Louisianaâ€™s Civil War Museum, formerly known as the Confederate Museum, is one of the largest repositories of Confederacy-related artifacts and memorabilia in the United States, in addition to being the oldest continuously operating museum in Louisiana. The Louisiana Historical Association built the museum in 1891, and its exterior sandstone construction and cathedral-like appearance stand out in contrast to its more recent surroundings on the edge of New Orleansâ€™ Warehouse Arts District.
A large Columbiad, Civil War-era cannon (circa 1865) mounted on the front terrace welcomes visitors to what is now a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. Louisiana residents donated most of the contents of the museum.
Memorial Hall was the site of the cityâ€™s farewell to Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederate States of America. Davis, who died in New Orleans in 1889, was buried here until 1893, when his remains were transferred to Richmond, Virginia for reburial. More than 60,000 people turned out to pay their respects to Davis while he was lying in state for two days prior to his interment.
Varina Howell Davis, Davisâ€™ widow, contributed the large collection of Jefferson Davis memorabilia to the museum. Davis family artifacts were divided up among only four museums, and the Civil War Museum displays about one-fourth of the donated estate.
The museum also features
Civil War uniforms and other attire worn by officers and common soldiers
Confederate weapons, including guns, bullets, shells and swords
Exhibits relating to everyday life of Confederate forces, including mess kits, personal belongings of soldiers and other individual items
Personal belongings of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg and Franklin Gardner
Battle flags of individual Confederate regiments and Louisiana secessionist flags
Paintings, prints and photographs depicting leaders, soldiers and events (including battles) that occurred in Louisiana during the Civil War period
Documents relating to the secession of Louisiana, the capture and occupation of New Orleans by Federal forces and the battles that were fought within Louisiana.