Capitol Park Museum

660 N. Fourth Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802 - United States





From Louis Armstrong to Huey P. Long, from Mardi Gras to fais-do-do, and from the nation-building commerce of the Mississippi River to the life-sustaining bounty of the Gulf of Mexico, the Capitol Park Museum provides a panoramic exploration of the most vibrant state in America.

See how American Indians; colonists from France, Spain and Britain; enslaved Africans and Acadians from Nova Scotia—eventually known as Cajuns—populated and cultivated Louisiana, shaping it into one of the most culturally rich regions in the world. With thematic exhibits on diverse aspects of Louisiana history, industry and culture.


Experiencing Louisiana: Discovering the Soul of America
Permanent Exhibition
Take a road trip through the state, exploring regional culture, religious practices, foodways, and architecture. Another feature highlights the rich legacy of Louisiana music—jazz, rhythm and blues, blues, country, zydeco, swamp pop, and Cajun music—and its global influence. Key artifacts include Clifton Chenier’s accordion, Buddy Guy’s polka-dot guitar and Webb Pierce’s stage costume, made by the famous Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors. A final exhibition focuses on another cornerstone of the Louisiana experience, Mardi Gras, by exploring celebrations and traditions throughout the state.

Grounds for Greatness: Louisiana and the Nation
Permanent Exhibition
From the Louisiana Purchase to the critical role Louisiana played in our nation’s wars (including the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, the Civil War and both World Wars), you will come to understand the scope and importance of the historical contributions of Louisianans. A section on Governor Huey P. Long and jazz pioneer Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong showcases the larger-than-life personalities and accomplishments of two of the state’s most notable residents.

The Mardi Gras Shipwreck
Temporary Exhibition
The Louisiana Division of Archaeology and the Capitol Park Museum announce the opening of a new exhibit – The Mardi Gras Shipwreck. In 2007, a team of archaeologists and researchers mapped, recovered, and analyzed more than 1,000 artifacts from an underwater archaeological site in the Gulf of Mexico. While the artifacts and research indicate the ship sank in the early 1800s, the name of the ship and its crewmembers remain unknown. It's referred to as the Mardi Gras Shipwreck for the pipeline where it was found in 2002 by Okeanos Gas Gathering Company while surveying the floor of the gulf about 35 miles off the coast in 4,000 feet of water.

The Mardi Gras Shipwreck exhibit features recovered artifacts that remained underwater for over 200 years and represents over a decade of collaborative research and conservation. Visit the exhibit to learn more about what researchers pieced together from the remains of this mysterious shipwreck!

The Negro Motorist Green Book
Temporary Exhibition
Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana State Museum are proud to announce the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service's (SITES) exhibition "The Negro Motorist Green Book". The Capitol Park Museum will be the only museum in Louisiana where you can view this exhibition.

"The Green Book" was first created in 1936 by Harlem postman Victor Green. The annual travel guide, published until 1967, provided African American travelers with information on restaurants, gas stations, department stores, and other businesses that welcomed Black travelers during the era of Jim Crow laws and "sundown towns" – communities that explicitly prohibited African Americans from staying overnight. "The Green Book" offered critical, life-saving information, and sanctuary.

This exhibiton will offer an immersive look at the reality of travel for African Americans in mid-century America and how the annual guide served as an indispensable resource for the nation's rising African American middle class. The exhibition will include artifacts from business signs and postcards to historic footage, images, and firsthand accounts to convey not only the apprehension felt by African American travelers, but also the resilience, innovation, and elegance of people choosing to live a full American existence. It will bring focus to a vibrant parallel world of African American businesses, the rise of the black leisure class in the United States, and the important role "The Green Book" played in facilitating the second wave of the Great Migration.

Spanish Town Mardi Gras: 40 Years of Good Times And Bad Decisions
Temporary Exhibition
Spanish Town Mardi Gras: 40 Years of Good Times And Bad Decisions commemorates forty years of Baton Rouge’s unique Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade and thirty years of the infamous Spanish Town Mardi Gras Ball. Artifacts and images from the founders of Spanish Town Mardi Gras tell the story of how an informal neighborhood gathering grew to become one of Baton Rouge’s most iconic celebrations.

Age appropriate education activities are available upon request at this museum.

Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.