Everyone knows that New Orleans is filled with plenty of sites to see, food to eat, drinks to drink and music to groove to. Less talked about are the museums to explore! New Orleans’ museums tap into a wide range of interests and expertise. It’s so expansive that there’s an entire month dedicated to them. Every August, we celebrate Museum Month in New Orleans with special deals and discounts for museum lovers!
One day you can discover the history of craft cocktail culture at Sazerac House, and the next you're immersing yourself in the world of prescription, potions and poisons at New Orleans' Pharmacy Museum
No matter which one (two, or three) museum(s) intrigue you the most, you can never go wrong! And with so much to choose from, we wanted to share a list of our local favorites to add to your list when you’re in town!
The name says it all - this museum is dedicated to preserving all things food and beverage in the Deep South. Uncover the hidden histories of local favorites like Louisiana's own Popeye’s Chicken and red beans and rice. The museum even offers private cooking classes that are perfect for all ages. Learn to cook classics like gumbo, Bananas Foster and pralines for the full Southern Food & Beverage experience./p>
Whether you’re an art aficionado or just a lover of aesthetically pleasing works and spaces, then you should pay a visit to NOMA. It’s housed in the center of New Orleans’ City Park, where you can also easily spend a day exploring. The museum features more than 40,000 objects, ever-changing exhibits by world-renowned artists, and is the oldest fine arts institution in New Orleans. Also be sure to mark your calendars for March 2020, when Queen Nefertari's Egpyt makes its final stop in the United States.
*Editor's Note: Backstreet Cultural Museum sustained damage during Hurricane Ida and is currently closed for repairs. They plan to re-open soon, so check back on their social media for the latest information.
There’s no place that highlights New Orleans' deep and unique culture quite like the Backstreet Cultural Museum. A labor of love, Backstreet was created by the late Sylvester “Hawk” Francis. His goal? To document Carnival celebrations, second lines and jazz funerals throughout New Orleans. After nearly three decades of documenting, and two decades of operation, Backstreet remains one of the most respected and unique spaces highlighting Mardi Gras Indian culture. Backstreet also serves as the annual starting point for the Northside Skull & Bone Gang - well-known for kicking off Mardi Gras Day.
Cocktail connoisseurs rejoice! Sazerac House is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the vast and often untold history of craft cocktail culture, with an emphasis on the first: the Sazerac.
From its origin to production, Prohibition and everything in between, this three-story museum does a flawless job in walking guests through the history of craft cocktails as we know them today. Each floor has a different focus, cocktail samples, interactive exhibits and more. They also house their very own distillery space, bitters lab and fun cocktail making classes.
The best part? Admission and tours are 100% free! Simply reserve your spot ahead of time.
A massive museum dedicated solely to the war that changed the world, The National World War II Museum is the largest museum in the state. Their campus consists of six buildings and permanent exhibits, three restaurants, everchanging special and traveling exhibits, their own in-house theater and much more. A weekend can easily be spent exploring all that the National WWII Museum has to offer, and you’d still barely scratch the surface.
A labor of love, the Lower 9th Ward Living Museum was founded and curated by Ms. Leona Tate - one of the four little girls who desegregated public schooling in the United States. The six-room house museum tells the history of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward through the perspective and voices of those who live there. It is a true hidden gem, and completely free.
It’s only fitting that New Orleans has a museum dedicated to all that JAZZ. After all, we are the home and heart of jazz music. Nestled on the edge of the historic French Quarter, the New Orleans Jazz Museum is a great way to get your day started in the Vieux Carré. It highlights local and international jazz giants like Danny Barker, Louis Prima, Fats Domino, and Louis Armstrong.
You can also head to the Jazz Museum for weekly live music, and several local festivals are held on their grounds.
A newly opened museum in the city’s Arts District is the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience. Its collection of nearly 4,000 artifacts includes household items, business records, photographs, letters and more to help tell the story of the experience of Jews in the South. This museum highlights a unique and niche aspect of history.
Enjoy a family-friendly day at the Louisiana Children’s Museum. Its new campus within New Orleans City Park is the perfect home for LCM. Many of the museum's original exhibits have received modern makeovers, and new play areas and learning spaces have come to life.
LCM's campus now includes its own in-house, kid-friendly restaurant as well: Acorn. After a morning exploring the museum, guests can take advantage of the outdoor activities throughout City Park.
The HNOC is on a mission to preserve the French Quarter and New Orleans history. The space houses seven different exhibition halls with constantly evolving collections. Afro-Creole poetry, French Quarter life, second lines and social aid & pleasure clubs are just a few highlights.
Who knew the world of pharmaceuticals could be so fascinating? At least at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, it is! What is now a museum was originally the apothecary of the United State’s first, licensed pharmacist, Louis Dufilho Jr.
The museum tells the history of early medicines, superstitious cures and the evolution of pharmaceutical care and regulations. It is a truly fascinating find within the French Quarter!
The McKenna Museum is a fine art institution with a direct focus on African Diasporan pieces. In addition to their collection, McKenna offers a range of diverse programming such as guest speakers, workshops and book readings to further their mission and work.
It has been described as “one of the most unique and interesting small museums in the country.” The New Orleans Voodoo Museum explores the history and culture of voodoo religion and its connection to New Orleans. Museum and cemetery tours as well as readers and practitioners are available.