In a state that is so historically and culturally rich, this museum provides an excellent overview. Learn why Louisiana has been called the most vibrant state.
As part of the Louisiana State Museum group, Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge is a convenient way of learning about the uniqueness of this southern state. Important elements of the state’s heritage and economy are the Gulf of Mexico on its southern border and the Mississippi River that runs through its eastern boundary. Find out how these bodies of water are integral to the Bayou State’s existence.
Enter the museum and one of your first impressions will be the large number of exhibits and displays spread over two floors. Although a quick visit will give you a better understanding of the state, try to arrange at least a couple of hours to explore the museum’s contents.
One permanent exhibit, Grounds for Greatness: Louisiana and the Nation, explains how the vibrancy of the state is explained through its mixed origins of people – indigenous, enslaved Africans and Acadians of French ancestry who came from where is now Nova Scotia, Canada.
See an actual shrimp trawler that is a common sight in coastal areas and an unusual submarine used during the Civil War. A scale model of a drilling rig and an oil-well head represents the important oil industry. Find out about the state’s sugar industry with a two-row sugar cane harvester on display. View an informative display that centers on how Baton Rouge became a civil rights center in 1953 by inspiring the movement to expand.
The other permanent exhibit focuses on cultures these original people gave to Louisiana, much of it in the form of music. Experiencing Louisiana: Discovering the Soul of America looks at musical genres that have come to be identified with the state – zydeco, Cajun, swamp pop, blues and New Orleans jazz. Spend time learning about Louis Armstrong, Buddy Guy and Pete Fountain in the interactive musical exhibits. Find out about Louisiana’s authentic Creole cuisine and discover what role voodoo has played.
Capitol Park Museum is located on North Fourth Street with a magnificent view of the Capitol building in the distance. Children 6 years old and under are admitted free and senior citizens get a discount. The museum closes late afternoons and on Sundays and Mondays. Park on River Road behind the Welcome Center.