BATON ROUGE, LA.-
After two years of planning, a milestone exhibition by the Louisiana State Museum traces two centuries of Louisiana history and culture with displays of rarely seen artifacts, documents and works of art. Our Louisiana: Celebrating 200 Years of Statehood opens March 20 at the Capitol Park Museum
in Baton Rouge.
Our Louisiana will help commemorate Louisianas 200th birthday by showing off some of our states most interesting artifacts, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne said. The curatorial staff did a great job choosing pieces from the Louisiana State Museum collection to highlight Louisianas colorful history.
From 450,000 artifacts in the Museums holdings, curators chose about 150 for exhibit in Our Louisiana. These include paintings, prints, photographs, clothing, textiles, industrial and scientific equipment, furniture, decorative arts, maps, books and manuscripts.
To develop this important show marking the Bicentennial of Louisiana statehood, curators looked for objects that had not been exhibited publicly for many yearsif everthat showcase the scope and depth of the Museums collections and illustrate our shared heritage in fresh and surprising ways, Dawn Deano Hammatt, director of curatorial services, said.
Several large objects serve as focal points, including two fascinating relics of Louisiana political historythe magnificently restored horse-drawn catafalque used in Jefferson Davis funeral procession in New Orleans in 1889, and Huey Longs deathbed and other original furnishings from the hospital suite at the old Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge where he was brought after being shot.
Visitors will find an eclectic treasure trove of Louisiana heritage, Hammatt said. Each object tells a story about what makes our Louisiana so special.
Other highlights of Our Louisiana include:
Eighteen-star American flag
When Louisiana became the 18th state to join the Union on April 30, 1812, federal law stipulated that the official American flag would have 15 stars and 15 stripes. Residents of newly admitted states were left to make their own unofficial American flags. Philip Hicky, a native Louisianian born of Irish and English parents, had his female relatives fashion a flag from dress silk, incorporating 18 stars and 18 stripes.
U-R My Sunshine campaign pin
Metal, c. 1960
Louisiana Governor Jimmie Davis (1899-2000) was a popular country, gospel and blues singer before beginning his political career. Davis ran successfully for a first term as governor in 1944 with a hit song he had recorded four years earlier, You Are My Sunshine. He used it to great effect once more in 1960 when he was elected governor for a second time. Today, You Are My Sunshine is an official state song of Louisiana and one of the worlds most recognized melodies.
John McCrady, 1946
Oil on canvas
This painting celebrates the return of an African American soldier to his rural Louisiana home after service in World War II. John McCrady (1911-1968) ran a professional art school in New Orleans and influenced the work of many Louisiana artists and graphic designers. McCradys own work is often compared with the noted American regionalists Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton and he is particularly well-known for his images of southern African Americans.
Sidney Bechets soprano saxophone
C. G. Conn, 1897
One of the first great jazz soloists, clarinetist and soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet (18971959) was renowned for his emotional, powerful style. Born in New Orleans, he began playing professionally as a teenager and in 1919 made the first of many extended European tours. He settled permanently in France in the early 1950s and achieved wide popularity with hit recordings such as Les Oignons and Petite Fleur.
King Creole movie poster
Portal Publication, 1958
Partially shot on location in New Orleans, King Creole is one of hundreds of memorable feature films set or made in Louisiana since the earliest days of the motion picture industry. Elvis Presley plays a young singer who inadvertently falls in with criminals. In the opening scene, he joins in with French Quarter street vendors singing about their wares.
Louisiana-themed crazy quilt
Matilda Tarleton Leake, 1884
A 29-year-old Louisiana woman named Matilda Tarleton Leake composed the crazy quilt from 1,200 individual silk patches sewn together with nearly 400 different kinds of stitches, leading viewers to describe it as crazy. Exhibited at the 1884 Worlds Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans, the quilt contains dozens of symbols of Louisiana industries, pastimes, wildlife and historymany executed as ingenious 3-D embellishments. And some have moving parts, like a tiny umbrella that opens and shuts!
Our Louisiana will be on view through March 2013 at the Capitol Park Museum, located at 660 N. Fourth St.