River Road African American Museum
Subject: History, Art
406 Charles St.
Donaldsonville, LA 70346
(225) 474-5553 | General Information
(225) 474-5553 | Reservations
(225) 474-5553 | Fax
Tours can be booked on website!
General Public Hours and Admission Rates: Wednesday – Saturday, 10:00am – 5:00pm; Sunday, 1:00pm – 5:00pm; $4.00 per person suggested donation
School Tour Hours and Admission Rates: Wednesday, 10:00am – 4:00pm; $4.00 per person; Group discounts available
- Student to Chaperone Ratio Requested: 15:1
- Advance Time Needed to Make Reservations: One week
- Number of Students per Visit: Up to 100 per visit; must divide into groups of 25. Storyteller available for additional $50.00 fee.
- Suggested Length of Time for Visit: 30 – 45 minutes per group of 25
- Handicapped Accessible: Yes
- Grade Level Appropriate: 3rd – 12th or above
- Lunch Facilities: Fast food and full-service restaurants are blocks away. Local folk artist Alvin Batiste paints in gallery across the street. [**JULIE: THE SITE ADDED THIS LAST SENTENCE HERE. DOES IT BELONG IN THIS SECTION?]
- Gift Shop: Museum book for sale onsite: Our Roots Run Deep $39.95.
- Bus parking available
Tell Us About It!
The River Road African American Museum and Gallery is dedicated to collecting and teaching through artifacts positive information about the history and culture of African Americans. This museum is an official member of the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Students learn about various routes to freedom of enslaved people in south Louisiana. The enslaved African people who worked on plantations dealt with slavery with a strong sense of traditions. The traditions have been passed down by generations through religion, art, music, dance, storytelling, cooking, and crafts. Artwork in the museum shows these connections. Paintings and crafts by today’s local folk artists provide colorful reminders to the past. Most of the objects on exhibit are from families throughout Ascension and surrounding parishes.
What Can We See and Do There?
Ascension Parish was once the location of the largest sugar cane plantations in the South. The story of African American contributions to the economy and culture is being preserved at the River Road African American Museum and Gallery. The museum quotes this African proverb, “Until the lion writes his own story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” This thought provoking statement helps to begin the tour. Guided tours highlight the historical and cultural artifacts that fill the galleries and attest to the story of enslaved African Americans from the beginning of the 18th century to emancipation. The tour continues tracking the history and creative spirit of their descendants who made contributions to the heritage of today’s generation. The changing art exhibits and temporary history exhibits coordinate with the seasons. An interactive animated kiosk recalls Freedom Stories for visitors. For a fee the museum will arrange for a local story teller to make presentations to school groups while at the museum.
How Do We Get There?
From I-10 east take Exit 182 Donaldsonville/Sorrento. Turn right and travel to Hwy. 70 and turn left. Cross the Sunshine Bridge. Stay in the right lane to enter Donaldsonville. Turn right at the first traffic light on Railroad Ave. Travel two blocks and turn right on Charles St. The museum is in a Creole style house on the right.
Bad Weather! Now What Do We Do?
The museum tour is indoors.
Louisiana State Educational Benchmarks and Standards
- K-4th grades: H-1A-E1-2; H-1B-E1-2; H-1C-E1, 3-4
- 5th-8th grades: H-1A-M1-3, 5, 14-18; H-1B-M3, 10-13; H-1D-M1-6
- 9th-12th grades: H-1A-H1-4, 6; H-1B-H6-7; 9-16; G-1B-H1-4; G-1C-H6
What Can We Do In Class Before Our Field Trip?
Teachers can check out the museum’s website. There they will find a scavenger hunt and a curriculum guide for discussing Louisiana’s Underground Railroad. Teachers can call or email requests to obtain a copy of the museum’s curriculum guide for middle grade students. Students can locate the continents on a globe or world map and highlight Africa. Then show students slave ship routes from the west coast of Africa across the Atlantic Ocean through the Caribbean and into the Gulf of Mexico. Students can visit underground railroad site on the web. Students can use Louisiana maps to find the parishes between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
S-T-R-E-T-C-H Out Your Field Trip Benefits
Check out www.awesomelibrary.org for resource lists and links about African American history. Look and listen to WPA slave narratives on www.newdeal.org/asn/ to find “Been Here So Long.” Museum staff is prepared to come to classroom to make presentations on Louisiana’s Underground Railroad, Black Inventors from Louisiana, and Louisiana’s rural foodways and traditions. The museum can help arrange for local story tellers to make visits to schools.
Louisiana history, African American history, folk life, folk art, research skills, geography exercises