Tenth Year and Still the Fever Rages!

August 11th, 2012

DREADFUL PESTILENCE: Savannah’s Yellow Epidemic of 1820 – at the Davenport House

The October living history presentation at the Davenport House marks the tenth consecutive year the Museum has presented a theatrical production intended to amplify and showcase Savannah history in creative and thrilling ways.

“It is our responsibility to present the story of the port city of the 1820s,” explains DH Director Jamie Credle. “This is a decade little known by most people, and we have to do it in appealing ways. For our programs,” she adds, “our Museum has to find and serve an audience.”

And according to Credle, the Museum found that audience right outside its front door.

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Davenport House’s 2012 Service Scholarship Recipient Announced

May 3rd, 2012

Savannah Christian Prep’s Carlie Ayn Williams

Over the past years the Davenport House Museum has produced a notable number of Junior Interpreters (JIs) who have gone on to become stand-out students in high school and later in college. To acknowledge this record, the Davenport House presents a scholarship annually to an outstanding high school student who demonstrates qualities which put the museum and its community in the best light. This year’s award will be presented to Savannah Christian Preparatory School senior Carlie Ayn Williams at the Davenport House’s Annual Garden Party on Thursday, June 7th. The Davenport House Endowment Director’s initiated the scholarship program in 2011. The Critz Family is the sponsor of the 2012 Davenport House Service Scholarship.

The Davenport House (DH) began the Junior Interpreter program in March 2003 to provide an educational and a service-oriented program for students in grades nine through twelve. During summer 2003 the first group of JIs completed training and began giving tours of the museum house. In the fall of 2005 the Davenport House and Savannah Arts Academy began offering the JI program in the evening to sophomore American history students. Since 2003 over one hundred and forty young people have participated in the DH’s JI programs. read more…

Thinking About Holiday Clothes During the Davenports’ Time

November 29th, 2011

“Best Bibs and Tuckers”1: What Did Dressing Up in the 1820s Mean?

At this time of seasonal sweaters and holiday finery, it does us good to recall the transformation that took place almost two hundred years ago that made the constant, conscious ruminations over the production of clothing and the manufacture of cloth obsolete. When we thumb through a catalog or surf outfits on-line, we rarely, if ever, think of how or who made these items of apparel. This was not the case in the 1820s when the Davenports lived in their fine brick home on Columbia Square. At that time the household was in the midst of the textile revolution which took Americans, beginning in the late 18th century, from spinning threads and weaving their own cloth into “homespun” to purchasing machine-made fabrics such as cambric, gingham, nankeen, osnaburg, bomazeen and sarsnet at a dry goods purveyor in the port city. Yet, the women of the household still had to coordinate the production of clothing as well as the constant tasks of mending and caring for clothing and cloth items already made.

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DH’s Yellow Fever Explores the Spiritual and the Political of the 1820s Epidemic!

September 8th, 2011

In October for the ninth year the Davenport House Museum will stage a recreation of Savannah’s yellow fever epidemic of 1820. Every Friday and Saturday evening the garden and interior of the house are transformed into a theater set conveying the emotions surrounding the time.

Each year the performance has focused on a different aspect and point of view while maintaining the basic story of the dreadful pestilence which transformed a bustling seaport into a ghost town, devoid of the majority of its population.

This year’s performance promises to take its visitors where it has not gone before. Using the restored Kennedy Pharmacy as a stand-in for the city’s public gathering place in 1820, the Exchange Long Room at the foot of Bull Street occupied by City Hall today – the controversial war between Savannah newspapers which occurred in the weeks preceding the outbreak of yellow fever and which continued well into the epidemic, will be re-created in the first part of the evening’s performance.

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Fireplaces and Home Fires at the Davenport House

December 2nd, 2010

This winter, cold, piercing, winter! I am half frozen, with my back close to the fire and a foot stove beneath my feet.” (Margaret Baynard Smith speaking of Washington, DC in the early 19th Century)

Fireplaces and Home Fires at the Davenport House

Are we oblivious??!! One wonders, if we were stripped of our modern necessities – running water, central air and refrigeration – would we be able to manage?!! This isn’t rhetorical pontification. As we turn our thoughts to the upcoming winter months and impending holiday celebration, could we build and maintain a fireplace till spring? In the 19th century the winter hearth was a necessity in daily living as well as a comforting center of the home during the colder months and yet, what reference do we really have to it — really?

