The Rural Life Museum is a cultural experience not to be missed. But don’t just take our word for it! Here’s what visitors around the world have to say about planning your visit to the RLM, as a special destination, or as part of a visit to this most special region.
These are, in our estimation, a list of thirty marvelous places, flavors, events, and experiences that anyone who lives in—or loves—our part of the world should experience at least once in his or her lifetime.
“Imagine: 450 acres of prime real estate—never to be built on; never to be developed—in the middle of Baton Rouge.” David Floyd, director of the LSU Rural Life Museum, is fond of saying that. And fair enough. The Burden family’s 1964 decision to donate their family farm to LSU has had a vast impact not just on the university, but on the city and state as well. The Burden Center serves as a working agricultural research facility for LSU students and faculty. The entire site functions as a publicly accessible green space in the center of the Capital City. And in the middle of it all lies the Rural Life Museum. Through a collection of thirty-two buildings and thousands of artifacts ranging from coffins to horse-drawn carriages, this outdoor museum exists to collect, preserve, and interpret the material culture, cultural landscape, and vernacular architecture of Louisiana and the lower Mississippi River Valley. This was the first museum in the state to interpret slavery. In the 1980s—when it was far smaller—The British Museum identified it as one of the top ten outdoor museums in the world. Self-guided and docent-led tours are always available. Public programs such as Harvest Days, a Rural Life Christmas, and a series of summer camps bring the region’s history and heritage to life for generations who would never otherwise know it.
“Excellent in and outdoor museum”
Wow, this is a museum we are glad we were able to visit. Its a gem and a pleasant place to spend the (half)day. The indoor exhibits are well organized and many large items are on open display. The LSU archeologists have a section in this museum as well, you can see them working. Once outside a great variety of buildings are open to visit. The terrain isn’t all that easy to walk and there were a lot of mosquito’s. We enjoyed the walk around outside, loved the Cajun house and little country church and just had a great time. Its educational and still entertaining.
This is a must see in Baton Rouge. It’s amazing how it’s right in the middle of the city but overlooked by so many. It makes it all the better. When you go here, you forget you are even in Baton Rouge with all of the trees and interesting surroundings. I have gone here for a few different festivals and had a great time each time. My favorite is by far the beer tasting where they offer hundreds of different beers to taste including many local brews. I have also come for a Civil War reenactment and that was quite interesting. If you haven’t been, check out one of their events and give it a try.
Illustrating Louisiana’s pioneering and agricultural past, this informative museum showcases architecture, implements, and cultural practices of recent centuries. The Folk Architecture arena features simple, traditional structures built primarily for utility, while the Barn displays tools and artifacts used by Native Americans, early settlers, and rural inhabitants. The Working Plantation, then, consists of a cluster of dependencies representing various aspects of plantation life, including a kitchen, commissary, and blacksmith’s shop. During the year, the museum hosts programs illustrating old-time domestic practices, and nearby Windrush Gardens highlights typical plantation flora and the work of its landscape architect owner.
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.