Transport yourself back to a simpler time with a visit to the Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge, LA. This fantastic museum is located on the 450 acre property of the Burden Museum and Gardens and provides an in-depth view on what life was like for 18th and 19th century Louisianans. Taking a trip there was like stepping back in time and it’s an absolute must visit for any history or antique buff.
The Rural Life Museum is made up of 32 buildings spread across 20 acres and is operated by LSU. The site includes an Exhibit Barn that is packed with hundreds of artifacts, a full Plantation Quarters that consists of a large complex of buildings, in addition to a collection of twelve structures of that represent the various types of construction typical of Louisiana architecture of the time.
We spent just about an entire day wandering around this enormous space, taking in the well-preserved buildings and manicured grounds. You can freely walk into the majority of the buildings on the site and each one gives you a different perspective on how people lived at the time. It’s always so shocking to see how sparsely and simply people lived just a century ago.
Walking through The Exhibit Barn at the Rural Life Museum, was an absolute delight. There were so many well-kept artifacts like this old gramophone that made you feel as if you entered an entirely different time and place.
This slightly creepy wheelchair brought forth images of old mental asylums where they strap you into straight jackets. All of the cold metal and worn wood was like something straight out of a horror movie. In reality though, these were just common wheelchairs used by people that needed them. Still, I couldn’t shake the horror movie images.
As if to further transport me into the eerie days of long ago, we walked into this old church that was part of the Plantation Quarters. Once again, the worn wood and metal fixtures so common long ago and made with such care to last decades captures your imagination and takes you back to the days where the Acadian folk settled in Louisiana.
Rounding out our tour, we stumbled into the cemetery across from the church. It was yet another stark reminder of the simplicity of those days and just how different life was back then.
The Rural Life Museum really gave great insight into the life in the 18th and 19th centuries for the people of Louisiana. By covering nearly every aspect of day to day life it gave us a tremendous appreciation for the lives our ancestors lived, and how much progress we’ve made in such little time.
Details for the Rural Life Museum
4560 Essen Lane
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Hours of Operation: Open daily: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm year round