New Orleans's Best Museums

When most people think of New Orleans, they think of Mardi Gras, jazz music and Creole food. However, this city is culturally rich - it has, after all, been dubbed "America's Most Interesting City" - and there are a wide range of historical sites for you to explore. Next time you find yourself staying in a New Orleans' bed and breakfast, take a break from the nightlife and check out some of the city's best museums.

Louisana State Museum

This city is home to the state's namesake museum, which was erected in 1906 to preserve and display the state's unique culture. It has since accumulated 450,000 artworks and artifacts spread throughout eight locations in the city, including Cabildo, Creole House and Presbytère. At the Presbytère, for example, you'll find the "They Call Me Baby Doll" exhibit, which features costumes, photos and other items depicting the century-old history of African-American women dressing as baby dolls to celebrate Mardi Gras. In the same location, as well as at Jackson Square, you'll find an exhibit that looks at the societal impacts Hurricane Katrina. Head over to the Old U.S. Mint to take in a wide range of performances and events, like International Songwriters Night, outdoor film showings and cabaret performances.


New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

Want to explore the spiritual traditions of Louisana? This small museum sits in the French Quarter and houses a collection of historical artifacts depicting the folklore and rituals of Voodoo. Learn about zombies, gris-gris (the voodoo amulet), voodoo queens and the effect that slave trade had on introducing these spiritual folkways into the local culture. You can also sign up for a cemetery walking tour, which will take you through Basin Street's St. Louis Cemetery #1 - it's the oldest in the city and has been named "City of the Dead."


National World War II Museum

The war buff will enjoy a trip to National World War II Museum, located in the Central Business District. The museum emphasizes the American experience of the war, and its main pavilion portrays World War II's many amphibious landings, particularly the Normandy Invasion. You can also visit the Malcolm Forbes Theater to view exclusive wartime features and walk through the museum's array of galleries, several of which explore the people, places and planning of D-Day. Don't forget to stop by the newly erected US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. This building honors the soldiers and citizens who've taken part in the fight for freedom, including the engineers who created planes, tanks and other wartime equipment.


Museum of Art

If you're in the mood for some art Museum of Art in the city's Tremé neighborhood. As the oldest art museum in the city, it's amassed an impressive 40,000-item collection with a strong focus on American and French art, as well as Japanese and African works. You won't want to skip over the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. It holds more than 60 sculptures among an expanse of greenery, lagoons and winding footpaths that lead you through all the gorgeousness. NOMA also offers film screenings, a range of special events and a relaxing cafe in case you need to take a load off.


Pharmacy Museum

While discovering the history of the pharmaceutical industry may not seem like an appealing afternoon to some people, this museum is full of fascinating surprises and unusual bits of history. The city has deep roots in the field of pharmacy and was home to America's first licensed pharmacist, Louis J. Dufilho. Located in Dufilho's original apothecary in the French Quarter, the museum features artifacts depicting strange medical practices of times past, like bloodletting via leeches and the use of opium as treatment. Feast your eyes on old-time apothecary tools and bottles, surgical equipment and exhibits portraying methods of administration, and learn about the potions and herbs used in voodoo tradition. Afterward, enjoy a relaxing stroll through the historic courtyard and carriageway.