Guided tours

In response to COVID-19, The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is not offering guided tours at this time, nor are we accepting reservations for guided tours in the near future. Self-guided walking tours are available via THNOC's free French Quarter Tours app, which is compatible on both iPhone and Android devices.

Details on field trips and school experiences are available on THNOC's Education webpage. If you have any questions, please email tours@hnoc.org or call (504) 598-7145.

The following are some of the guided and seasonal tours THNOC has offered in the past.


Courtyard at 533 Royal StreetArchitecture and Courtyard Tour
533 Royal Street

Not available at this time

Highlighting the architecture of The Historic New Orleans Collection's Royal Street campus, this guided tour explores the history of French Quarter architecture, the different types and styles represented in the buildings and courtyards of THNOC, and the various people who have lived on this site. Note: this is a tour of The Historic New Orleans Collection's Royal Street properties, not a walking tour of the French Quarter. The tour lasts approximately one hour.


photo of Williams Residence with courtyard

Williams Residence Tour

Not available at this time

Built in 1889 and restored by General L. Kemper and Leila Williams in the 1940s, this Italianate, two-story townhouse is now a house museum that reflects the elegant, mid-20th-century lifestyle of the owners. Tucked away behind the Merieult House at the end of a classic French Quarter courtyard, the Williams Residence is filled with antiques and other objets d’art collected by the couple in their wide travels. The Williamses moved into the house in 1946 and lived there until 1963. During those years the couple collected materials that eventually formed the basis of The Historic New Orleans Collection. Established as a museum in 1973, the Williams Residence is the only French Quarter house open to the public with original furnishings. The tour includes a walk through the Williamses’ lush French Quarter courtyards. The tour lasts approximately one hour.

While we are unable to host in-person tours due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are happy to present a series of short videos exploring some of our favorite highlights and curiosities from the Williams Residence.

Go on a virtual tour of the Williams Residence now.


Organ Room in Seignouret-Brulatour buildingOrgan demonstrations

Not available at this time

In the early 20th century, having a player organ in the home was a luxury reserved for the most opulent residences, allowing the owner to have access to recorded music before radios and phonographs were commonplace. Tobacco magnate William Ratcliffe Irby remodeled the property at 520 Royal Street—now part of THNOC’s exhibition center—to serve as his personal residence starting in 1918. In the process he installed a player organ in the entry room to his lavish third-floor apartment. The instrument, built by the Aeolian Company of New York, is one of a handful that has survived to this day in its original location and in working condition, fresh off a meticulous restoration by the Holtkamp Organ Company.

Visitors to the exhibition center can hear the organ twice a day in the third floor Barbara S. Beckman Music Room, where the organ’s console and ornamental pipes command the space. During each demonstration, a staff member introduces the history of the Aeolian organ and explains the significance of THNOC’s particular instrument. The demonstration concludes with a musical sampling played on the “King of Instruments.” Demonstrations are free and take place daily at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., except for Mondays, when the museum is closed.


photo of snow on courtyard at THNOC

Holiday Home and Courtyard Tours
Dates for the 2020 tour have not been determined.
Visit the festively decorated residence and courtyard of General L. Kemper and Leila Williams, founders of The Historic New Orleans Collection. 

 


Group tours
Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Groups of five or more should contact Lori Boyer, (504) 598-7145. At this time, guided group tours are not available.

School groups
THNOC welcomes schoolchildren of all ages. At this time, THNOC is offering virtual field trips. Customized field trips—which could include guided tours, special lectures, or guided visits to the research center—can bring the region’s history to life for students. The field trips are available free of charge, but reservations are required, regardless of a group's size. Please complete a field trip request form or email THNOCfieldtrips@gmail.com to make arrangements. Additional resources are available on THNOC's Education webpage. 

Tours for THNOC members
Visit the membership page for information on curator-led tours of regional historical sites and private, guided tours of The Historic New Orleans Collection included in selected membership packages.