Southdown Plantation House/Terrebonne Museum
Subject: History, Art
1208 Museum Drive
Houma, LA 70360
(985) 851-0154 | General Information
(985) 851-0154 | Reservations
(985) 868-1476 | Fax
General Public Hours and Admission Rates: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00am – 4:00pm; $5.00 Adults, $4.00 Seniors and College students, $2.00 Children 6 – 18 years old
School Tour Hours and Admission Rates: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00am – 4:00pm; $1.00 Students, Free for Teachers and one Chaperone per 15 students, $1.00 Additional adults
- Student to Chaperone Ratio Requested: 15:1
- Advanced Time Needed to Make Reservations: Three weeks
- Number of Students per Visit: Up to 100, but only 50 can tour at one time
- Suggested Length of Time for Visit: 90 minutes (longer for groups of more than 50)
- Handicapped Accessible: Partially
- Grade Level Appropriate: 1st – 12th
- Lunch Facilities: An outdoor pavilion for picnics is on site. There are no drink machines or water fountain on site.
- Gift Shop: Yes
- Bus parking available
Tell Us About It!
Southdown Plantation House is a 19th century sugar plantation house, home to the Terrebonne Museum and headquarters for the Terrebonne Historical and Cultural Society. This site is located just about in the heart and center of Bayou Country in Houma, the seat of Terrebonne Parish. Southdown Plantation, like so many south Louisiana plantations, began with the presentation of a Spanish Land Grant to European settlers. These settlers cleared the land to begin an indigo crop in the 1790s. The Minor family established and enlarged Southdown Plantation in 1828 to include just over 1,000 acres. In keeping with the region’s agricultural history, Southdown Plantation exclusively produced sugar cane by 1831 and a few years later built its own sugar mill. Today, the remaining plantation house, “servant quarters”, and additional outbuildings stand as testimony to the lives and work of four generations of sugar planters and the subsequent sugar company workers. Remarkably, Southdown was the last continuously working sugar mill in the region. The mill was closed and removed from the site in 1979.
What Can We See and Do There?
The Terrebonne Museum has a lot more to share with visitors than the “sweet and sweat” history of sugar at Southdown Plantation! The surviving Greek-Revival plantation-house, first built in 1859, houses over 12 permanent exhibits about the history, art, and folklore of south Louisiana. Guided tours take visitors into this eclectic museum, which offers a venue of historical and cultural collections. Exhibits include: Art and Literature from Terrebonne; Memories of Terrebonne 1890-1945; Mardi Gras in Houma; The Houma Indians and Other Native Peoples of Louisiana; Re-created Office of U.S. Senator Allen J. Ellender 1937-1972; and Life and Labor on a Sugar Plantation in 1885. The region’s industries, oil, sugar, and seafood are featured in three rooms. The tour emphasizes the history of Terrebonne Parish. The tour includes fine art displays with exhibits by local artists, Boehm and Doughty porcelain birds, the Charles Gilbert art collection, the Thad St. Martin literature collection, and a restored 1880s worker’s cabin.
How Do We Get There?
From I-10 east, travel to Hwy. 70 cross Sunshine Bridge. Hwy. 70 to Hwy. 1 south to Thibodaux. Hwy. 20 south becomes Hwy. 24 (Main St.) into Houma. Turn right at intersection of Hwy. 24 and St. Charles St. (LA 664). Travel on St. Charles and turn left onto Museum Drive across from shopping center.
From I-10 east to New Orleans, to I-310 south ends at US Hwy. 90. Take Hwy. 90 west to exit LA Hwy. 311. Turn right off this exit toward Houma. Stay on LA Hwy. 311 to intersection with St. Charles St. (LA 664). Turn right on St. Charles then left on Museum Drive across from shopping center.
Bad Weather! Now What Do We Do?
While this field trip visit is primarily indoors, during inclement weather field trip planners should call the site to confirm lunch space arrangements.
Louisiana State Educational Benchmarks and Standards
- K-4th grades: G-1B-E1-4; E-1B-E5; H-1A-E1-3; H-1B-E1-2; H-1C-E1-4;
- 5th-8th grades: G-1B-M1-4; E-1A-M9; E-1B-M7; H-1A-M1-6;
- 9th-12th grades: G-1B-H1-4; E-1A-H8; E-1B-H6; E-1A-H1-6;
What Can We Do In Class Before Our Field Trip?
Teachers can preview the many exhibits at this museum online by visiting www.southdownmuseum.org to select a particular unit of study for students. Native Americans and south Louisiana industry are presented in detail and are well illustrated in the exhibits.
S-T-R-E-T-C-H Out Your Field Trip Benefits
Students may also visit the Veterans Memorial Park connected to the Southdown grounds by a footbridge. The park has a walking path with memorials and statues about the various wars. Teachers can often arrange for veterans groups to meet with students.
South Louisiana history, Native Americans, Louisiana agriculture and industry, architecture, fine art, regional literature, U.S. Senator Ellender