West Baton Rouge Museum
Subject: History, Industry
845 North Jefferson Ave.
Port Allen, LA 70767
(225) 336-2422 | General Information
(225) 336-2422 ext.15 | Reservations
(225) 336-2448 | Fax
Toll Free (888) 881-6811
General Public Hours and Admission Rates: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00am- 4:30pm, Sunday, 2:00pm-5:00pm; $4.00 Adults, $2.00 Students and Senior Citizens
School Tour Hours and Admission Rates: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00am – 4:30pm, Sunday 2:00pm-5:00pm; $4.00 Adults, $2.00 Students and Senior Citizens
- Student to Chaperone Ratio Requested: 10:1
- Advance Time Needed to Make Reservations: Two weeks
- Number of Students per Visit: Up to 60
- Suggested Length of Time for Visit: Two hours
- Handicapped Accessible: Yes
- Grade Level Appropriate: K – 12th
- Lunch Facilities: Students may picnic on the museum grounds, inside the museum’s classroom, or walk next door to the community center playground. Fast food is within close driving distance.
- Gift Shop: Yes
- Bus parking available
Tell Us About It!
How sweet it is! That is the West Baton Rouge Museum’s permanent display on the history of sugar production. The West Baton Rouge Museum is in the historic Court House building in the center of Port Allen. A miniature-working model of a sugar mill highlights an interpretive exhibit that explains the sugar making process from the fields to the factory. The exhibit includes oral history recordings called Sugar Stories, of people from the area. Sugarcane grows on the museum grounds. Six historic buildings recall sugar plantation life from the antebellum period through the Civil Rights Era. The Aillet House, circa 1830 illustrates a small sugar planter’s home and the Allendale Slave Cabin, circa 1850 describes the household of an enslaved family. The Reconstruction Era cabin, circa 1870 spotlights life inside the home of a freed family earning plantation wages on Allendale Plantation and the Civil Rights Era Cabin illustrates life on the same plantation nearly a century later when families on plantations worked to register African American voters and organize to integrate the local schools. The Whitehead Gallery and the new wing host changing art exhibits that feature history and art exhibits.
What Can We See and Do There?
Students are armed with a clipboard and pencil to begin a history a grade-appropriate scavenger hunt among the displays in the exhibit “In the Interest of Our Parish: Three Hundred Years of West Baton Rouge History.” Then students are led by trained docents through a gallery lined with tin walls rescued from old plantation mills to learn about the history of Louisiana’s sugar industry, from field to factory. They begin their tour with a 12-minute video about modern-day sugar production. The miniature model of an early sugar mill demonstrates the process. Next, school visitors step outside to learn about sugar plantations in the historic buildings on the four acre campus. Students visit the Aillet House, the cottage of a small antebellum planter. Next door stands the Allendale Cabin where docents describe the life of enslaved workers. Students explore the interiors of the later period plantation cabins and the Reed Shot Gun House and the Arbroth Plantation Mercantile Store. Teachers can schedule an open hearth cooking demonstration to complement the tour. The activities include washboard scrubbing, period clothing, make-and-take projects. Museum lessons are hands-on discussions led by museum staff. A special Kids Cart is available on request for students. All items are price $1, $2, and $3 (includes tax) for a quick gift shop purchase that helps to keep the field trip on schedule.
How Do We Get There?
From I-10, exit 153 and one mile travel north on Hwy. LA 1. Turn right on Louisiana Avenue and travel four blocks. The museum is on the corner of Louisiana Avenue and N. Jefferson Avenue
Bad Weather! Now What Do We Do?
Teachers should call the museum to confirm rainy day plans.
Louisiana State Educational Benchmarks and Standards
- K-4th grades: G-1B-E2-3; G-1C-E2, 4; H-1A-E1-3; H-1B-E1-2; H-1C-E1-4; H-1D-E2; E-1A-E1, 2-7
- 5th-8th grades: G-1B-M4; G-1C-M5-6; E-1A-M1-4; E-1B-M7; H-1A-M1-5; H-1B-M14-15, 17; H-1D-M6: E-1A-M1-5
- 9th-12th grades: E-1A-H1-2; G-1B-H2-4; H-1A-H1-6
What Can We Do In Class Before Our Field Trip?
Teachers can call the museum and request instructions for 19th century games and crafts, vocabulary lists, and exhibit updates. Ask for the lesson plan, “Ag in a Bag,” which is about sugar, published by the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. Consider booking the museum’s outstanding out-reach program, Grandmother Marguerite’s Trunk, which is staged in the school classroom. A costumed historian brings a trunk full of early artifacts and engages students in trying their hands at 200-year old chores.
S-T-R-E-T-C-H Out Your Field Trip Plans
Local Louisianans will tell visitors about the joys of chewing on raw sugar cane. Check local groceries for some cut cane for your students to sample. The museum suggests students read, A Sweet Surprise by Pamela Folse. Ask the museum staff for an easy recipe to make rock candy, a great sugar-related science project.
Louisiana history, sugar industry, art, agriculture, oral history, architecture