20 Museums in New Orleans

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In addition to being an economical and commercial hub for the Gulf Coast region, New Orleans is known worldwide for its music, Creole cuisine, dialects, and annual celebrations and festivals, including Mardi Gras. New Orleans is a city entrenched in culture from various backgrounds, creating something unique in the U.S. Its French, Spanish and Creole history have made a unique impact on its historical landscape in addition to its food, music and other areas of culture today. New Orleans’ museums preserve, celebrate and share this history and culture.  

The French Quarter is known as the historical heart, featuring many museums, historical institutions (including restaurants, clubs, and more), and amazing architecture. The city’s unique history and culture provide ripe ground for amazing museums in New Orleans. Here are some of the best.  

Museums in New Orleans

20 New Orleans Museums To Visit

1- The National WWII Museum

As the largest museum in the state with six buildings, numerous permanent and special/travelling exhibits, a theatre and three restaurants, the National WWII Museum is the official museum dedicated to the second world war for the U.S.

The museum strives to honour the men and women who served in different ways or were affected by the war.

I have been consistently impressed with their ability to expand and create ever more immersive and updated exhibits and experiences, embracing new technology and ideas.

Open daily with a general admission of $31.50 for adults; $26.50 for seniors; $19 for military members and spouses, college students, and children 5+.

WWII veterans and their companions receive free admission.

A “second day pass” can be purchased for an additional $7 and can be used within a week of the original visit date to help you see everything.

The National WWII Museum is at 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, 70130. Skip the line and reserve your National WWII Museum Campus Pass Tickets online here

2- Southern Food & Beverage Museum

museums of new orleans food

Celebrate all things food, drink, and culture from the Deep South at this unique museum.

Lousiana’s Popeye’s Chicken, red beans and rice, and more reside in the amazing culinary exhibits, including the Museum of the American Cocktail collection, Chef Ryan Hughes’s living exhibit and restaurant, and La Galerie d’Absinthe (Absinthe Gallery).

Along with its permanent exhibits, the museum hosts regular special exhibits, demonstrations, lectures, tastings, and private cooking classes on classics like gumbo, Bananas Foster, and pralines for all ages.

Open Thursday-Monday with an admission of $10,50 per adult (12+) and $5.25 for students, military and seniors.

The Southern Food & Beverage Museum is at 1504 Oretha C. Haley Boulevard, New Orleans, 70113.

If you like this museum, you might also like these tours:

3- New Orleans Museum Of Art

In New Orleans’ City Park, find the oldest fine arts institution in the city, which started in 1911 with only nine pieces of art but today features about 40,000 objects.

Their permanent collection focuses on photography, glass, African and Japanese works and French and American art, supplemented with regularly changing temporary exhibits by world-famous artists spanning even unconventional forms like fashion and digital media.

After viewing the broad expanse of art indoors, plan time for the Sydney and Walka Besthoff Sculpture Garden, with over 90 art pieces on 11 acres (about 4.5 ha) open daily and free to the public. Pets, food, picnicking and biking are not allowed.

Open Tuesday to Sunday with an admission of $15 for adults, $10 for military and seniors, and $8 for college students.

The New Orleans Museum of Art is at One Collins Diboll Circle, City Park, New Orleans, 70124.

4- New Orleans Jazz Museum

new orleans museums jazz

While you are in the birthplace of jazz, check out this museum dedicated to the art form.

The historic French Quarter and the Frenchmen Street live music corridor in the historic Old U.S. Mint featuring local and international giants in the industry, including Danny Barker, Louis Prima, Fats Domino and Louis Armstrong.

In addition to simply preserving and sharing the history of the music genre, it also hosts weekly live music and several local festivals to continue sharing this unique genre of music with the world.

Open Tuesday to Sunday with an admission of $8 for adults and $6 for students, seniors, and active military.

The New Orleans Jazz Museum is at 400 Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, 70116.

If you like this museum, you might also like the Steamboat Natchez Evening Jazz Cruise (with dinner option).

5- Louisiana Children’s Museum

Children (and adults) learn by doing at the Louisiana Children’s Museum.

