|Preserving Heritage Through One Family's Treasures: The Louisiana Purchase Years and Beyond|
Exhibition Dates: November 2003 – October 2004
When the French government presented Louisiana to the United States on December 20, 1803, Pennsylvania native Thomas Butler III was studying law and Ann Madeline Ellis was a young Natchez eight-year-old. The exhibition Preserving Heritage Through One Family’s Treasures: The Louisiana Purchase Years and Beyond introduced the visitor to Thomas and Ann and their family through apparel artifacts carefully packed away in the attic of their Louisiana West Feliciana plantation home, The Cottage. Original correspondence not only documented family relationships and daily life, but also commented on state and national historical and political events. Clothing expenditure receipts and period fashion plates were correlated with exhibited garments to position the extant pieces within the historical period. Textile conservation methods were illustrated and provided the visitor with instruction for his own preservation project. The documentation process as part of museum accessioning and the community access resulting from inclusion in a public institution were emphasized and support the importance of such a collection to Louisiana citizens.
Read more on our other past exhibitions