Upcoming Events


7th Annual Pumpkin…

Oct 10 - 31, 2015
The Lutcher/Gramercy Lions Club presents its 7th Annual Pumpkin Patch at the… more

A Louisiana Parlor:…

Oct 10 - 11, 2015
This exhibition is in celebration of the acquisition of a superb Rococo Revival… more

All Ages Workshop:…

Oct 10 - 10, 2015
Participants in this All Ages Workshop will enjoy a guided tour of the… more

Beast of the Southern…

Oct 10 - 10, 2015
This fall, in partnership with Court 13 and the New Orleans Film Society,… more

Carnaval Latino

Oct 10 - 11, 2015
A celebration of the extraordinary Latin Music and our city`s Hispanic heritage… more

City Park Pumpkin…

Oct 10 - 25, 2015
Get ready for some nonstop fall fun at New Orleans' City Park! Located at City… more

Collective Media…

Oct 10 - 25, 2015
Join Longue Vue for the first opening of its three-part "Collective… more

Fall Garden Festival

Oct 10 - 11, 2015
The annual Fall Garden Festival is an educational experience for home gardeners… more

Fats Domino & Dave…

Oct 10 - Dec 27, 2015
Join us at the Carver Theater for a Music Tribute honoring Legendary Musicians… more

Foundation for…

Oct 10 - 10, 2015
The International Organization, Foundation Languages, will hold its 19th Annual… more

Gentilly Fest

Oct 10 - 11, 2015
Free to the public, Gentilly Fest celebrates all things … more

Hell Yes Fest

Oct 10 - 11, 2015
HUKA Entertainment and The New Movement are proud to announce the 4th Annual… more

Japan Fest

Oct 10 - 10, 2015
Join the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Japan Club of New Orleans for the… more

Longue Vue House and…

Oct 10 - 11, 2015
For the 10th Anniversary of the storm, Longue Vue will commemorate the revival… more

Newcomb Art Museum of…

Oct 10, 2015 - Jan 03, 2016
Join us for the  Exhibition: "A Shared Space: KAWS, Karl Wirsum,… more

Saturday Farmers…

Oct 10 - Dec 26, 2015
We are excited to announce the Saturday Farmers Market at the French Market!… more

Southern Rep presents…

Oct 10 - 10, 2015
Does art imitate life or vice versa? In this effervescent romantic comedy by… more

The Cinderella…

Oct 10 - 27, 2015
Donations of costume jewelry, girls' princess dresses and teen prom dresses… more

The Foundation…

Oct 10 - 30, 2015
Join us at the Foundation Gallery for  House: Group Exhibition with Andrew… more

The Historic New…

Oct 10, 2015 - Jan 09, 2016
The Historic New Orleans Collection marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane… more

7th Annual Pumpkin…

Oct 10 - 31, 2015
The Lutcher/Gramercy Lions Club presents its 7th Annual Pumpkin Patch at the… more

Seeking the Unknown: Natural History Observations in Louisiana, 1698–1840 at the Historic New Orleans Collection

The exhibition Seeking the Unknown: Natural History Observations in Louisiana, 1698-1840 presents objects that provide a broad historical background for the study of Louisiana's natural history-from taxidermied animals, specimens in jars, and pressed plants to lavishly illustrated folios.

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. On view through June 2, at 533 Royal St., the free exhibition is 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."

This exhibition is presented in conjunction with the 18th annual Williams Research Center Symposium Seeking the Unknown: Perspectives on Louisiana's Natural History.