It’s accepted and widely understood that Louisiana is best-known for music and food, but the state’s roster of attractions shine well outside the walls of its notorious restaurants and music lounges as the best museums in Louisiana are, in a multitude of ways, some of the most appreciated and unique collections of art, history, and culture across the globe. As collected in an article by Timeout, here are a half-dozen fascinating museum opportunities within striking distance of the Great Southern Boot.
Carnival Celebrations of Mardi Gras are found all across the Gulf Coast, not just in New Orleans. This museum, located in Southwest Louisiana’s Lake Charles, shares the history of the entire celebrated holiday. With rooms packed with memorabilia, from floats to throws and feather-covered costumes, there’s a ton to see, and much of it is hands-on. It’s a fun way to gain a deeper understanding of Mardi Gras, especially if your visit sadly doesn’t coincide with seeing an actual parade.
With all the gifts New Orleans has given to the world, cocktails and modern pharmacies are atop the list, and their intertwined histories are explored in this New Orleans-based Louisiana museum. The first licensed pharmacist in the United States was Louis J. Dufilho, Jr., whose pharmacy was located in this French Quarter shop, now packed with exhibits focusing on the history of pharmaceuticals (and, yes, cocktails).
Leave it to the daughter of famed New York-based, Taiwan-born abstract expressionist painter Marlene Yu to spearhead a project that converted Shreveport’s old YMCA into the proper space to display her mother’s world-renowned, 33-feet-long paintings. Along with Yu’s extraordinary nature-inspired work, the Louisiana museum displays the work of other contemporary artists, from both the burgeoning regional scene and around the world, as well as dance and live performance art.
This 165-year old statehouse has been re-fashioned into a museum detailing the often sordid history of the Louisiana Political system. The castle-like exterior of the museum is a draw unto itself, with its stunning architectural details, including a cast-iron spiral staircase and a breathtaking stained-glass rotunda. Alongside its permanent state history exhibits, it also features rotating exhibitions focusing on Louisiana art and photography.
See where our cuisine gets its kick with this Avery-Island-based former visitor center and enjoy a top-tier food and history experience at this Louisiana museum. The small museum is packed with artifacts and interactive exhibits detailing the history of the salt dome upon which the McIlhenny family built their Tabasco fortune, from prehistory to the present day.
This Louisiana museum Located in Abita Springs, this bizarre roadside attraction is more outsider art hoard and folk collection emporium than a proper museum, but finding things to gawk at on the overstuffed shelves and walls is where the fun is at. Folk art, crypto-taxidermy, thousands of bottle caps, hand-built moving dioramas, vintage arcade games are only few of the many objects found here.
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