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10 Can’t Miss Museums in New Orleans

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10 Cant Miss Museums in New Orleans

New Orleans is home to some of the best museums in the country. Known for its rich history, unique culture, and thriving art scene, Nola invites thousands of visitors every year to experience an up-close view of what makes it so special through its large collection of museums.

From art galleries to interactive exhibits, the city’s museums offer the chance to explore and appreciate the diversity of New Orleans, Louisiana, and American culture as a whole.

Rain or shine, hopping from one museum to the next, is the perfect activity on your New Orleans getaway.

We’ve rounded up our top ten museums not to miss while staying at a New Orleans vacation home.

Local Heritage Museums

New Orleans Jazz Museum

Photo Credit: William A. Morgan

Located in the historic Old U.S. Mint building, The New Orleans Jazz Museum celebrates the history of jazz music right where it began. The museum is centered between the French Quarter and Frenchmen Street, the heart of the music scene in New Orleans.

New Orleans Jazz Museum offers interactive exhibits, live music performances, and educational programs to explore and appreciate jazz music history from all angles.

Guests can buy tickets online for general admission or check out the events page for year-round jazz performances.

Backstreet Cultural Museum

Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Located in the historic Treme neighborhood, Backstreet Cultural Museum pays tribute to the city’s rich heritage grounded in African American culture and history.

Today, the museum holds the world’s largest collection of pieces representing African American tradition ranging from costumes to artifacts to films. Through its exhibits, visitors can experience Mardi Gras Indian history, jazz funerals, social aid and pleasure clubs, and more. As a pillar in the Treme community, Backstreet Cultural Museum invites guests to embrace the rich and ongoing legacy of African American culture in New Orleans.

Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm for general admission.

New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

Photo Credit: Inspired By Maps

Situated in the heart of the French Quarter, New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum gives visitors a front-row seat to the history of voodoo culture in New Orleans.

Visitors can partake in a voodoo walking tour packed with educational and interactive experiences within the museum and other local attractions. The museum also offers visitors the chance to participate in special services, such as psychic readings, rituals, and ceremonies.

Open daily, tickets to the museum and a guided tour can be found here.

Mardi Gras World

Photo Credit: 4kclips

While not technically a museum, Mardi Gras World is a must-visit destination in the Lower Garden District if you want to dive into New Orleans’s Mardi Gras culture. This 40,000 square-foot warehouse houses Mardi Gras floats year-round – and is the very site where they are made!

Visitors can get a behind-the-scenes look into Carnival season through a self-guided tour of the complex. The tour starts with the history of Mardi Gras before making your way into the “float den,” where you might glimpse artists designing the floats for next year’s Mardi Gras parades.

Open 7 days a week. Ticket and tour information can be found here.

History Museums

The National World War II Museum

Photo Credit: William A. Morgan

Known as one of the premiere WWII Museums in the world, New Orleans’ National WWII Museum is a must-visit for history buffs. The museum highlights an impressive collection of exhibits, war artifacts, and educational content that depict the war’s historical significance and honor the sacrifices of war heroes.

Visitors can experience immersive exhibits about the D-Day invasion, browse a collection of WWII aircraft, and even hear testimonies from war veterans first-hand. There are also countless lectures and educational programs for those who want to dive deeper into war history during their visit.

The National WWII Museum is located in the Warehouse District in Downtown Nola. Tickets can be found here.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Photo Credit: lynn friedman

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum showcases the history of the apothecary industry in Louisiana. This popular French Quarter destination next to the Mississippi River was once a fully-functioning pharmacy in the 19th century.

The self-guided tour allows visitors to explore various artifacts such as antique medical tools, potions and remedies, historical medical books, and more. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday for the self-guided tour. Tickets are $10 for adults, and there are no online reservations.

The Presbytere

Photo Credit: Page Light Studios

As part of the Louisiana State Museum collection, The Presbytere is another French Quarter cultural treasure that highlights the resilient history of New Orleans through its permanent exhibits.

The Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond exhibit tell the raw account of Hurricane Katrina and its impact on New Orleans and the greater Gulf Coast area. The exhibit documents both the hurricane and the aftermath as the community rebuilt itself through tragedy. This powerful look into Louisiana history offers visitors a glimpse into the spirit of its residents.

The Presbytere is open from Tuesday to Sunday; tickets can be found here.

Pro tip: Cabildo is another stop in the Louisiana State Museum collection. This Spanish colonial building houses a mix of Louisiana and New Orleans artifacts in Jackson Square.

Art & Food Museums

New Orleans Museum of Art

Photo Credit: William A. Morgan
  • Address: 1 Collins Diboll Cir, New Orleans, LA 
  • Website: www.noma.org

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is located in the Mid City neighborhood right in the middle of City Park. Opened in 1911, this historic art museum contains an extensive collection of fine art. The collection spans over 5,000 years of art, offering visitors a one-of-a-kind cultural opportunity. While known for its French and American art, NOMA features art exhibits from all over the world.

Adjacent to the museum, visitors can also enjoy the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, an eleven-acre exhibit of 90 art pieces displayed throughout the lush gardens.

NOMA is open from Tuesday to Sunday for general admission; the Besthoff Sculpture Garden is open seven days a week.

Pro tip: Right next door to NOMA is Louisiana Children’s Museum, a perfect museum activity for the whole family.

Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Photo Credit: jejim

Just across the street from the WWII Museum in the Warehouse District, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art displays the world’s largest collection of Southern art.

The museum pays homage to the South’s artistic heritage through a diverse range of original exhibitions. Art enthusiasts will appreciate the variety of mediums, from paintings to photography to mixed-media art. Along with the exhibits, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art provides educational programs and community events to invite visitors to explore the vast world of Southern art together.

Open daily; visitors can find more ticket information here.

The Southern Food & Beverage Museum

Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org
  • Address: 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA
  • Website: southernfood.org

Located in the Lower Garden District, The Southern Food & Beverage Museum celebrates the unique flavors of Southern cuisine. Through interactive exhibits and tastings, the museum explores the history and cultural impact of Southern food and beverages on the culinary world.

In this fully-immersive museum, visitors are invited to begin at the bar, where they can try a specialty cocktail, such as the infamous New Orleans Sazerac. From there, visitors stroll through the museum’s collection of vintage cooking artifacts while learning about the history of Southern food.

The museum even offers cooking classes, where visitors can learn first-hand how to prepare a delicious Creole or Cajun meal. The museum is open from Thursday to Monday; tickets can be found here.

A Deep Dive into New Orleans Culture

New Orleans museums put the city’s creativity and diversity on full display. From exploring the Southern culinary craft to learning about the history of New Orleans, you’ll get a glimpse into what makes this region so unique and special. Explore, partake, and be inspired by the many exhibits, artifacts, and activities that New Orleans museums offer.For visitors wanting to immerse themselves in NOLA’s culture, history, and art scene while staying at a local vacation home, there is no better way to do so than visiting the ten best museums in the city.


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