The museum’s new campus in New Orleans City Park provides a wonderful location for families.

The remodel features modern immersive updates in addition to new play areas and learning spaces.

Explore the natural world, the mighty Mississippi River, local wetlands, how food travels through the body, how you can make your own mark, and more with hands-on interactive adventures designed for children.

After your visit, check out the in-house, kid-friendly restaurant, Acorn, and the various outdoor activities throughout the park.

Open Wednesday through Sunday, with an admission of $16 per guest plus sales tax, with a discount for seniors and active military. Purchase ahead of time online.

Louisiana Children’s Museum is in City Park at 15 Henry Thomas Drive, New Orleans, 70124.

6- The Historic New Orleans Collection (HNOC)

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Experience life as it used to be at the HNOC, a museum, research centre, and publisher that preserves and shares the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South.

The collection’s three campuses of historic buildings dating back to the 18th century in the heart of the French Quarter comprise several exhibition halls.

It has constantly evolving collections featuring Afro-Creole poetry, French Quarter life, the War of 1812, Tennessee Williams, jazz and more New Orleans life and culture, including second lines and social aid, as well as pleasure clubs through architecture, artifacts and artwork.

Open Tuesday through Saturday for free to the public though some special exhibitions and events may require admission.

Visitors are encouraged to book timed-entry tickets in advance.

The Historic New Orleans Collections are at 520 Royal Street, 533 Royal Street, and 410 Chartres Street, New Orleans, 70130.

7- Backstreet Cultural Museum

Open to the public for over 20 years, this museum remains one of the most acclaimed spaces featuring Mardi Gras Indian culture and serves as the annual starting point for the Northside Skull & Bone Gang on Mardi Gras.

Housed in a building that looks like another residential home in Tremé, one of the oldest African American neighbourhoods in the country, the Backstreet Cultural Museum showcases New Orleans’ extensive and one-of-a-kind culture.

It has one of the most comprehensive archives of the traditions and community movements of the area.

Sylvester “Hawk” Faracis began documenting and preserving Carnival celebrations, second lines, and jazz funerals across the city through photographs that would become this iconic institution.

The museum shares New Orleans’ African American community-based masking and processional traditions, such as jazz funerals, social aids, Mardi Gras Indians and pleasure clubs, and even hosts public music and dance performances.

Open Tuesday through Saturday and admission is $20 per adult; $15 for locals, seniors, and veterans; and $10 for children.

Backstreet Cultural Museum is at 1531 St. Philip Street, New Orleans, 70116.

8- New Orleans African American Museum

Also in Tremé on a former plantation with seven historic buildings, the New Orleans African American Museum preserves and promotes African-American contribution to the city during emancipation and reconstruction through today.

Explore the 1829 Meilleur-Goldwaite House with original interiors and surroundings, St Augustine Church, Creole cottages, and Congo Square, a gathering place, through tours.

Consider checking out their Half Day and Full Day Treme experiences, including meals at local restaurants and tours that must be scheduled and paid for a minimum of 72 hours in advance.

Open Thursday through Sunday, the general admission with a self-guided tour is $20 for adults and $10 for students and children but you can add on a one-hour guided tour for a small additional cost and discounts are available for Louisiana residents.

The New Orleans African American Museum is at 1417-1418 Governor Nicholls, New Orleans, 70116.

9- Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Delve into the culture and aesthetic of Southern artists at this Smithsonian-affiliated museum, featuring paintings, photography, sculpture, and handicrafts from both historical and contemporary artists.

The permanent collection features over 4,000 pieces from 15 different states, including ones dating back to 1733, making it the most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world.

Open daily with an admission of $13.50 for adults, $11 for seniors, and $6.75 for children 5+.

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art is at 925 Camp Street, New Orleans, 70130.

10- New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Originally the apothecary of the nation’s first licensed pharmacist, Louis Dufilho Jr., this museum explores the world of pharmaceuticals.

Check out its collection and educational programming on early medicines, superstitious cures, and the evolution of pharmaceutical care and regulations.

On the first floor, check out the many products and techniques offered by pharmacists and then explore living quarters, special exhibits, the Physician’s Study, and Sick Room on the second floor.

