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Louisiana State Museum - Patterson

Subject: Aviation and Cypress Sawmill Industry

Louisiana State Museum
394 Airport Circle
Patterson, LA 70392

(985) 399-1268 | General Information
(985) 399-1268 | Reservations

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Cypress Museum

General Public Hours and Admission Rates: Tuesday – Saturday, 9:00am – 5:00pm; $3.00 Adults, $2.00 Seniors and Children, Free for Children under 12 years old; Groups with at least 15 people receive a 20% discount with advance reservations

School Tour Hours and Admission Rates: Tuesday – Saturday, 9:00am – 5:00pm; Free

  • Student to Chaperone Ratio Requested: 6:1
  • Number of Students per Visit: Up to 90
  • Advanced Time Needed to Make Reservations: One week
  • Suggested Length of Time for Visit: One hour
  • Handicapped Accessible: Yes
  • Grade Level Appropriate: K – 12th
  • Lunch Facilities: A picnic area is on-site. Fast food is within five miles of the museum.
  • Gift Shop: Yes

Tell Us About It!

New building to open April 2006 with Aviation museum and Cypress saw mill museum.
Overhead in the great blue yonder, above Louisiana are the vast skies where aviation history was made. It is now preserved and on exhibit at the Louisiana State Museum’s Wedell-Williams Memorial Aviation Museum. Louisiana’s flight heritage is chronicled through aircraft, artifacts, and exhibits. This museum is housed in a specially constructed facility near the runway of the airport in Patterson. Two Louisiana aviation pioneers, Jimmie Wedell and Harry P. Williams, established the first commercial airline and built a fleet of racing planes in a spot close to the museum. Full-size reproductions of their famous planes, a simulation of their 1930s machine shop, and a pilot’s license signed by Orville Wright, provide visitors with tangible links to the Gold Age of Aviation. In addition to the four full-size aircrafts on display in the aviation gallery, there is a space gallery and a cypress lumber industry gallery.

What Can We See and Do There?

Buckle your seat belts and fly into history at the Wedell-Williams Aviation Museum. Students begin their tour of the museum by viewing a 15-minute video on the history of Wedell-Williams Company located in south Louisiana. Visitors arrange for a guide or decide to do a self-guided tour of the galleries. Nearly 30 years after the incredible flight of the Wright brothers, enterprising partners Wedell and Williams designed and built fast racing aircraft. The military role Louisiana played in aviation history is recalled in an exhibit about the famous WWII Flying Tigers and President Eisenhower’s Aero Commander. Another exhibit, Louisiana Enters the Space Age, is comprised of photographs, scale models and space craft components, a NASA spacesuit, and technical equipment. The region’s industries are addressed in two more exhibits, the Cypress Sawmill exhibit and a 1940 crop duster. Hands-on activities are integrated into the museum visit in the What’s Missing? mural. Teachers should inquire about the arts & crafts presentations available to visiting students and special activities.

How Do We Get There?

From I-10 to Sunshine Bridge Exit, take Hwy. 70 to Morgan City where it runs into Hwy. 90. Go west (right) on Hwy. 90. Travel through Patterson, a sign for the museum is on the right, turn right on Zenor Road. Travel 0.75 mile and turn right on Hwy.182. The museum is 0.75 mile ahead.

From I-10 west to Hwy. 310 go to Hwy. 90 west to the end. Turn left and travel to Amelia approximately 6.5 miles after the freeway’s end. Turn right and reenter the freeway. Follow signs to Morgan City, traveling about 21 miles. Travel through Patterson, a sign for the museum is on the right, turn right on Zenor Road. Travel 0.75 mile and turn right on Hwy.182. The museum is 0.75 mile ahead.

Bad Weather! Now What Do We Do?

This museum is air conditioned and heated. Inclement weather will not jeopardize field trips.

What Can We Visit Nearby?

E.D. White House; Cajun Jack Swamp Tours

Louisiana State Educational Benchmarks and Standards
  • K-4th grades: SI-E-A1; SI-E-B1; PS-E-B4; ESS-E-B6; H-1A-E1-3; H-1C-E1, 4; E-1A-E3, 6, 8
  • 4th-8th grades: SI-M-A1; SI-M-B1; PS-M-B2, 5; ESS-M-C8; H-1A-M1-6; H-1D-M1, 6; E-1A-M1-5
  • 9th-12th grades: SI-H-A1; PS-H-E3-4; ESS-H-D7; H-1A-H1-6; E-1A-H1-3
What Can We Do In Class Before Our Field Trip?

Teachers may call or write for copies of the museum’s pre-visit lesson plans that relate to aviation and subjects across the curriculum. Also ask for a copy of the fourteen page coloring booklet which includes coloring, puzzle, and word activities for 1st to 6th grades. Teachers may also ask for copies of the Teacher’s Manual.

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

The museum will loan their traveling tabletop displays and the Wedell-Williams Loan Trunk for school use. Two displays are available, “We-Will, Jr. #17,”which is about early racing planes, and Wedell-Williams Memorial Aviation Museum. An aviation educational loan-trunk is also available to teachers. Museum staff is eager to make classroom presentations.


Space travel, aviation history, Louisiana history, Louisiana industry


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