LSU Rural Life Museum
Location and Hours:
4560 Essen Lane
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
LSU Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens are open daily: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm year round.
An admission fee is charged.
Museum Gift Shop:
Open daily from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
LSU Rural Life Museum
Ten different flags have flown over Louisiana. The LSU Rural Life Museum presents the lifestyles and cultures of pre-industrial Louisiana. Highlights include; Louisiana Folk Architecture, a collection of seven buildings that illustrate the various cultural influences of Louisiana's settlers; The Barn with items from prehistoric times to the 20th century; and The Working Plantation, a complex of buildings furnished to reconstruct the activities of life on a 19th century working plantation. Among the Folk Architecture are a church, cabin, Acadian house, and potato house. Tours are generally self guided but docent-led tours may be arranged in advance.
Address: 4560 Essen Lane
The mission of the LSU Rural Life Museum is to provide and
sustain a publicly accessible center for the collection, preservation and
interpretation of the material culture, cultural photo: central park
quotelandscapes, and the vernacular architecture of the Louisiana and Lower
Mississippi River Valley.
The museum focuses on the life ways of the working classes of the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum also provides educational and research resources that advance an understanding of the material and cultural heritage of the regions
Over 40 years of service and success
Largest collection of Louisiana Vernacular Architecture
Most extensive collection of Material Culture from 18th and 19th century rural Louisiana
In 2014, the museum became a popular destination for more than 67,000 visitors, adding tourism revenues to the local economy
More than 100 volunteer adult docents and 55 junior docents: grades 6th through 12th grade
Volunteer America volunteers gave over 11,500 hours of in-kind service last year valued at $259,325.00 @ $22.50/hour
Friends of the Rural Life Museum, a 501(c)(3) entity, includes 700 individuals and corporations which provide the museum with members, funding and service
Museum is available as a classroom and laboratory for Louisiana State University, Southern University and other scholars free of charge
Museum’s educational programs are intertwined with the Louisiana Department of Education required lesson plans
World class Museum, voted “Top 10 Outdoor Museums in the World” by the British Museum
Conference host for National and International Museum Associations
Museum has completed a revised Master Plan which includes the development of 16 new acres of land
Museum has completed a new $5 million dollar Visitor Center with private funds
Museum has completed a $1 million campaign for permanent exhibits
BURDEN MUSEUM & GARDENS
In 1966, siblings Steele and Ione Burden, along with their sister-in-law, Jeannette Monroe Burden (not pictured), began donating 440 acres of their family’s property in the heart of Baton Rouge to LSU. Today, it is known as Burden Museum & Gardens. In 2016, LSU will celebrate 50 years of the donation. On this property, the public can experience nature and travel back in time to explore Louisiana’s agricultural heritage and rural history. Burden Museum & Gardens includes the LSU Rural Life Museum, the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens and Windrush Gardens.
The Burden family home, circa 1920, is part of Windrush
Gardens at Burden Museum & Gardens.
Named one of the “Top 10 Outdoor Museums in the World” by the British Museum, the LSU Rural Life Museum transports you back to 19th century Louisiana.
The LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens is an expansive collection of specialty gardens, woodlands, wetlands, arboreta and other features, including the Steele Burden Memorial Orangerie and the Rose Garden.
Louisiana Travel Review
Visit the place known as both “Louisiana’s best kept secret” and “one of the Top 10 outdoor museums in the world” for a self-guided tour illustrating Louisiana life in the 19th century. Spend the entire day wandering through the past at the LSU Rural Life Museum, conveniently located in the heart of Baton Rouge. The outdoor museum will take you to a forgotten way of life when things were slower and work seemed harder. The museum’s offerings are showcased in three separate areas known as the Exhibit Barn, the Plantation Quarters and the Folk Architecture area.
Visitors will see a flat boat, last used during the historic 1927 flood, is on display in the Exhibit Barn. And the stationary 1861 Merrick Walking Beam Steam Engine, used to saw wood, is one of only eight in the entire nation.
In the Plantation Quarters, see how a slave on a working plantation spent their time during the day. You can sit in a chair in the school house before heading to the Kitchen Garden where the evening meal was grown. After you stand in a small, cramped slave house, visit the Overseer’s House and see how the “manager of the slaves” lived.
As you enter the Folk Architecture area of the 320-plus acre outdoor museum, you will walk among 19th century buildings representing rural life from all parts of Louisiana, from the Acadian House to the Carolina Cabin.
Cool off in the Museum’s 20,000-square-foot visitor center. Relax as you watch the film in their state-of-the-art movie theatre or look over the museum’s expansive grounds before you venture outside.
As you prepare to leave, you’ll walk out of the LSU Rural Life Museum with a true sense of time and place of life in 19th century Louisiana.