Default

Upcoming Events

|

“Giants of Jazz: Art…

May 27 - Dec 17, 2017
This spring, art and music converge as The Historic New Orleans Collection… more

Backyard Grooves

May 27, 2017 - Jan 10, 2026
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages.   more

BB's Stage Door…

May 27 - Jun 25, 2017
The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s comes to life in this three-time… more

Beyond the Canvas:…

May 27 - Jul 9, 2017
Spanning several generations, five Puerto Rico-based artists Zilia… more

Big Easy Rollergirls'…

May 27 - 27, 2017
Come see your Big Easy Rollergirls Second Line take on the Capital City Roller… more

Cecilia Vicuña: About…

May 27 - Jun 18, 2017
Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen traces the artist’s long career to… more

Celebrate National…

May 27 - 28, 2017
Trinity, known for its imaginative cuisine, creative cocktails and bustling… more

Chicken on the Bone…

May 27 - Dec 6, 2017
Want to enjoy some nightlife? No trip to New Orleans is complete if you have… more

Double Dose

May 27, 2017 - Jan 10, 2026
ActionActionReaction and friends keep the dance floor energized with mixes of… more

Mercedes Benz…

May 27 - 28, 2017
The  8th Annual  Bayou Country Super Fest is coming to the Mercedes… more

New Orleans Greek…

May 27 - 28, 2017
Every year descendents of one of the Western world's oldest cultures celebrate… more

New Orleans Museum of…

May 27 - Oct 8, 2017
Jim Steg (American, 1922 -2001) was the most influential printmaker to be based… more

New Orleans Museum of…

May 27 - Oct 1, 2017
In celebration of beloved chef, civil rights activist, and art collector Leah… more

New Orleans Museum of…

May 27 - Oct 8, 2017
Paintings from throughout Scully's career are presented with a selection of… more

Newcomb Art Museum -…

May 27 - Jul 9, 2017
Spanning several generations, five Puerto Rico-based artists Zilia… more

Senga Nengudi:…

May 27 - Jun 18, 2017
In 1975, artist Senga Nengudi began a series of sculptures, entitled R.S.V.P.,… more

The Georgian…

May 27 - Oct 16, 2017
For more than a century, a King George sat on the British throne. The Georgian… more

The Historic New…

May 27 - Oct 21, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection's Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for… more

The House of Groove

May 27, 2017
The House of Groove is a House Party and a live improvised musical journey… more

The Irish House…

May 27 - 27, 2017
Join us for an evening of traditional music song and dance. more

“Giants of Jazz: Art…

May 27 - Dec 17, 2017
This spring, art and music converge as The Historic New Orleans Collection… 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.