Default

Upcoming Events

|

28th Annual…

Aug 23 - 23, 2014
Join us for the 28th Annual Mid Summer Mardi Gras. Presented by the Krewe of… more

Abita Springs Opry at…

Aug 23 - 30, 2014
Two bands - Three Hours - Five Saturdays First band plays approx 12 noon… more

Abita Springs Opry in…

Aug 23 - 30, 2014
Join us every Saturday in August for The Abita Springs Opry concert… more

Blazin10 Presents A…

Aug 23 - 23, 2014
Join us for a Trunk Show Featuring Kano Branon - (Designer & Stylist of… more

Brewsiana - Craft…

Aug 23 - 23, 2014
Cheers to the best of South Louisianas brews, bands, and bites. BREWS: 21… more

Champions Square…

Aug 23 - 23, 2014
Jake Owen is coming to Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square  for his… more

COOLinary New…

Aug 23 - 31, 2014
It is going to be a delicious summer!  Throughout the whole month of… more

Crescent City Lights…

Aug 23 - 24, 2014
The Crescent City Lights Youth Theater summer season (in partnership with… more

Crosby, Stills & Nash

Aug 23 - 23, 2014
David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash unite as "three… more

Filthy Linen Night

Aug 23 - 23, 2014
Come down and Support Frenchmen Art and Businessfor Filthy Linen Night! This… more

Free Kinder Garden at…

Aug 23 - 23, 2014
Play, learn and grow in this hands-on introduction to the world of gardens for… more

HOUSE OF BLUES HOSTS…

Aug 23 - 23, 2014
House of Blues New Orleans announces the 1st annual Brewsiana - Craft Beer and… more

Mark of the Feminine

Aug 23 - Oct 4, 2014
Curator Regine Basha's Mark of the Feminine is the first in a series of… more

Production Assistant…

Aug 23 - 24, 2014
PA Bootcamp is back. NOVAC along with the Mayor's Office of Cultural Economy,… more

Swingin' at the…

Aug 23 - 23, 2014
A sizzling new show by The National WWII Museum's own Victory Big Band!… more

The Color Run

Aug 23 - 23, 2014
Get ready, 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour is headed to New Orleans. The Color Run, also… more

True Colors Exhibition

Aug 23 - 29, 2014
This exhibition aims to represent people of all sexualities, genders, races and… more

Adults/Swim Rooftop…

Aug 24 - 24, 2014
Summer is winding down and Adults/Swim is going out with a bang with the last… more

Kirk Franklin…

Aug 24 - 24, 2014
Celebrate Sunday morning with brunch featuring the explosive energy of live… more

Strut + Swim Poolside…

Aug 24 - 24, 2014
Fashion Week New Orleans presents the last Strut + Swim fashion show of the… more

28th Annual…

Aug 23 - 23, 2014
Join us for the 28th Annual Mid Summer Mardi Gras. Presented by the Krewe of… 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.