The Best Museums & Galleries in Baton Rouge You Should See

Alana Jajko

The capital city of the U.S. state of Louisiana, Baton Rouge is the political hub of the state with a location of historic importance. Set right on the Istrouma Bluff just upriver from the Mississippi River Delta, this area proved to be a spot of prime business development and a hub of culture. Over time these influences has evolved to create the city as it stands today. We’ve picked out some of the best museums and galleries in Baton Rouge that have resulted from its evolution.

Capitol Park Museum

The Capitol Park Museum exhibits a spread of the state of Louisiana’s colorful past from the origins of famous locals like Louis Armstrong to festivals like Mardi Gras. Owned and operated by the Louisiana State Museum, Capitol Park will leave you with knowledge of how such a culturally rich area came to be—learning all about how the area was populated with American Indians and French, Spanish and British colonists who enslaved Africans and Acadians from Nova Scotia—eventually known as Cajuns. The Capitol Park Museum also offers events like live musicians and local artists, as well as educational programs for children from field trips to treasure hunts. For a better idea of what is in store, the museum also offers a virtual tour of the place on their website. Admissions are very reasonable with an entry fee of only six dollars for adults, with children 12 and under free.

Capitol Park Museum, 660 N 4th St, Baton Rouge, LA, USA + 1 225 342 5428

Louisiana Art & Science Museum

The Louisiana Art & Science Museum is located in the thriving downtown area of Baton Rouge. in a 1925 historic railway station on the banks of the Mississippi River. Seeking to enhance the understanding and appreciation of art and science for general audiences and students alike, the museum offers entertaining and educational exhibits. See the permanent collections of Ancient Egypt and the Universe Gallery, or enjoy changing exhibitions that feature displays of contemporary artists or celebrate old inventions like the Hubble Space telescope. The museum’s planetarium also features a spread of shows that change from season to season. Some of its recent showings include Flight of the Butterflies, Solar Superstorms, Dark Universe, and Magic Treehouse Space Mission. Whether you spend your time at one of these showings or visit the popular hand-on galleries and interactive performances, The Louisiana Art & Science Museum will offer a fun and educating time for everyone.

Louisiana Art & Science Museum, 100 S River Rd, Baton Rouge, LA, USA + 1 225 344 5272

LSU Museum of Art (Shaw Center of the Arts)

With the one of the largest university-affiliated art collections in the South, the LSU Museum of Art presents a wide range of exhibitions featuring regional, American, and European painting, sculpture, decorative arts, works on paper, and photography. Located on the fifth floor of the Shaw Center for the Arts, the museum occupies 13,000 square-feet sectioned into fourteen galleries that highlight American and British portraiture and decorative arts, American Arts and Crafts pottery, Chinese jade, and modern and contemporary paintings and sculptures, with a focus on southern artists. In addition to the ever-changing exhibitions, LSU Museum of Art also offers programs like Stories in Art for young children and Neighborhood Arts Projects geared towards children, youth and families in under-resourced neighborhoods. With a huge collections of intriguing works and programs that give back to the community LSU Museum of Art is a place worth visiting.

LSU Museum of Art, 100 Lafayette St, Baton Rouge, LA, USA + 1 225 389 7200

USS Kidd & Veterans Memorial

USS Kidd & Veterans Memorial allows you to hop on up and explore the inner workings of one of the most decorated American warships in World War II. This great piece of history in downtown Baton Rouge is the centerpiece of a memorial which serves to honor the men and women of the American armed forces. The ship itself was named after Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who died on the bridge of his flagship USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. If you enjoy U.S. history, this destroyer is a must-see. After a touching tour through a museum of fallen American heroes, the ship will not disappoint. One reviewer commented, ‘from the music playing on the radio to the decorations in the junior officers bunks to the perfect restoration of the enlisted men’s latrines and showers to the perfectly restored bridge, this vessel looks as it did when men served aboard it.’ Free to explore at your own pace — the self-guided tour of the USS Kidd presents an authentic step into the past and rare piece of important U.S. history.

USS Kidd & Veterans Memorial, 305 S River Rd, Baton Rouge, LA, USA + 1 225 342 1942

Baton Rouge Gallery (Center for Contemporary Art)

Since its opening in 1966, Baton Rouge Gallery Center for Contemporary Art has held the goal to give professional contemporary artists in the Baton Rouge area a vehicle and venue to allow for them to connect with local audiences. With over 55 artist members, the gallery has continued to uphold its values, exhibiting artworks in various media from paint to pottery, film to digital. In addition to featuring local and national artists, the Baton Rouge Gallery also hosts special performances and a spoken word program. Opening receptions for current exhibitions are held on the first Wednesday of every month from 7pm to 9pm and are open and free to all visitors. For more events and programming, the Baton Rouge Gallery also has a calendar on their website. With everything it has to offer and its long-standing reputation, the Baton Rouge Gallery is a must-see for anyone looking to be active in the contemporary art world.

Baton Rouge Gallery, 1515 Dalrymple Dr, Baton Rouge, LA, USA + 1 225 383 1470

photo courtesy LSU Rural Life Museum

LSU Rural Life Museum

Dubbed one of the top ten outdoor museums in the world by the British Museum, the LSU Rural Life Museum is dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of materials from the cultures of 18th and 19th century rural Louisiana. Featuring more than 30 unique, historic buildings, the open-air museum allows you to travel back in time and experience the lifestyles of the past with the largest collection of artifacts and architecture from the period. Explore the historic plantation complex on your own with a self-guided tour or scheduled a tour ahead of time with a group. A historical treasure of Baton Rouge, the LSU Rural Life Museum also hosts seasonal events like this year’s ‘A Rural Life Christmas,’ featuring musical groups, demonstrating artisans, storytellers, and costumed re-enactors will be present to set the holiday mood. For the history buff and endeavoring anthropologist, the LSU Rural Life Museum is a must-see.

LSU Rural Life Museum, 4560 Essen Ln, Baton Rouge, LA, USA + 1 225 765 2437
By Alana Jajko

Since graduating from Bucknell University, Alana has been seeking out life as a nature and travel writer. With a thirst for adventure, she has traveled extensively through Greece for archaeology, Nepal as a volunteer, and much of the U.S. by road trip, seeing natural wonders of her native country.

With every place, she keeps a writing and sketch journal to capture everything in the moment. She feels it is key to attaining the essence of what makes a place so alive.

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