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Upcoming Events

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"Mysterious…

Oct 31 - 31, 2014
You are invited to the Mysterious Wisterias Plantation for an evening of music… more

"Prospect.3: Notes…

Oct 31, 2014 - Jan 25, 2015
Prospect New Orleans, the International Contemporary Art Biennial,  will… more

16th Annual NNUAL…

Oct 31 - 31, 2014
VOODOOFEST is our FREE annual festival, held EVERY Halloween, which celebrates… more

Andrew Jackson: Hero…

Oct 31, 2014 - Mar 29, 2015
THNOC's exhibition tracks Jackson's rise from humble beginnings to immortality… more

Anne Rice's Vampire…

Oct 31 - 31, 2014
Join us for the 26th Annual Vampire Ball featuring Anne Rice  Lestat… more

Bucktober Fridays

Oct 31 - 31, 2014
Every Friday in October, Deanie's Seafood Restaurant delivers live music and… more

Crawloween at …

Oct 31 - 31, 2014
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium invites guests to celebrate Halloween… more

Fishbone +…

Oct 31 - 31, 2014
Celebrating 25+ groundbreaking years, FISHBONE has been trailblazing their way… more

Friends of the…

Oct 31 - 31, 2014
Friends of the Cabildo, support organization for the Louisiana State Museum,… more

Fright Night at the…

Oct 31 - 31, 2014
Joinj us for Fright Night at the Carver. $500.00 Costume Contest Starring… more

Ghostly Galavant:…

Oct 31 - 31, 2014
Join us for the  Eat, Drink,  and Be Scary Costume Party  set… more

Greater Baton Rouge…

Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2014
Carnival rides, food, music, kids' activities, animal shows, games, exhibits. more

JPAS Presents Waiting…

Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2014
JPAS presents the hit musical comedy all about working in the service industry,… more

K.L. Bone featured at…

Oct 31 - 31, 2014
Combining her creative writing experience and advanced graduate education in… more

Maple Leaf Bar…

Oct 31 - 31, 2014
Join us for live entertainment featuring Oteiloween! with lots of special guests more

New Orleans Halloween…

Oct 31 - Nov 1, 2014
If you thought that the only time of the year for great entertainment in New… more

NORDC Movies in the…

Oct 31 - 31, 2014
NORDC Movies in the Park screening of "Space Jam" on Friday, October… more

Sacred to the Memory…

Oct 31 - Nov 17, 2014
Showcasing both the historic Hermann-Grima House museum and St. Louis Cemetery… more

Southern Rep presents…

Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2014
In a remote cabin deep in the woods, an old crone spins a spellbinding tale… more

The End is Near: The…

Oct 31 - Nov 1, 2014
The House of Shock Haunted House and Halloween Festival launches its final… more

"Mysterious…

Oct 31 - 31, 2014
You are invited to the Mysterious Wisterias Plantation for an evening of music… 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.