Upcoming Events


2015 Battle of the…

Nov 27 - 27, 2015
The Bayou Classic is more than a football game. This annual event is one of the… more

America, Illustrated:…

Nov 27, 2015 - Jan 05, 2016
New Orleans based M.S. Rau Antiques will pay tribute to The Saturday Evening… more

Celebration in the…

Nov 27, 2015 - Jan 03, 2016
City Park's annual holiday lighting exhibit and festival returns with one of… more

David Hansen's Garden…

Nov 27, 2015
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

Fats Domino & Dave…

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


Nov 27 - 27, 2015
Swipe Right and come and play in the Lounge at Foundation Room. DJ Raj Smoove… more

Florida Room: Jessica…

Nov 27 - 29, 2015
The Foundation Gallery is excited to present Florida Room by Jessica Bizer … more

Friday Nights at NOMA

Nov 27 - 27, 2015
Every Friday evening, come to the museum for activities and entertainment from… more

Jasper Johns:…

Nov 27, 2015 - Jan 31, 2016
Prints from the Donna Perret Rosen and Benjamin M. Rosen Collection: Jasper… more

Newcomb Art Museum of…

Nov 27, 2015 - Jan 03, 2016
Join us for the  Exhibition: "A Shared Space: KAWS, Karl Wirsum,… more

Patriot, Planter,…

Nov 27, 2015 - Mar 20, 2016
NOMA will present the first exhibition to focus on the works of Pierre-Joseph… more

Sixty Minute Sip Down

Nov 27 - 27, 2015
Who says it has to end early? We are extending this New Orleans Friday… more

The Historic New…

Nov 27, 2015 - Jan 09, 2016
The Historic New Orleans Collection marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane… more

The Photography of…

Nov 27, 2015 - Mar 01, 2016
The Photography of Modernist Cuisine: The Exhibition, a collection of over 50… more

Tim Youd: 100 Novels

Nov 27, 2015 - Feb 21, 2016
Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Tim Youd will visit NOMA to perform the… more


Nov 27, 2015 - Jan 10, 2016
This exhibition features work by the Japanese artist Bidou Yamaquchi. Trained… more

Visions of US:…

Nov 27, 2015 - Jan 24, 2016
Visions of US explores evolving ideas about American cultural identity from the… more

Art on the Spot

Nov 28 - 28, 2015

Ashe Cultural Arts…

Nov 28 - Dec 31, 2015
Join us for Ashe to Amen: the Enduring Spirituality of People of African… more

Bayou Classic

Nov 28 - 28, 2015
The 42nd Annual Bayou Classic will take place in the Dome on Saturday, November… more

2015 Battle of the…

Nov 27 - 27, 2015
The Bayou Classic is more than a football game. This annual event is one of 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.