Open Tuesday through Saturday with an admission of $10 per guest 6+ with a discount for seniors, students, and military members.

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is at 514 Chartres Street, New Orleans, 70130.

The NOLA Drunken History Tour includes a visit to this museum. 

11- New Orleans Botanical Garden

Take a break in nature at the New Orleans Botanical Garden, which covers 10 acres (4 ha) and features over 2,000 varieties of plants from around the world.

The garden is one of the few remaining public garden designs from the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

It even displays works by three Art Deco masters of the time: architect Richard Koch, landscape architect William Wiedorn, and sculptor Enrique Alférez.

Explore several different gardens, exhibits, and experiences of various aspects of the wide world of nature, such as its 8,000 square-foot (743 square-meter) Helis Foundation Enrique Alférez Sculpture Garden, the Conservatory of the Two Sisters with its two exhibits Living Fossils on prehistoric plant life and Tropical Rainforest complete with a waterfall and cave.

The unique Historic New Orleans Train Garden features replicas of streetcars and trains from the late 1800s to early 190s at 1/22 their actual size winding around the 1,300-foot (396-meter) track as well as typical New Orleans home and building architecture made from botanical materials.

The Yakumo Nihon Teien Japanese Garden features not only plants from Japan, but also celebrates other related aspects of Japanese culture, including bonsai (growing and training miniature trees), ikebana (flower arrangement), and sado (tea ceremony).

The museum is open year-round, Wednesday through Sunday, with an admission of $12 for adults and $6 for children 3-12.

The New Orleans Botanical Garden’s entrance is at 5 Victory Avenue, New Orleans, 70124.

12- Mardi Gras World

new orleans museums

While most of the world considers Fat Tuesday a chance for a parade, beads, masks, King Cake and indulgence before possibly giving up something for Lent, it’s truly a way of life in New Orleans.

The history, customs, floats and everything in between are on show at Mardi Gras World.

The world’s largest float designing and building facility creates more than 80% of the festival’s floats.

Explore the traditions, parades, music, costumes, and food associated with this holiday by donning authentic costumes, snacking on some king cake, sipping on some local coffee, and exploring these massive, beautiful floats.

Open daily with an admission of $22 for adults; $17 for seniors, students, and military members; and $14 for children.

Mardi Gras World is at 1380 Port of New Orleans Place, New Orleans, 70130. Buy the Go City: New Orleans All-Inclusive Pass for access to this museum and 25+ attractions.

13- Sazerac House

museums in new orleans sazerac

Meander through the history of craft cocktail culture, particularly the first cocktail.

Sazerac House explores the cocktail industry’s origins and wide-scale production, Prohibition and contemporary alcohol history.

The focus is on its namesake drink through themed floors of interactive exhibits and cocktail samples (for visitors 21+).

Sazerac House also features its own distillery, bitters lab and signature cocktail classes.

Open Tuesday to Saturday, admission and tours are free but reserve your spot in advance.

Sazerac House is at 101 Magazine Street, New Orleans, 70130.

After visiting the museum, drink the real thing while on this New Orleans Cocktail and Food History Tour.

14- The Lower 9th Ward Living Museum

Explore the lives of the people who lived in the Lower 9th Ward before the area was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Only one in five families have been able to return to their homes even today as reconstruction continues.

Founded and curated by Leona Tate, one of the four girls who desegregated public housing in the country, the six-room house museum showcases the history of the Lower 9th Ward through the eyes and voices of its inhabitants with oral histories and carefully curated exhibits and cultural events.

The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday and admission is free.

The Lower 9th Ward Living Museum is at 5909 St Claude Avenue, New Orleans, 70117.

The New Orleans Sightseeing City Tour includes a visit to the Lower 9th Ward. 

15- Museum Of Southern Jewish Experience

While the museum is new to New Orleans, the original Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience was established in 1986 in Utica, MS, but closed in 2012 to find a more accessible location for the public.

With a collection of nearly 4,000 artifacts, including household items, business records, photographs, and letters, the museum shares the experiences of Jews in the South.