In thinking of a topic to concentrate on for holiday research, the DH settled on home fires and fireplaces as a way to amp up interest in past daily living and holiday celebrations. Who doesn’t like a roaring fireplace?! And, for many of us our only frame of reference to an open fire in the home is during the holidays. But for 19th century Savannahians, wood fires were a daily necessity – that is if one wanted warm, cooked food – even in the summer.

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Delightful Holiday Concoctions

December 1st, 2010

Jellies and Syllabub . . . And how different our worlds are . . .

By Jamie Credle, Davenport House

Have you noticed when visiting one of the fine 18th century houses such as those in Colonial Williamsburg the arrangement of small cylindrical glasses with colorful jellies and creams inside that centers the festive table? In the grandest of homes, such as the Governor’s Palace, these glasses are often arranged in a dessert pyramid of glass salvers. Sometimes placed around the jellies and creams are sweetmeats and cakes. Because of their placement one expects that they were a highlight both for the eye and as well as the appetite. read more…

History Behind the Living History

September 20th, 2010

From Washington Ward to Yamacraw . . . .

The Evolution of Savannah’s Epidemic of 1820.

For the past eight years the Davenport House has sought in its afterhours programming to reveal components of Savannah’s history from the 1820s that show historical trends, evoke empathy or beg remembrance so that the past is enlivened and understood a little more clearly. With closer examination and familiarity early 19th century events become vivid and sometimes even scarier. read more…

Davenport House Junior Interpreters to Shine

August 1st, 2010

Junior Interpreter Day – 2010

After eight weeks of summer training Davenport House Junior Interpreters (JIs) will give tours to the public for the first time on Friday, August 6 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Community members, friends and family are invited to visit the museum at a discounted rate (2-for-1) to see area young people shine. The seven high school students who will complete the program with DH Junior Interpreter Day are aShanté Coles of Savannah High/Liberal Arts, Ellie Darbyshire of Savannah Country Day, Cassidy Hatcher of Johnson High School, Ashley Rauls of St. Andrews School, Lauren Stewart of Savannah Christian, Carlie Ayn Williams of Savannah Christian and Emily Waller of Savannah Country Day.

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DH Recognized by the Governor

May 12th, 2010

. . . .The historic house museums which dot our landscape are a testament that the world did not begin when we were born. . . . Dr. Jamil Zainaldin, president, Georgia Humanities Council

SAVANNAH’S DAVENPORT HOUSE MUSEUM RECEIVES GOVERNOR’S AWARD IN THE HUMANITIES

On Tuesday, May 11 Savannah’s Davenport House Museum was one of twelve recipients recognized at the 25th Governor’s Award in the Humanities at a ceremony in the Old Georgia Railroad Depot in Atlanta. “The museum was honored for its fifty years plus journey to create an accurate, well-preserved, sustainable, vital and exciting place to learn history. This includes its reinterpretation efforts, the raising of an endowment, its education programs and the energized and growing community of volunteers, staff and supporters who feel a part of and share the fine house museum on a regular basis,” notes the DH director, Jamie Credle . “The Davenport House is in illustrious company as a recipient of the Governor’s Award,” read more…

Experience the “City Isaiah [Davenport] Knew”

April 4th, 2010

New Tour Discovers Savannah of the 1820s

Do you ever you wonder what is left of the city Lafayette saw, the city William Jay walked, the city Isaiah Davenport helped build? A new early morning walking tour, presented by the Davenport House Museum, explores what is left of early19th century Savannah and reflects on what is no longer there. “As we thought about this new tour we wondered what is left of the early 19th century city that boomed in the 1810s, busted in 1819, burned in 1820 and recovered throughout the following decade,” offers Jamie Credle, director of the Davenport House. After consulting Historic Savannah: A Survey of Significant Buildings and Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ NAHRGIS database, she continues, “What we found is that there is a lot to see – both precious and functional.” The new tour, passing by at least 44 of these structures, is offered on Saturday mornings in May at 7:30 a.m. read more…

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