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Ships of the Sea: Preserving Savannah's Maritime Legacy

Ships of the Sea_back of the house exterior

photo courtesy of Adam Kuehl

Savannah, Georgia, a city steeped in history and charm, holds a hidden gem that tells the captivating stories of its maritime past. Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, located in the heart of Savannah's Historic District, encompasses three distinct parts: the impressive collection, the landmark Scarbrough House and the enchanting gardens. 

As the only seafaring museum in Savannah, Ships of the Sea plays a vital role in preserving and sharing the city's rich maritime history.

01
A Test of Endurement Since 1966

Founded in 1966, Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum stands as a testament to Savannah's enduring connection to the sea. The museum's collection showcases a remarkable array of ship models, paintings, and maritime antiques, offering visitors a glimpse into the illustrious seafaring history of Savannah. From the Age of Sail to modern-day shipping, the museum's exhibits tell the stories of brave sailors, bustling ports, and the economic significance of maritime trade.

02
Welcome to Scarbrough House

Enveloped within the magnificent Scarbrough House, built in 1819 and designed by renowned British architect William Jay, Ships of the Sea provides a unique setting for visitors to inundate themselves in history. The Scarbrough House, once the residence of William Scarbrough, a prominent sea merchant, stands as a testament to the grandeur and wealth that maritime trade brought to Savannah. As you wander through its elegant rooms, you can almost hear the echoes of the past, envisioning the lives of those who shaped Savannah's maritime legacy.

03
Explore Beyond the Walls

Beyond the walls of the Scarbrough House lies a hidden oasis—the beautiful gardens of Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum. These meticulously designed gardens, the most extensive private gardens in Savannah's historic district, offer a tranquil escape from the bustling city. With carefully selected plants and thoughtful landscaping, the gardens provide a serene backdrop for visitors to explore and reflect. It is no wonder that these gardens have become a highly sought-after venue for weddings, receptions, galas, concerts, and corporate events.

04
An International Connection

Ships of the Sea is not just a museum; it is a cultural institution that plays a pivotal role in preserving and sharing the foundational stories of Savannah. The museum stands at the crossroads of Savannah's history, where maritime connections have shaped the city's identity. The streets of Savannah were once paved with ballast stones, a testament to the city's reliance on maritime trade. Wealthy sea merchants who prospered from the city's bustling port built magnificent homes, like the Scarbrough House. Today, Savannah's port stands as the very hub of the town, connecting it to the world through international trade. 

05
A Maritime Past That Has Shaped the Future

It is astonishing to learn that Savannah's port is the third-busiest gateway in the nation, surpassed only by the ports of New York and Los Angeles. Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum stands as a beacon, illuminating the importance of Savannah's maritime connections. It tells the stories of brave sailors who navigated treacherous waters, of merchants who built fortunes on the seas, and of a city that thrived because of its maritime heritage. The museum's exhibits and artifacts bring history to life, allowing visitors to revisit and experience the sights, sounds, and stories of Savannah's maritime past.

So, come along, friends, and let the magic of Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum transport you to a realm where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Savannah's maritime history is brought to life in the most whimsical and captivating way, inviting you to embrace the childlike wonder within your heart. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a lover of art, or simply seeking tranquility in the gardens, Ships of the Sea is a must-visit destination that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for Savannah's maritime legacy. So set your compass to adventure, and let the wonders of Ships of the Sea guide you on a voyage you won't soon forget.

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