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Savannah Museum honors African-American neighborhood

Courtesy Pin Point Heritage Museum

A new cultural institution, the Pin Point Heritage Museum, will celebrate the heritage of Savannah, Georgia’s waterfront African-American community, Pin Point.

Set to open in the fall, the new museum will be housed in the former A.S. Varn and Son Factory on the Moon River. The museum will tell the fascinating story of the Pin Point community through educational exhibits, live demonstrations, a documentary film, interactive displays and the words of the people, primarily of African descent, who have lived there for generations.

“The Pin Point Heritage Museum will be an important local and national resource featuring informative exhibits and historic archives,” said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who was born and raised in Pin Point. “This community has a uniquely American story to tell, and it’s important that the values of hard work, faith, family and friendship are preserved and shared with future generations.”

The Pin Point Heritage Museum, featuring more than 3,000 square feet of exhibition space, will share the history, traditions, language, spiritual life and culture of the community through artifacts, exhibits and interactive displays. It will also screen a half-hour documentary film about Pin Point, featuring in-depth interviews with many members of the community.

Each structure on the property — the oyster factory, picking and cooling house, can storage building and marshfront dock area — will be faithfully restored as closely as possible to their original conditions while housing multiple displays and exhibits. The existing tree canopy on the two-acre site will be preserved throughout the restoration and construction process.

A gift shop will be nestled next to the covered demonstration pavilion, providing an outdoor area for live demonstrations of crabbing, canning, shucking and shrimp-net making. Tabby sidewalks will connect the various outbuildings, with crushed oyster shells defining the nearby parking area.
Restoration and construction on the Pin Point Heritage Museum began in November. The A.S. Varn and Son Factory, with its familiar red tin roof, will be stabilized and preserved as a key part of the construction project. (The structure is currently sinking into the marsh.)

“The Pin Point Heritage Museum has been carefully designed to complement the existing community in Pin Point,” said Emily Lasko, spokesperson for the museum. “We have a deep respect for this tight-knit community, its history, values and its way of life.”