Learn “intriguing” stories behind the antiques in the Andrew Low House and the Green-Meldrin House museums — and maybe learn an intriguing story about an item in the corner of your own house — during Savannah Antiques & Architecture Weekend from March 3-4.
There will be lectures on what you see in these museums along with architecture tours, which include a rare guided look around the sanctuary of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
“We’re doing this to educate people about preservation and history,” said Green-Meldrim volunteer curator Jane Pressly. It is also a chance for the community to learn more about the architecture and John Norris, the architect of these two houses as well as about 27 other buildings in Savannah beginning in 1846 through the next 16 years, she said.
This is a new fundraiser for these house museums on the National Register of Historic Places and Landmark Houses. It also is for the community to better understand the history of these buildings and their contents, along with the value and true story behind a family heirloom.
All ticketed events are open to the public by reservation, space permitting.
On March 3, historian John Sheftall will give a humorous talk about fabulous finds during a special luncheon with a Madeira wine tasting. An evening cocktail reception will include a live auction.
On March 4, a lunch and learn will reveal the stories behind original pieces in both houses, including a pink tiara from the Andrew Low House and furniture brought from France to the Green-Meldrim House, and the appraised value of certain pieces. There will be trolley tours of the museum houses, St. John’s Sanctuary and John Norris architecture.
During the day-long “What’s in your attic?” event, participants may bring their own treasure for valuation by antiques experts Lark Mason of Lark Mason Associates in New York, Amanda Everard, owner of Everard Auctions and Appraisals in Savannah, and Jane Mullino, owner of Jewelry and Silver Specialists on Isle of Hope.
There, guests can bring an heirloom with a family back story and learn its true history and current market value.
“My advice is to choose something you are interested in learning more about the history more than anything else,” said Mason, a Chinese art and antiquities expert. Don’t try to predict what has value, she added.
Mason and antique furniture specialist Everard have appraised items on the popular PBS show “Antiques Roadshow,” though this event is not for that show; it is a fundraiser for the two house museums.
Prices vary depending on what you attend. With your $15 ticket, you can bring one item to the March 4 verbal valuation event at Cranmer Hall on West Charlton Street. To help you choose wisely, bring an item with family history, an object that has been prized within the family and has survived for a number of generations, Mason said.
“Our role is to solve a mystery and help provide contacts concerning the artwork they have and give them an idea of value,” he said.
There will be four appraisals per half hour, so you get 7 minutes of their time, more or less. Mason said he usually only needs just 1 to 2 minutes to decide the history and value of a particular item.
Oftentimes there is family lore, passed down from generations, believing an item is from the 18th century, whatever the scenario, Everard said.
“Sometimes it works out, and it could be that, and sometimes we as appraisers have to burst the bubble … We can give them what we see from the history of the object that does not involve the family … You could actually find out it is something amazing.”
IF YOU GO
What: Savannah Antiques & Architecture Weekend
When: March 3-4
Where: Various locations
Info: savantiquesweekend.com or 912-233-1828, ext. 104
Historic Madeira Luncheon and “What’s in Your Attic?”
What: Presentation by John Sheftall, historian and expert on attic exploration
When: Noon luncheon with Madeira tasting
Where: The Chatham Club, 14th floor of Hilton Savannah DeSoto, 15 E. Liberty St.
Cocktail reception, live auction
What: Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres with celebrity appraisers
When: 6:30 p.m.
Where: Green-Meldrim House, 14 W. Macon St.
What’s in Your Attic? Individual Verbal Valuations
What: One item per person; bring your own treasure for a verbal valuation with three antiques dealers
When: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Cranmer Hall, first floor, 27 W. Charlton St.
Cost: $15, sold in time blocks allowing four verbal appraisals per half hour
The French Connection: Savannah’s Treasures from Famous Attics
What: Southern box lunch and stories behind original pieces from the families of both houses, along with an assessment of the objects’ values. Speakers are Green-Meldrim House volunteer preservationist Susan Arden-Joly, Andrew Low House director Stephen Bohlin and celebrity appraiser Amanda Everard.
When: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Where: Cranmer Hall, 27 W. Charlton St.
Museum Houses, St. John’s Sanctuary and John Norris Architecture Trolley Tour
What: Private tours will highlight 19th-century architect John Norris. Old Town Trolley riders will see examples of additional Norris designs along the route between locations.
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: The Andrew Low House, 329 Abercorn St.; Green-Meldrim House, 14 W. Macon St.; St. John’s Church, Madison Square
Cost: $25, including trolley
Note: Trolley tours begin at 10 a.m. with pick-up at the corner of Bull and Harris streets. Last pick-up is at 3 p.m. Tours last about 30 minutes.
Southern Box Lunch
What: Order a Southern box lunch for trolley tours or between events.
When: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Where: St. John’s Courtyard, 1 W. Macon St.