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Upcoming Events

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30 Americans

Apr 20 - Jun 15, 2014
30 Americans showcases works by many of the most important African American… more

Double Violin Concert…

Apr 20 - 20, 2014
Performing Bach's violin concerto and Vivaldi's double violin concerti. more

Early Modern Faces: …

Apr 20 - Jun 29, 2014
This exhibition brings together nearly ninety Old Master paintings and prints… more

Easter Brunch at the…

Apr 20 - 20, 2014
Join us on Easter Sunday, April 20th in the hotel's elegant Grand Ballroom for… more

Irving "Honey"…

Apr 20 - 20, 2014
Various Mardi Gras Indian tribes will line up  for the 1st Annual Irving… more

Kirk Franklin…

Apr 20 - 20, 2014
The new Gospel Brunch experience at House of Blues New Orleans features local… more

Kirk Franklin…

Apr 20 - 20, 2014
The new Gospel Brunch experience at House of Blues New Orleans features local… more

Zurich Classic

Apr 21 - 27, 2014
Golf fans will have a chance to support regional children's charities while… more

Organ & Labyrinth…

Apr 22 - May 6, 2014
Organ Recital & Candlelight with Albinas on the 5000 pipe trinity tracker… more

The Victory Bells -…

Apr 23 - 30, 2014
Salute the USA with the Victory Belles’ newest red, white and blue… more

White Glove…

Apr 23 - 30, 2014
The National WWII Museum It’s one thing to read on an exhibit label… more

YLC Wednesday at the…

Apr 23 - 23, 2014
The 12-week concert series takes place in downtown New Orleans at Lafayette… more

Bootsy Collins

Apr 24 - 24, 2014
 Founding father of funk Bootsy Collins funks up The Joy Theater during… more

Crescent City…

Apr 24 - 24, 2014

Ogden After Hours-…

Apr 24 - 24, 2014
Ogden After Hours is the place to go on Thursday nights to to hear Southern… more

Slightly Stoopid

Apr 24 - 24, 2014
 Slightly Stoopid will be bringing their signature San Diego vibe to New… more

Slightly Stoopid with…

Apr 24 - 24, 2014
While it’s a rare commodity for a band to tour as consistently as… more

The Andrews Brothers

Apr 24 - 26, 2014
Mistaken identities, madcap comedy, romance and miscal treasures fill this… more

New Orleans Jazz &…

Apr 25 - May 5, 2014
Jazz Fest is the celebration of the unique culture and heritage of New Orleans… more

PINTS & PLAYS

Apr 25 - Nov 25, 2014
PINTS & PLAYS is a monthly play reading in the true spirit of New Orleans. … more

30 Americans

Apr 20 - Jun 15, 2014
30 Americans showcases works by many of the most important African American… 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.