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“Awesome place!”

LSU Rural Life Museum
Ranked #6 of 81 things to do in Baton Rouge
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Step back in time to pre-industrial Louisiana at this 27-building museum complex, one of the best outdoor museums in the U.S., featuring tools, furniture and other artifacts and, the highlight, a recreated 19th-century plantation that portrays the daily lives of these early settlers.
Reviewed September 4, 2012

I could spend all day walking around this place. It's great for photography. The staff is very friendly and helpful. The grounds are amazing!

1  Thank keepcalm112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 2, 2012

This museum is an amazing little hidden jewel located on a large tract of land near the I-10 - I-12 split in suburban Baton Rouge. The museum was created by Mr. Steele Burden, Baton Rouge's first landscape architect, who planted all the gorgeous oak trees on the LSU campus and who donated the Rural Life Museum and grounds to LSU before his death. Back in the 1050's and 60's Burden traveled the rural areas of Louisiana looking for old barns, buildings, slave quarters, farm tools, etc, that were in indicative of 19th century life in rural Louisiana. He bought or was given a number of such buildings, dismantled them, brought them back to his home at Burden Plantation, and reconstructed them in an outdoor village-like setting featuring a country store, a church, an overseers cottage, school, slave quarters, farm houses, barns, etc. Later on a new large air-conditioned building was added to the museum and it contains a large collection of old farm tools, horse drawn hearses, spinning wheels, kitchen and canning tools, photographs, art work, and numerous other items from yesteryear. It also shows a short film about the history of the museum and is well worth watching. When I have international friends or out of state guests visiting me I always take them to the Rural Life Museum and they really enjoy seeing it. It’s one of the few places in America that offers such an authentic portrayal of Southern rural life in the era before electricity, running water, cars, etc. If you have time to walk through the lovely gardens, take a few minutes to enjoy the native Louisiana plantings and the marble statues that Mr. Burden acquired during his travels in Europe. Several times a year the museum offers Plantation Days with docents and children in period costumes as they go through the routines of daily life in the 19th century.

2  Thank senga123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2012

I love old buildings and couldn't wait to visit this museum. This was my first time in Baton Rouge, and as I left I-10 I could see it is a pretty big town with lots of traffic, tall buildings, etc., but as I drove down the road to get to this museum I felt like I was traveling back in time. There are fields and lots of plants and a winding dirt road at the end. My I-10 stress just melted away.

For a tiny amount of money ($5?) you get to visit a huge barn-like building (with a/c, and the a/c was sorely needed in July) that is packed to the gills with all sorts of Louisiana historical artifacts, a large village comprising numerous antique buildings that have been moved to this site, and a gorgeous garden with its 1800s house in the middle. I spent about 1.5 hours here, but one could easily spend half a day or even more (if it weren't so danged hot).

You start in the huge barn-type building (not an actual barn but kind of shaped like one). While this place is fun, it is also pretty strange. I get the feeling that every rich person in Louisiana who has a piece of Louisiana history says, "Hey, why don't we give this to the LSU Rural Life Museum," and the Museum says "Sure, we'll take it!" So for example, there is a whole line of old farm bells. Lots and lots of farm bells. We don't know where they came from or what their history is, but if you like old Louisiana farm bells, this is the place to be. And old Louisiana wagons. And old Louisiana tools. Etc. Some of these thousands of items were intriguing, but Lord only know what there history is, as most of this stuff is not labeled. There is a huge very interesting door, but not tag telling why it is there or where it came from. So really the place is kind of a hoot. Kind of like they have lots of stuff, but no one to label it. But I still enjoyed it.

Then you go outside, and can wonder freely (and the day I was there the place was almost deserted--just the way I like it) amongst the many old buildings. There are numerous slave cabins brought here from Louisiana plantations, a school house, a sick house for the slaves, and overseer's house, a dog trot style house, Acadian houses, a blacksmith's building, etc. The landscpaing around the buildings adds to the ambiance; lots of huge crape myrtles and big oaks. And don't forget, lots more farm bells! This place is a farm bell aficionado's delgiht!

Next to the village of antique buildings, all of which were moved to this site, is the original house and gardens from the 1800s of the family who donated this land to LSU. You can't go inside the house, but you can peer in the windows and sit on the porch and gaze out at the absolutely beautiful gardens. I would have toured the gardens if the day had not been so hot (heat index around 100 degrees).

My suggestion would be to visit on a day that is a bit cooler than high 90's, but do check out this place if you have any interest in old buildings of the South, and especially Louisiana, farm antiques, and beautiful gardens.

2  Thank fieldsold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2012

Beautifully Kept! Plenty of farm land for Biology/Agriculture students at LSU to conduct tests/experiments on plant life. Everthying from sweet corn, poinsettas, watermelons and sweet potatos.

Thank ACLedet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2012

As my husband and I walked through the trails and looked at the "sick house", Oak Ridge Jail, slave houses, etc., we were taken aback by the surreal feeling that came with actually walking into a place where former slaves had been. Cotton that a person who was probably forced to harvest in the 1800's.......sits there with documentation of when it was harvested and transported.....amazing.

1  Thank Sonia H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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