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Upcoming Events

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Gospel Music Festival

Jul 28 - 31, 2015
Join us for48th Annual Gospel Music Workshop of America!     … more

LIVE BAND KARAOKE…

Jul 28 - 28, 2015
Rock out on stage with Mixed Nuts as your band! All ages and free each Tuesday… more

Lydia's Purple Cloth…

Jul 28 - 28, 2015
Quilting continues! We're excited to have more time to work on creations… more

New Orleans Museum of…

Jul 28 - Sep 7, 2015
Ten Years Gone brings together six artists whose work engages with the broad… more

The Sweat Social…

Jul 28 - Dec 20, 2015
Designed for wellness travelers visiting New Orleans, the Sweat Social offers… more

Smoothie King Center…

Jul 29 - 29, 2015
Premier Productions announces the launch of the all-new worship tour, OUTCRY… more

15th Annual Satchmo…

Jul 30 - Aug 2, 2015
Celebrate our native son, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, at this free… more

Langlois Girls Night…

Jul 30 - Sep 3, 2015
Bring your friends to Langlois on Thursdays or Fridays this summer for girls'… more

Le Petit Theatre…

Jul 30 - 30, 2015
Save the date! Satchmo SummerFest will kick-off with a fundraiser to benefit… more

LIVE IMPROV WITH NOLA…

Jul 30 - 30, 2015
Improv Comedy with NOLA ComedySportz is great for all ages. The audience of a… more

Seanger Theater…

Jul 30 - 30, 2015
Hot on the heels of a remarkable year that included performing the smash hit… more

The Historic New…

Jul 30 - Aug 2, 2015
One of the premier decorative arts events in the country, the four-day program… more

Yappy Hour in the…

Jul 30 - 30, 2015
Join us for  Yappy Hour in the Courtyard at Rare Form, to benefit the… more

Anthony Bean…

Jul 31 - Aug 2, 2015
Experience over 80 youth giving an electrifying performance in tribute to the… more

Friday Nights at NOMA

Jul 31 - 31, 2015
Every Friday evening, come to the museum for activities and entertainment.… more

My Morning Jacket

Jul 31 - 31, 2015
My Morning Jacket has built a reputation as a group who consistently challenges… more

Saenger Theatre…

Jul 31 - 31, 2015
Atlanta rapper Future has earned a place at the genre's vanguard with his… more

Author to Reader Con…

Aug 1 - 1, 2015
Join us for  a FREE to the public book signing with 80+ authors. Parking… more

COOLinary New Orleans…

Aug 1 - 31, 2015
It is going to be a delicious summer!  During the month of August, enjoy… more

Hemispheres Cup -…

Aug 1 - 1, 2015
Two of the best rugby clubs in the world, the Saracens from England and the… more

Gospel Music Festival

Jul 28 - 31, 2015
Join us for48th Annual Gospel Music Workshop of America!     … 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.