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Odell Williams Museum of African American History

Subject: History, Art

538 South Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

(225) 343-4431 | General Information
(225) 343-4431 | Fax

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General Public Hours and Admission Rates: Wednesday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and by appointment   $4.00 per person, Free for Children under 6 years old

School Tour Hours and Admission Rates: Monday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and by appointment     $4.00 per individual

  • Student to Chaperone Ratio Requested: 10:1
  • Advanced Time Needed to Make Reservations: Two days
  • Number of Students per Visit: Up to 50
  • Suggested Length of Time for visit: One hour
  • Handicapped Accessible: Yes
  • Grade Level Appropriate: K – 12th
  • Lunch Facilities: Climate-controlled banquet room is available for students with sack lunches. Fast food and full-service restaurants are within a five-minute drive of the museum.
  • Gift Shop: Yes
  • Bus parking available

Tell Us About It!

The Odell S. Williams Now and Then Museum of African American History was founded in 2001, on South Blvd. in old South Baton Rouge. The museum is an out-growth of the congregation’s commitment to promote and educate people about Juneteenth and the achievements of African Americans. This intimate museum features museum workers’ enthusiasm to interpret local Baton Rouge and Louisiana history in the context of African American history. Central to the exhibits is a collection of antique posters featuring great African American men and women achievers. The posters were used by former Baton Rouge teacher Odell S. Williams to teach her students African American history in secret, because it was against school policy to teach this history. Mrs. Williams hid the posters under the blotter on her desk and would pull them out to discuss the less-well-known political, scientific, and artistic achievements of African American individuals.

What Can We See and Do There?

The Odell S.Williams Now and Then Museum of African American history has five permanent exhibits. The art work of local black artists is featured across the way from an exhibit of African artworks including carvings, paintings, and textiles. A collection of Louisiana rural artifacts feature early 20th century domestic life; many objects can be handled by students. A smaller collection of inventions is displayed to complement the historic poster collection donated by former Baton Rouge school teacher Odell S. Williams. The posters and the artifacts together are used to illustrate the museum tour about African American achievements. In addition, there is a walking trail under the Interstate overpass that illustrates art and history.

The annual celebration of Juneteenth is interpreted for students with posters, images and oral history accounts. Juneteenth is a commemoration of June 19, 1865 when it was announced in Galveston, Texas that enslaved people in the United States were free, per President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation  dated January 1, 1863.  To this day, many Americans commemorate this landmark date in American history. The museum actively works to promote Juneteenth.

How Do We Get There?

From I-110 take Government St. Exit west towards River Center (Formerly Centroplex). Travel approximately 1.5 miles, turn left on St. Ferdinand St. and travel approximately six blocks. Turn left on South Blvd. at the first traffic light. The museum is at the end of the first block on the right.

Bad Weather! Now What Do We Do?

This museum experience is indoors. The site is climate-controlled.

Louisiana State Educational Benchmarks and Standard
  • K-4th grades: G-1B-E2; G-1C-E3,4; C-1D-E2; H-1A-E1-3; H-1C-E3,4; VA-AP-E1-4,6; VA-HP-E4
  • 5-8th grades: C-1C-M4; C-1D-M2; H-1A-M1-4; H-1B-M15, 18; VA-AP-M2,6; VA-HP-M2
  • 9-12th grades: G-1B-H5; G-1C-H5; C-1D-H2; H-1A-H1-3; H-1B-H5; VA-HP-H1,2; VA-AP-H2,6
What Can We Do In Class Before Our Field Trip?

Teachers can call the museum and request a list of African American inventors. This can be faxed or made ready for pick up at the museum for teachers. Also, the museum staff suggests teachers check out the web site Blackfacts.com for more information to prepare for a trip to this African American history museum.

S-T-R-E-T-C-H Out Your Field Trip Benefits

After a field trip teachers can discuss with museum staff those topics that were of most classroom interest to the group. The museum staff can assist teachers in locating supplemental materials. Check out the website www.Juneteenth.com for history background and contemporary celebrations of Juneteenth.


African American history, regional history, Juneteenth, folk art, rural lifeways

Email OSWAfricanAmericanMuseum@gmail.com for more information.


Atchafalaya National Heritage Area

• National Park Service affiliate
• "Passport to Your National Parks" Program
• Member of Alliance of National Heritage Areas
National Park Service Affiliate Louisiana Travel - Pick Your Passion Alliance of National Heritage Areas