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Capitol Park Museum: The Coolest Museum You’ve Never Heard Of

“How is it that I come home [to Baton Rouge] several times a year and have never heard of this awesome museum?” I asked, confounded that such a treasure trove of Louisiana history and culture had evaded me.

Capitol Park Museum

The Capitol Park Museum, one of many in a state-wide system of museums, is probably one of, if not the coolest museum I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been to some pretty fantastic museums: The Holocaust Museum, The Apartheid Musuem, all of The Smithsonians, the Louvre….

Now, I’m not saying the Capitol Park Museum is the best or most impressive museum in the world (which might be reserved for the first two I just mentioned above). Just that it’s the coolest. Completely subjective, I know- but here’s why I think so.

Capitol Park Museum

Museum entrance

 

Bigger than life

The museum is set up like something out of Disney or Universal Studios theme parks. The quality of the exhibits are top-notch. The artifacts, bigger than life, like this 48 foot wooden shrimp trawler, are candy for the eyes and imagination.

Capitol Park Museum

If you’re an experiential learner like me, then you probably appreciate being visually stimulated and entertained while digesting informative tidbits about history and culture.

Capitol Park Museum

Interesting facts

Capitol Park Museum

I discovered crazy things that I never knew about my home state, like the fact that Poverty Point, a pre-historic earthworks site, predates The Pyramids at Giza. Not to mention, it’s a World Heritage Site. I guess Poverty Point, Louisiana is getting dropped in to my bucket (list).

Capitol Park Museum

Some other factoids that I had known (I think) and forgotten came bubbling back to the surface, like Plessy v. Ferguson (born from Louisiana’s Separate Car Act) and The Baton Rouge Bus Boycott.

Capitol Park Museum

Kid friendly

So, this is just an assumption, as there were no kids around this particular quiet August day, but the museum seems perfect for children. All of the interactive exhibits are visually and aurally stimulating. So parents can get their museum fix while the kids are entertained. I can’t wait to bring my daughter when she’s a little older and can appreciate it.

Capitol Park Museum

 

Culture, there’s another word.

I’m culture-obsessed (which is why I studied anthropology, I guess…). So I’m sure that plays a role in my decision to love this place. It’s all about Louisiana culture. History, too, but I think that history is part of our culture.

We had an hour to devour this fantastic museum- not enough time to even snack. I was so enthralled with the political – historical – agricultural exhibit on the first floor (entitled Grounds for Greatness: Louisiana and the Nation), that by the time I got upstairs and realized I wanted to spend all day at this Louisiana culture love-fest (Experiencing Louisiana: Discovering the Soul of America), I was almost out of time.

A massive crawfish peers over a postcard, greeting you at the exhibit entrance.

Capitol Park Museum

From there, you journey on an imaginary road trip through three regions of Louisiana. Cajun music filled the air until I turned the corner around a tree (yes, a tree) only to hear sounds from Mardi Gras.

Capitol Park Museum

Watch out for that gator- under that tree!

I ran around like mad trying to read what I could about the peoples of North (largely Protestant), Southeast (Baton Rouge, New Orleans), and Southwest (Cajun-Acadian, rural Creole) with a mere 15 minutes to spare.

Capitol Park Museum

Is it just me, or is there a common tendency to take your home (state/region/country) for granted?

I feel like I grew up wanting to learn about other places, not necessarily the histories and traditions from my immediate surroundings. The customs were there; Mardi Gras, king cake, gumbo…. but the historical context was always secondary to the celebration itself. I think that moving away has definitely made me appreciate my home state in a very nostalgic yet fresh way.  

Capitol Park Museum

Why is it called Capitol Park Museum?

Because the museum is located in Baton Rouge’s Capitol Park.

Capitol Park Museum

Capitol Park, museum entrance

That’s the State Capitol in the background. Aren’t those oak trees gorgeous??

Did you know that Louisiana’s State Capitol is the tallest capitol building in the United States?

Capitol Park Museum

The next time I’m home for a visit, I  think I’ll head back to the Capitol Park Museum and spend some serious time  exploring my state’s culture.

Museum Information:

Address:
660 N. 4th St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Phone:
225-342-5428

Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday and state holidays.

Admissions:

Adults $6
Students, Senior Citizens, Active Military $5
Children 12 and under Free
Groups of 15 or more w/ reservations 20% discount
School groups w/ reservations Free
Purchase tickets for two or more museums 20% discount
AAA membership discount, with card 10% discount

Disclosure

Our visit to The Capitol Park Museum was one of the cultural but non-culinary stops on our mostly food-focused Baton Rouge weekend itinerary. My entrance in the museum was complimentary, and I received compensation from Visit Baton Rouge. All opinions stated here are, as always, 100% my own.

Partners

Baton Rouge

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7 Responses to Capitol Park Museum: The Coolest Museum You’ve Never Heard Of

  1. Ryan Biddulph September 30, 2014 at 1:49 PM #

    Hi Lindsay,

    Oh yes we really do take our home states for granted; at least most travelers do.

    Way cool museum and I love that gigantic crawfish. Neat!

    After traveling for a bit I tended to downplay being from NJ. I’ve seen Fiji, Bali, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Nepal, Costa Rica, and I’ve lived in each spot for months. I focus so heavily on these awesome locations that I forget, hey….NJ is pretty neat too.

    Maybe it’s not a pristine tropical paradise with coconut trees swaying in the wind but you can easily experienced 10 or more different types of landscapes in a state which takes 3 hours to drive through. People think inter-city, crowded, urban. That’s 1 aspect of NJ. It has some of the priciest real estate on earth – Richard Branson’s world famous Natirir Spa resides in Somerset Count – mountains, farmland, beaches, pine barrens, bogs, fruit orchards and a bunch of other areas most folks would never know about.

    Quite crazy, and you have so much wilderness packed into the most population dense state in the US. The cities are crowded and the burbs are too, but the country is a ghost town in NJ, which makes it neat, and which is why I try not to downplay it. It’s a paradise in its own right.

    Way cool Lindsay. I want to add Louisiana to my travel list now. Super breakdown and the museum just looks like a neat place to visit.

    Tweeting soon.

    Signing off from Savusavu, Fiji.

    Ryan

    • Lindsay October 2, 2014 at 3:17 PM #

      Hey Ryan! Thanks for the comment (even if you are trying to sell your e-book ;-),) Yea, there are definitely some beautiful spots in Jersey, from what I’ve seen. You make it sound even more amazing – – – bogs? Had no idea! I think traveling helps us appreciate our homes more as well! Cool that you’re in Savusavu. I LOVE Fiji! One of my all-time favorite countries! Might check out your ebook 😉

  2. The Food Hunter October 1, 2014 at 4:23 PM #

    Great post about a wonderful museum…I’ve been there twice and could easily go back…there’s so much to experience!

    • Lindsay October 2, 2014 at 3:18 PM #

      Great that you got to go twice! Jealous! I can’t wait to go back again and spend more time!

  3. Leslie October 2, 2014 at 8:20 PM #

    I’m putting this on our to do list on one of our trips home, bet the kids would love it!

    • Lindsay October 3, 2014 at 12:53 PM #

      Good idea Les! Maybe we’ll go with y’all!

  4. Susan Chollette Loudermilk October 10, 2014 at 1:44 AM #

    Can’t wait to see this museum next time home. I’ve been to Poverty Point (named for the 19th century plantation where the ancient site was discovered, I think) and it’s boggling to try to grasp how long ago people lived there (rather well, too)!

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