and its young people.

“It is his absolute priority, that schoolchildren can come here. He wants it to be available for all children, for the whole community, but he really wants school-aged children to be able to come here and teachers not to have to worry about the price or anything. ”, Lisa Jackson mentioned.

“The main purpose of the museum is to share art and history with Savannah, especially middle school seventh graders.”

The museum has managed to continually expand this access and education since moving to this location three years ago, although two of those years were consumed by a pandemic. They added new exhibits in the last two months of February, created virtual tours and added remote programming as many museums closed due to COVID-19.

“You know what that did? This allowed us to reach a wider audience. We have people all over the world tuning in and watching.

“We continue to grow and the Koles continue to actively collect, so the collection continues to grow.”

The same goes for the museum’s impact on a local level, giving Savannah an unprecedented look at African culture.

“We are also very happy to have tourists come, but we also want the people of Savannah to know that this is your museum. Come in.”

“There is a presence in the museum, we cannot deny it. Once you walk through the door, it’s as if you sense a presence and wander amongst the living, breathing history. So, it’s very humbling and it’s very honoring to be able to work in a space like this.

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