A Plantation Burial; 1860; oil on canvas by John Antrobus; The Historic New Orleans Collection, 1960.46

A Plantation Burial; 1860; oil on canvas by John Antrobus; The Historic New Orleans Collection, 1960.46

Tuesday–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Sunday, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

533 Royal Street

Admission is free.

The Louisiana History Galleries, described by Frommer’s New Orleans as “the best introduction to the city that a visitor can get,” are on the second floor of the 1792 Merieult House at 533 Royal Street and comprise thirteen galleries. This permanent exhibition presents a narrative of the state’s history using art and artifacts that date from precolonial history through Hurricane Katrina. The galleries are organized chronologically and display rare and one-of-a-kind items such as a coded letter about negotiations for the purchase of Louisiana from France, sent to Thomas Jefferson by a US agent. Paintings, prints, and photographs illustrate notable people, events, and scenes of New Orleans’s colorful past.

In addition, the galleries feature iPad kiosks that provide related audiovisual content. The kiosk in the gallery covering the late 1700s, for example, offers visitors audio clips of the music in a 1736 manuscript collection of songs used by Ursuline nuns, the only known music manuscript that survives from colonial Louisiana. A kiosk by a display of Mardi Gras memorabilia gives details about the elaborate ball invitations, crowns, and “royal” scepters. Another kiosk offers a 360-degree aerial view of New Orleans’s Central Business District in the 1920s.