Museum History and Governance
A Message from the Executive Director
Welcome to the Andrew Low House Museum website. If this is your first opportunity to get to know us, I invite you to explore this site and learn more about our history and our offerings.
The house is named after its original owner, Andrew Low II, who came to this country as a Scottish immigrant at the age of seventeen. Today, as a historic house museum, we give visitors a glimpse of domestic life in the 1850s thriving seaport of Savannah. It was home to the Low family and the enslaved men and women who lived here. Later, Juliette Gordon Low, daughter-in-law of Andrew Low and founder of the Girl Scouts, lived here during the early formation of what became the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.
As I write this message, the world continues to adapt and cope with a global pandemic and its economic impact. Simultaneously, our country continues to transform as a result of the collective reckoning we have experienced in race relations across America. We at the Andrew Low House Museum acknowledge the history of our own site within our country’s painful history of slavery. Andrew Low owned enslaved men and women as property, and this fact is part of the story that we tell. We strive to tell the complete and transparent narrative of the site and deeply value the history of the enslaved women and men who labored here.
Historic house museums serve to inform and educate us about our shared history, sometimes joyful, sometimes painful, but always with lessons to be learned. History enriches our lives and our communities and opens up conversations about the past and its relation to the world we live in today.
Our site has many stories to tell and whether you are visiting us from another state, another country, or if you call Savannah your home, we look forward to making your experience an unforgettable one.
The Museum is governed by The National Society of The Colonial Dames in the State of Georgia. Formed in 1893, the NSCDA-GA was the twelfth corporate society to become a member of the NSCDA, an organization devoted to furthering an appreciation of our national heritage through historic preservation, educational projects and patriotic service.
The NSCDA, which has been a leader in the field of historic preservation since 1897, is a lineage society. Members must be lineal descendants of an ancestor who rendered significant service to his or her country during the Colonial period prior to July 5, 1776. The NSCDA headquarters is located at Dumbarton House, a Federal period museum in Washington, D.C.
The Georgia Society is one of 44 Corporate Societies across the country that make up the parent organization. One of the most recent projects of the NSCDA-GA is the placement and dedication of a historical marker to Mary Musgrove in 2019. Musgrove, born to a Yamacraw mother of the Creek Nation and an English father, served as a cultural liaison between colonial Georgia and her Native American community in the mid-eighteenth century. She played a vital role in mediation between the colonists and the Creeks, ensuring peace in the Georgia colony. Learn more about Musgrove here.
On January 19, 1928, the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Georgia purchased the house from Juliette Gordon Low’s family for $37,500, shortly after her death. The Georgia Dames used the house as their headquarters for meetings and social gatherings. Between 1929 and 1937, the basement of the home was turned into a restaurant called “Colonial Kitchens.” The upstairs rooms were sometimes rented for income to help pay for the purchase of the home, as well as maintenance.
The Georgia Society opened the home to the public for limited tours in 1952. By 1966, the Andrew Low House was open to the public for touring seven days a week. Georgia Dames have shown an unwavering dedication for the preservation, interpretation, and maintenance of the Andrew Low House through the years. To learn more about the restoration initiatives through the years you may enjoy reading The Andrew Low House, a brief history of the home published by the University of Georgia Press in 2018. It is available in our Museum Shop. The home was listed in the National Register of Historic Places at the national level of significance as a contributing historic property in the Savannah National Historic Landmark District in 1966.
In the early 2000s, the Museum received a grant from the prestigious Save America’s Treasure Program, a joint initiative by the National Park Service, Institute of Library and Museum Services, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Grants from this program are awarded to properties that have demonstrated national historic significance. In late 2018, the Georgia Society purchased an 1888 historic structure on the corner of Abercorn and Harris Street, 319 Abercorn Street. This beautiful home, now known as Abercorn House, has become the new Headquarters of the NSCDA-GA. The Andrew Low House Museum joined the NSCDA Museum Alliance, Great American Treasures, in 2019. GAT is an alliance of museums and properties all across the country that are either owned, managed, or supported by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America. Visit the Great American Treasures website to learn more about the fascinating history of these historic places.