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Upcoming Events

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17th Annual Martin…

Feb 28 - Mar 7, 2015
Join us for the 17th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Art… more

Andrew Jackson: Hero…

Feb 28 - Mar 29, 2015
THNOC's exhibition tracks Jackson's rise from humble beginnings to immortality… more

Artist Spotlight…

Feb 28 - Mar 31, 2015
New Orleans-based woodturning artist Tom Dunne will be the featured artist in… more

Ashe Showcase – Bless…

Feb 28 - 28, 2015
Celebrate with us, as we showcase everything Ashé. Tour the Power… more

BODY ELECTRIC Group…

Feb 28 - Mar 1, 2015
Inspired by Walt Whitman's "I Sing the Body Electric", this… more

Documentary ‘Big…

Feb 28 - 28, 2015
Join us for the documentary film "Big Charity" at the Joy Theater.… more

Edgar Degas: The…

Feb 28 - May 24, 2015
Featuring drawings, prints, sculpture, and photographs, all from a single… more

Freret Street Puliq…

Feb 28 - 28, 2015
Come and enjoy live music. more

Jefferson Arts…

Feb 28 - Mar 15, 2015
Mrs. Stancliffe's Rose Cottage Bed & Breakfast has been successful for many… more

Jim Roche: Cultural…

Feb 28 - Jul 12, 2015
Born in 1943, Jim Roche received a BA from Florida State University (1961)… more

Jon Cleary & the…

Feb 28 - 28, 2015
Join us for Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen. more

Lauren Sturm

Feb 28 - 28, 2015
A spirited performer who can be seen regularly in venues of New Orleans, as… more

Mark Steinmetz: South

Feb 28 - May 10, 2015
Mark Steinmetz lives and works in Athens, Georgia. His work transcends the… more

Neighborhood Pet…

Feb 28 - 28, 2015
Neighborhood Pet Adoption & Bake Sale, sponsored by the LA/SPCA will be… more

New Orleans Celtic…

Feb 28 - Mar 1, 2015
New Orleans Celtic Festival is an annual event dedicated to preserving and… more

New Zealand's - Black…

Feb 28 - 28, 2015
The New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) presents New Zealand's premier… more

Octavia Art Gallery…

Feb 28 - 28, 2015
Edward Bear Miller's figurative, gestural, and bold representations of our… more

Pilates in the…

Feb 28 - 28, 2015
Join us for Pilates in the Sculpture Garden, among NOMA's outstanding… more

Stage Door Canteen…

Feb 28 - Apr 5, 2015
"Always ... Patsy Cline," a musical play, complete with down-home… more

StoryQuest “Backyard,”

Feb 28 - 28, 2015
Spark imagination, creativity, and a love of reading. Professional authors,… more

17th Annual Martin…

Feb 28 - Mar 7, 2015
Join us for the 17th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Art… 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.