Permanent tours

Architecture and Courtyard Tour
533 Royal Street
Tuesday–Saturday | 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.
Sunday | 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.
$5 per person; groups of five or more should contact Lori Boyer, tours@hnoc.org or (504) 598-7145.

The guided tour highlighting the architecture of The Historic New Orleans Collection's Royal Street campus explores the history of French Quarter architecture, the different types and styles represented in the buildings and courtyards of THNOC, as well as 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.

Register Now!


 

photo of Williams Residence with courtyard

Williams Residence Tour
533 Royal Street
Tuesday–Saturday | 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.
Sunday | 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.
$5 per person; groups of five or more should contact Lori Boyer,  tours@hnoc.org or (504) 598-7145.

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.

Register Now!


Organ demonstrations
Tuesday–Sunday
11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
520 Royal Street

Admission is free.

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 such an organ in the entry room to his lavish third-floor apartment. The instrument, which was 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.


Special tours

Rites, Rituals, and Revelry: The History of Mardi Gras in New Orleans
January 7, 2020 to February 21, 2020
Tuesday–Sunday at 11 a.m.
533 Royal Street

Admission is $5, free for THNOC members.

The Historic New Orleans Collection's popular Carnival-themed tour returns this year to the Louisiana History Galleries. "Rites, Rituals, and Revelry: The History of Mardi Gras in New Orleans" follows the city's traditions, beginning with celebrations during the French and Spanish colonial periods and in the early days of statehood. Using items from THNOC’s holdings, the guided tour continues through the development of parading krewes, like Comus and Rex, to the arrival of Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs and Mardi Gras Indians, and concludes with the modern era’s popular superkrewes and LGBTQ Mardi Gras celebrations.

Register Now!


Special Tour: Free People of Color in New Orleans
February 4–29, 2020
Tuesday–Sunday | 2 p.m.
533 Royal Street

Admission is free.

THNOC is celebrating Black History Month throughout February with special guided tours of the Louisiana History Galleries that explore the history of free people of color in New Orleans. While both the French and Spanish authorities oversaw harsh regimes of enslavement in Louisiana, their colonial laws also granted property and legal rights to a growing population of free people of African descent in the 18th and 19th centuries. By 1830 gens de couleur libres (free people of color) represented over a third of the city’s population; however, the community faced increasingly stringent regulations and discrimination in the decades leading to the Civil War. This guided tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and covers the historic origins, cultural contributions, and events surrounding free people of color in New Orleans.

Tickets are free, and the tour begins at THNOC’s 533 Royal Street Welcome Center at 2 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday.

Register Now!


Women in New Orleans History tour
March 1–31, 2020
Tuesday–Sunday | 11 a.m.
533 Royal Street

Admission is free.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, The Historic New Orleans Collection presents a special tour on the contributions of women to our culture, politics, and society. Available through the month of March, which is Women’s History Month, “Women in New Orleans History” tells the stories of the women who shaped everyday life in the Crescent City. Native American women who wove baskets were important in local and transcontinental trade. The Ursuline nuns, who arrived in 1727, set a high standard for literacy among women and girls of all races. Free women of color owned more property than their male counterparts and carved out a distinctive place in New Orleans society before the Civil War. White women in the mid-20th century helped renew cultural interest in the decaying French Quarter.

Based on original objects spread across two campuses, the tour delves into the female landowners, teachers, journalists, activists, artists, voters, preservationists, and citizens—both free and enslaved—who made their marks on our history. Tours last approximately 45 minutes and begin at THNOC’s 533 Royal Street Welcome Center. They continue through the Louisiana History Galleries and the French Quarter Galleries. Admission is free.

Register Now!


Enigmatic Stream guided tours
Through April 5, 2020
Tuesday–Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
520 Royal Street

Admission is $5; free for THNOC members

In Enigmatic Stream: Industrial Landscapes of the Lower Mississippi River, photographer Richard Sexton presents landscapes of hulking oil refineries, petrochemical plants, agricultural complexes, and flood prevention structures set within the natural beauty of the country’s largest waterway. Guided tours of the exhibition delve into Sexton’s chosen aesthetic and process, contextualize the economic history of the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and challenge visitors to consider the risks and benefits of these structures. Tours last between 30 and 45 minutes and take place entirely within the exhibition gallery.

Register Now!


photo of snow on courtyard at THNOC

Holiday Home and Courtyard Tours
December only
Admission is $5; free for THNOC members​. Sign up by purchasing tickets for the Williams Residence Tour during these dates.

Visit the festively decorated residence and courtyard of General L. Kemper and Leila Williams, founders of The Historic New Orleans Collection. Browse through the Shop at The Collection for unique gift items.


Cellphone Tours
Use your cell phone to access free tours of our Royal Street campus of historic buildings.

 

Group Tours
Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Groups of five or more should contact Lori Boyer, (504) 598-7145.

 

School Groups
THNOC welcomes schoolchildren of all ages. Customized field trips—which could include docent-led tours, special lectures, or guided visits to our research center—will bring the region’s history to life for students. The field trips are available free of charge, but reservations are required for groups of any size. Please fill out a field trip request form or email THNOCfieldtrips@gmail.com to make arrangements.

 

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