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The Historic New Orleans Collection
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Exhibition commemorating Louisiana’s bicentennial to open August 30
With signature items from THNOC’s holdings, display will be on view through January 2012
August 2011 | New Orleans, LA — Kicking off Louisiana’s upcoming statehood bicentennial celebration, “The 18th Star: Treasures from 200 Years of Louisiana Statehood” will open August 30, 2011, at The Historic New Orleans Collection. Presenting an array of items from The Collection’s holdings, the exhibition illustrates some of the stories that have defined Louisiana since its entry into the Union on April 30, 1812, as the 18th state. The exhibition will be on view through January 29, 2012, at 533 Royal St. in the French Quarter.
Instead of having only a few curators choose the materials, The Collection had numerous institutional insiders lend their expertise, including historians, cataloguers, registrars, librarians and reference specialists. The result is a display that includes memorabilia from momentous events as well as reminders of everyday life.
“There is no single person with knowledge of every aspect of our holdings,” said John Lawrence, director of museum programs at The Collection. “For this exhibition, we decided to work with not just our curators, but also those staff members who are in constant, daily contact with the collections.”
Many of the participating staffers are Louisianans themselves, who have combined their knowledge of The Collection’s holdings with their knowledge of Louisiana’s history to create an exhibition that covers political and military history, arts and literature, social change and cultural diversity.
“We wanted to present a multi-faceted display to showcase the state’s colorful history,” said Priscilla Lawrence, executive director of The Collection. “While New Orleans is well represented, the exhibition includes items relating to the entire present-day state of Louisiana: Acadiana, Baton Rouge, Central and North Louisiana.”
Among the objects displayed is a manuscript copy, written in French, of the first Constitution of the state of Louisiana, a photograph of Booker T. Washington during his final trip to the state and a copy of “Touchdown for LSU,” a song co-written and published by Huey P. Long for Louisiana State University’s marching band.
“Long took a special interest in growing LSU as a nationally recognized university, focusing on LSU’s marching band,” said Alfred E. Lemmon, director of The Collection’s Williams Research Center. “He transformed LSU’s small, military-type band into the 250-member ‘Show Band of the South,’ as it was known in the 1930s. This piece of music is just an example of his lasting influence on the university and the state.”
“The 18th Star” also juxtaposes items recalling natural and man-made disasters with others that show Louisiana’s resilience and determination. Among the modern-day items are a can of drinking water distributed by Anheuser-Busch during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Times-Picayune Super Bowl XLIV Edition, which features a jubilant Drew Brees hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy.
“‘Treasures’ can take many forms, however simple, practical or commonplace an object may appear,” said Lawrence. “A can of drinking water, like the thousands distributed after Katrina and Rita, symbolizes the disruption of daily life—how even the most basic needs can be taken for granted. It also stands for the generosity of the organizations and individuals who helped in the aftermath.”
“As a longtime Saints fan, I probably kept the Times-Picayune Super Bowl paper just in case I ever stopped believing that the championship had actually happened,” said Jason Weise, assistant director of the WRC, who donated his copy to The Collection. “It might not compare, as a document, to some of the other examples in the exhibition, but it does demonstrate that our history didn’t stop 50 or 100 years ago. It’s still going on, and we’re caught up in it.”
Gallery hours for “The 18th Star” are 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Tuesday–Saturday, and 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Sunday. Admission to the exhibition is free. Call (504) 523-4662 or visit www.hnoc.org for more information.
Sixth Annual Concert with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
“Becoming American: The Musical Journey”
Wednesday, January 25, 2012 • 7:30 p.m.
St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square
Free and open to the public
The annual concert will chronicle the impact of Louisiana’s classical music tradition on the United States. Musical selections will trace the state’s musical evolution from early 19th-century European tastes to its role in developing American eclecticism of the early 20th century.
Seventeenth Annual Williams Research Center Symposium
“Louisiana at 200: In the National Eye”
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St.
Registration is required—visit www.hnoc.org for details as they are announced.
The day-long symposium will features speakers and scholars focusing on key events in Louisiana’s history that had national significance and lasting impact.
Deadline for submissions: November 30, 2011
Open to Orleans Parish students only
The Collection’s department of education is holding a story contest for all Orleans Parish students, encouraging them to take part in the telling of Louisiana’s history.
About The Collection
Founded in 1966, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, The Collection offers guided tours, free rotating exhibitions, a research facility, and a museum shop. For more information, visit www.hnoc.org or call (504) 523-4662.