Kiah House

Save the Kiah House

The Kiah House is a treasure beyond the physical building, which is in dire need of stabilization. The memories and stories that the Kiahs and their museum evoke are precious, and Dr. Deborah Johnson-Simon is capturing these memories for the future. But there are also stories and her/history embedded in the ground itself. “Unearthing” those stories is my specialty, archaeology. 

Digging and screening for artifacts in the Kiah House side yard, spring 2018.

In 2018, we did an archaeological study of the Kiah House, and we found an amazing wealth of artifacts. While the study was very preliminary, it showed the potential to learn about not only the Kiah Family, but also the Kandel family, Jewish European immigrants who owned the house from the 1920s through the 1940s. Most excitingly, we found soil layers dating before 1913, the year the house was built. This shows the potential for understanding life in the 1800s-era Cuyler-Brownsville neighborhood, of which there are few written documents.

A buckle and a fragment of pottery as they were unearthed at the Kiah House.

Your donation will enable us to do more archaeology to bring these stories to the forefront. Any amount is welcome and appreciated. Thank you! (If you are not comfortable giving online, checks can be mailed to the African Diaspora Museology Institute Inc., PO Box 5261, Savannah, GA 31414.)

Donations to the Go Fund Me will be used for

  • 50% – Emergency repairs to structure, property security measures including fencing, boarding up windows and doors, Preservation Assessment and Stabilization of Structures (Main Building and Carriage House), landscaping so the property isn’t taxed for blight
  • 50% – Historic preservation research of house and neighborhood, genealogy research on heirs, phase 2 archaeology survey, local architectural research to support application for Savannah’s official landmark designation
Students from Armstrong State University and Savannah State University joined Cuyler-Brownsville neighbors in working at the dig.

Every donation counts! In the words of the youngest inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman, “When your light shines brightest, what are you brave enough to see and what are you brave enough to be?” Be brave today and shine your light on the Kiah House Museum in Savannah and be the light for historic preservation of African American Heritage Preservation.

The Kiah House and Museum was listed on the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2021 Places in Peril.

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