Located inside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, the Louisiana Civil Rights Museum is set to officially open to the public on Sunday, October 8. The space features multimedia presentations highlighting monumental Louisiana civil rights initiatives.
“It has been quite the journey for these civil rights heroes to finally be honored in this way,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “We are excited to open the doors of the Louisiana Civil Rights Museum and invite everyone to come explore the past and be inspired for the future.”
The design of the museum, which encompasses 5,000 square feet, was inspired by the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail. Organizing significant, historic events, sites and more, visitors to the museum will follow civil rights “pathways” featuring immersive and interactive exhibits that reveal how activism, demonstrations, and more led to the civil rights movement and triumphs in Louisiana.
The museum is organized along three parallel paths, each representing a particular right. One end of the museum features a section highlighting the resistance grown from Louisiana’s thriving African American culture that was formed around the movement. At the other end, visitors will experience a broader story aimed to help further understand the long history of each civil right.
The museum paths are intentionally interrupted by modules highlighting engaging and relevant civil rights stories. The paths are also lined with scrims, a medium similar to canvas, that present an atmospheric backdrop between each pathway creating a sense of movement amongst crowds of protestors while showcasing large-scale iconic and impactful images. Between each pathway is an opening allowing visitors to move from one key moment to another, connecting and building on other stories. The overall concept embodies the idea of paths taken toward recognition of rights being blocked or impeded, and the action, whether it be by a group or individual, required to continue the fight.
Throughout the museum, visitors will have the opportunity to experience immersive and interactive moments presented along the pathways, such as stories narrated by the voices of actors Wendell Pierce and Lynn Whitfield, telling the story of efforts to desegregate schools, including the impactful roles of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant and Southern University student sit-ins. The Louisiana Civil Rights Museum will also be home to a state-of-the-art “dream cube” which will allow visitors to step inside and, through advanced artificial intelligence experience, interact and ask questions with historical figures such as Ruby Bridges about her role in the desegregation of schools in New Orleans.
The Louisiana Civil Rights Museum is part of the ongoing Louisiana Civil Rights Trail effort led by Lt. Governor Nungesser. In 2021, the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail was launched to memorialize the courage and determination of the people who fought for change. Now, visitors and locals alike will have the opportunity to embark on this historic journey at the Louisiana Civil Rights Museum.
Admission is free during the first week. Visitors can explore the museum free of charge from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, and from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Sunday, Oct 9-15. Ticketed entry will begin Monday, October 16. Admission fees will be announced soon.