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EN MAS’: Carnival and…

May 27 - Jun 7, 2015
Curated by Claire Tancons, Krista Thompson, EN MAS': Carnival and Performance… more

Jim Roche: Cultural…

May 27 - Jul 12, 2015
Born in 1943, Jim Roche received a BA from Florida State University (1961)… more

Le Petit Theatre…

May 27 - 31, 2015
This classic Stephen Sondheim and George Furth musical traces the lives of… more

Lecture: “Finding…

May 27 - 27, 2015
Join us at the Historic New Orleans Collection for the Lecture: "Finding… more

Pub Quiz

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Join us every Wednesday at the Irish House for Pub Quiz. more

Purchased Lives: New…

May 27 - Jul 18, 2015
The Historic New Orleans Collection's newest exhibition, "Purchased… more

Remembering Jeffrey…

May 27 - 27, 2015
Join Carol Bebelle, Ron Bechet, Stella Jones, Margaret Slade Kelly, Martin… more

Tennessee Williams:…

May 27 - 31, 2015
Tennessee Williams was one of the most admired playwrights of the 20th century.… more

The Maison Dupuy…

May 27 - 27, 2015
Join us at the Maison Dupuy for Sippin' in the Courtyard. The Maison Dupuy will… more

The Victory Belles…

May 27 - 27, 2015
Noted for their close harmonies and synchronized dance steps, the Andrews… more

YLC Wednesday at the…

May 27 - 27, 2015
The 12-week concert series takes place in downtown New Orleans at Lafayette… more

ETCHYNPÜFE Group Show…

May 28 - 31, 2015
The Foundation Gallery is excited to host ETCHYNPÜFE, a group show… more

Jazz in the Park…

May 28 - 28, 2015
Jazz in the Park returns for eight straight weeks this spring, running from… more

The Irish House…

May 28 - 28, 2015
Join us at the Irish House for Patrick Cooper. more

Yappy Hour in the…

May 28 - 28, 2015
Join us for  Yappy Hour in the Courtyard at Rare Form, to benefit the… more

The Irish House…

May 29 - 29, 2015
Join us at the Irish House for Patie O'Sullivan. more

New Orleans Oyster…

May 30 - 31, 2015
You better not eat for days leading up to the 2015 New Orleans Oyster Festival.… more

NORDC Movies in the…

May 30 - 30, 2015
Join us for NORDC Movies in the Park screening of "Dolphin Tale… more

Saturday Farmers…

May 30 - Dec 26, 2015
We are excited to announce the Saturday Farmers Market at the French Market!… more

The Irish House…

May 30 - 30, 2015
Join us at the Irish House for One Tailed Three. more

EN MAS’: Carnival and…

May 27 - Jun 7, 2015
Curated by Claire Tancons, Krista Thompson, EN MAS': Carnival and Performance… more

New Exhibition Examines Louisiana’s Natural History and its First Explorers

 For Immediate Release
Media Contacts:
Lauren Noel
The Historic New Orleans Collection
(504) 556-7655 | laurenn@hnoc.org
Vicki Voelker
Gambel Communications
(504) 324-4242 | vicki@gambelpr.com

 

New Exhibition Examines Louisiana's Natural History and its First Explorers
Display to include works by Audubon, lavishly illustrated folios and plant and animal specimens

February 2013 | New Orleans, LA - The Historic New Orleans Collection relives the romance and mystery of Louisiana's early scientific expeditions with its latest exhibition, "Seeking the Unknown: Natural History Observations in Louisiana, 1698-1840." Opening Saturday, Feb. 23, at 533 Royal St., the free exhibition will be available to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


Louisiana's lush and distinctive environment has long played into the state's identity, evidenced by monikers like "the Sportsman's Paradise," "the Bayou State" and "the Pelican state." Records from some of the first explorers prove that the area's flora, fauna and native people were compelling centuries ago. The new exhibition draws on reports from early European explorers, their accounts kicking off a flurry of interest in the New World's environment that lasted well into the 19th century. Scientific curiosity-in addition to economic potential and romantic notions-motivated the brave men and women who tackled the strange terrain and its sometimes harsh climate.


"The curious nature of many of the naturalists and explorers of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries is something that never goes out of fashion. Regardless of the era or the field, curiosity drives discovery," said John H. Lawrence, director of museum programs at THNOC and exhibition co-curator. "This exhibition will give visitors a better understanding of what early explorers and scientists saw in Louisiana's forests, swamps, rivers and shores."
Lawrence and fellow co-curator Gilles-Antoine Langlois of the National School of Architecture at Versailles, University Paris-Est Créteil, chose objects that provide a broad historical background for early observations of the Louisiana landscape. The display comprises selections from THNOC's holdings plus loaned items from several institutions in the state and four French archives. Together, these pieces spotlight particular individuals whose work was influential in recording the natural history of Louisiana.


"With rare exception, the often groundbreaking work of these men was, during their lifetime, known to a relatively small audience," Langlois wrote in his essay for the exhibition catalogue. "They were unacknowledged collectors of scientific treasures, operating in the shadows, suffering fevers and other unimaginable hardships, rarely receiving widespread recognition or other acclaim. This exhibition finally brings some of their previously invisible work to light."
Items on display include centuries-old plant and animal specimens-including a bobcat, a cougar and a Mississippi map turtle-collected by various explorers and scientists. The exhibition even features several reptile specimens in jars that were collected in the 1830s. Detailed drawings, watercolors and illustrated folios-including several by John James Audubon-are also part of the display.


"It's pretty amazing to see examples of plants and animals that were collected in Louisiana hundreds of years ago," Lawrence said. "Many of them seem so commonplace to us today-a brown pelican, an alligator gar, Spanish moss-but just imagine seeing something like that for the first time. That's what this exhibition is about."

 

Related programming:

18th annual Williams Research Center Symposium
"Seeking the Unknown: Perspectives on Louisiana's Natural History"
February 23, 2013
Registration: 8-8:30 a.m.
Sessions: 8:45 a.m.-4 p.m.
Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St.
Registration is required. See below for information.

The Historic New Orleans Collection's 18th annual Williams Research Center Symposium, "Seeking the Unknown: Perspectives on Louisiana's Natural History," coincides with the opening of the related exhibition. Seats are still available for the day-long event, which will examine topics from pre-colonial American Indians to modern naturalists. Registration is required, and rates range between $40 and $85. Registration covers the full-day of presentations with 10 experts plus two receptions-an exhibition preview on Friday, Feb. 22, and a post-event reception on Saturday afternoon. Participants will also have the option to register for a special prix-fixe lunch at Criollo Restaurant and Lounge, located inside the Hotel Monteleone. Visit www.hnoc.org or call (504) 523-4662 for more information and to register.
The Collection thanks the sponsors of the 2013 Williams Research Center Symposium: ClearBridge Advisors, A Legg Mason Company; the Consulate General of Canada; Hotel Monteleone; LaPorte, CPAs and Business Advisors; Premium Parking; Solaris Garage; and Villere & Co.


About The Historic New Orleans Collection
Founded in 1966, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South region. For more information, visit www.hnoc.org or call (504) 523-4662.

Editor's Note:
Images pertaining to this exhibition and the related programming are available to members of the media. Contact Lauren Noel at laurenn@hnoc.org or (504) 556-7655 to make a request.