Louisiana State Museum

Louisiana State Museum, The Presbytere.

The Louisiana State Museum (LSM), founded in New Orleans in 1906 and still headquartered there, is a statewide system of National Historic Landmarks and modern structures across Louisiana, housing thousands of artifacts and works of art reflecting Louisiana's legacy of historic events and cultural diversity.


The Louisiana State Museum system has its beginnings in the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904 at St. Louis, Missouri. A large number of pertinent artifacts were gathered to be displayed at Louisiana's exhibition at this fair. After the Exposition, it was decided that this collection should be stored, expanded, and displayed. The Louisiana State Museum was established in 1906 to fulfill this role. The Presbytere and the Cabildo buildings, located on either side of the St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square, were some of the first properties that the Louisiana State Museum was lodged in. The Louisiana State Museum now has thirteen properties around the state: historic structures, museums open to the public, and modern purpose-built buildings.

Over the past 100-plus years, the Louisiana State Museum has not only operated museums and maintained buildings, but it has served as the repository for all things historic from the state’s past. As Louisiana has been part of a French colony, a Spanish colony, Napoleon’s short-lived property, the United States' Louisiana Purchase territory, and finally the state of Louisiana; the Louisiana State Museum’s collections of artifacts and documents are an important asset for understanding state, national, and even global history.

In addition to protecting and preserving Louisiana’s historic artifacts and buildings, the Louisiana State Museum is proactive in many areas concerning the state’s unique culture and history. Several new museum sites have opened in the last ten years or so, including the Wedell-Williams Aviation & Cypress Sawmill Museum - Patterson location, the Performing Arts Center at the New Orleans Mint, the Capitol Park Museum - Baton Rouge, and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame & Northwest Louisiana History Museum – Natchitoches. In addition to opening new facilities, the State Museum is continually creating new temporary and permanent exhibits, bringing to light intriguing topics from Louisiana’s culture and history. The Museum hosts an array of programs such as lecture series, school group educational tours, walking tours of historic districts, and musical performances.

Numerous organizations exist throughout Louisiana to support the Museum including the Louisiana Museum Foundation, Friends of the Cabildo, Friends of the Capitol Park Museum, Wedell-Williams and Cypress Sawmill Foundation, Friends of Louisiana Sports and History, and Friends of the E.D. White Historic Site.

Sites in the French Quarter, New Orleans

2nd Floor gallery of the Cabildo, 10 flags over Louisiana
Façade of the Arsenal
1850 House exhibit
Capitol Park Museum, in Baton Rouge

Capitol Park Museum-Baton Rouge

The Capitol Park Museum - Baton Rouge features thematic exhibits on the diverse aspects of Louisiana history, industry, and culture. The museum includes two permanent exhibitions, entitled "Grounds for Greatness: Louisiana and the Nation," and "Experiencing Louisiana: Discovering the Soul of America."

Official website

Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame

Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame & Northwest Louisiana History Museum- Natchitoches

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame & Northwest Louisiana History Museum – Natchitoches is the Louisiana State Museum's newest facility. The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame exhibit is a collection of portraits and memorabilia celebrating the achievements of more than 300 legendary Louisiana athletes, coaches, and other sports figures. The Northwest Louisiana History Museum explores the evolution of unique cultural traditions from early native-American civilizations to the present.

Official website

Aviation & Cypress Sawmill

Wedell-Williams Aviation & Cypress Sawmill Museum - Patterson

The Wedell-Williams Aviation & Cypress Sawmill Museum - Patterson is a modern purpose-built facility located in Acadiana. The Wedell-Williams Aviation Collection focuses on the legacy of Louisiana aviation pioneers Jimmie Wedell and Harry Williams, who formed an air service in Patterson in 1928, while the Patterson Cypress Sawmill Collection documents the history of the cypress lumber industry in Louisiana.

Official website

E.D. White

E. D. White Historic Site- Thibodaux

The E. D. White Historic Site, located in Thibodaux, is the 1800s plantation home of Edward Douglass White, Sr., who was governor from 1835 to 1839, and his son, Edward Douglass White, who was appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1894 and served as chief justice from 1910 to 1921. The E.D. White House exhibits trace the region's history with sections about the Chitimacha Natives, early Acadian settlers, sugar cane agriculture, slavery, and the White family.

Official website


The Louisiana State Museum has two main collections facilities in New Orleans. The main collections facility is located within the French Quarter. This facility houses Visual Arts, Costumes & Textiles, Science & Technology, and the Decorative Arts Collection.

The second facility is the Old U.S. Mint on Esplanade Avenue, which houses the Document Archives and Jazz & Music Archives. The Mint houses the Louisiana Historical Center, which gives amateur and professional researchers the opportunity to access the Document Archives. In addition to maps and manuscripts, the Center houses sheet music, microfilm, scrapbooks, pamphlets, and newspapers.

Both collections facilities are accessible by appointment only.

Official website

Extra-exhibit programming in New Orleans & Baton Rouge


External links

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