It traces the myriad ways Jews in the South influenced and were influenced by the cultural heritage of the American South.

Open Wednesday through Monday, with an admission of $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, students, and active military, and $10 for children 6+.

The Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience is at 818 Howard Avenue, New Orleans, 70113.

16- McKenna Museum Of African American Art

Explore fine arts focusing on the African Diaspora, featuring historical and contemporary art pieces.

The museum documents the visual aesthetic of people of African descent in North America and beyond, featuring established fine arts masters and emerging ones in their collections, preservation and interpretation.

Experience special programs such as guest speakers, workshops, and book readings.

Complete the form online or call to view the collection and schedule a private tour ($20 per person).

The McKenna Museum of African American Art is at 2003 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, 70130.

17- The Voodoo Museum

Dive into the history and culture of the voodoo religion and its connection to the city.

Open since 1972, the museum strives to provide a casual and curious opportunity for visitors, preserving the legacy of voodoo culture and history of New Orleans.

Explore the museum with a self-guided tour starting at $8 and consider scheduling a Voodoo walking tour featuring Congo Square and Marie Laveaus’s house.

Or, if you are interested in a variety of voodoo services such as psychic readings, rituals, ceremonies, or consultations, the museum can facilitate contact with contemporary local practitioners.

Open daily with an admission of $10 for adults and $8 for seniors, military members, and students.

The Voodoo Museum is at 724 Dumaine Street, New Orleans, 70116.

Join the New Orleans Haunted Ghost, Voodoo, Vampire and Mystery Tour to stay with the theme.

18- The Cabildo And Arsenal

Experience history at the Cabildo, originally built between 1795 and 1799, with its distinctive Spanish arches and a French–style roof, to house offices of the town council in Jackson Square, where the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803.

In addition to its own historical status, the Cabildo also features an impressive collection of historical items all the way back to the earliest explorers, including portraits and original documents and artifacts from the Civil War, local Native American culture, and more.

Check out Napoleon’s death masks, one of only four in the world.

The Cabildo also allows access to the Arsenal, the Old Louisiana State Armory built in 1839 to house artillery and small arms and was home to the Louisiana Legion and the Orleans Artillery.

Today it is part of the Louisiana State Museum and houses various military artifacts from its history and hosts temporary exhibits.

Open Tuesday through Sunday with an admission of $10 for adults and $8 for students, seniors, and military members.

The Cabildo is at 701 Chartres Street, New Orleans, 70116.

19- Museum Of Death

new orleans museum

Not for everyone, the Museum of Death caters to those with a dark sense of humour or who are fascinated by the macabre as it explores almost every aspect of death.

Even the building features its kitsch style, feeling like the set of a B-movie featuring garish colours and almost cartoonish imagery.

Serial killers and morgues to macabre art and skull abound here as you explore the different facets relating to death in an entertaining way, but still weighty all the same.

Open Wednesday through Monday with an admission of $17 plus tax, the Museum of Death is at 227 Dauphine Street, New Orleans, 70112.

This will put you in the mood for a hair-raising evening on the Cemetery and Ghost Bus Tour. 

20- 1850 House

Louisiana state museum new orleans

As one of five Louisiana State Museum historic properties open to the public in the French Quarter, the 1850 House shows us a glimpse of upper-middle-class life in New Orleans during the most prosperous time in the city’s history: the antebellum (post-Civil War) period.

Explore antique art and period decor, including neoclassical bookcases, rococo revival-style furniture, and neogothic pieces.

The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday with an admission of $5 for visitors age 6+ and a discounted rate of $4 for students, seniors, and active military members.

1850 House is at 523 St. Ann Street, New Orleans, 70116. 

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Sarah Hoffschwelle is an author and freelance writer with a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Museum Studies focusing on science communication and education. Originally from Texas, she moved to South Korea as a child for a couple of years, travelling to China, Thailand, Japan, and Australia during her time there. She has travelled to Germany, England, and Ireland and studied abroad for a summer in Italy. She currently lives in New Hampshire and continues to travel domestically as much as possible and is planning several international trips for the next few years