NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Explore the kaleidoscopic array of cultures that gave rise to one of North America’s most diverse cities in “New Orleans, the Founding Era,” an original exhibition and bilingual companion book by The Historic New Orleans Collection, commemorating the city’s 300th anniversary. The museum, research center and publisher—located in the heart of the French Quarter, the city’s oldest neighborhood—celebrated the opening of the exhibition today with a press conference and ribbon cutting attended by international, state and local dignitaries.

“‘New Orleans, the Founding Era’ offers visitors an opportunity to reflect on the complicated and often messy nature of New Orleans’s birth and early years,” said Erin M. Greenwald, curator of the exhibition, who is now curator of programs at the New Orleans Museum of Art. “It examines the experiences of the settlement’s earliest inhabitants, a majority of whom were unwilling participants in France’s colonization of the lower Mississippi Valley.”

The display, which highlights many perspectives of life in and around early New Orleans, features 135 original objects, including archaeological artifacts, scientific and religious instruments, paintings, maps and charts, manuscripts and rare books. More than 75 objects are on loan from organizations in France, Spain, Canada and the United States, a number of which have rarely traveled beyond their home institutions.

Complementing the original artifacts are digital components, including an interactive map of archaeological digs at French Quarter sites; a game quizzing visitors on supplies needed for living in the settlement; a 1731 inventory of enslaved Africans and African-descended people living on a plantation and a series of short films featuring “talking silhouettes” narrating the experiences of early residents.

Eight scholars of the French Atlantic World contributed essays for the richly illustrated bilingual French/English book, which describes the different populations who inhabited precolonial New Orleans and the surrounding areas, as well as the forces driving the settlement’s growth. Gérard Araud, ambassador of France to the United States, contributed the book’s foreword and attended opening events.

The Historic New Orleans Collection’s exhibition “New Orleans, the Founding Era” is on view at 533 Royal Street now through May 27, 2018, and is open Tuesday–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Admission is free. The companion book is $50 and available for purchase at the museum’s gift shop, independent bookstores and online retailers.

About The Historic New Orleans Collection

Founded in 1966, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South region. For more information, visit, call (504) 523-4662, or follow THNOC on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.



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SOURCE The Historic New Orleans Collection