The Iberville Museum in Plaquemine will open its newest exhibit, “Atchafalaya Basin: A Journey to the Past, A Map to the Future,” on Saturday, May 25.
The opening ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. at the museum, 57735 Main St. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser is scheduled to attend. Admission is free. The event runs until 3 p.m.
As part of the celebration, a free jambalaya lunch, sponsored by the Iberville Parish Sheriff Department, will be served while supplies last. Members of the Antique Putt-Putt Boat Club will be set up outside the museum as well as a viewing of live baby alligators.
The exhibit is a groundbreaking approach to the story of the Atchafalaya Basin, America’s largest wetland and swamp, and its relationship with the people who made it their home for nearly 100 years, according to a news release. It also explores the Army Corps of Engineers' complex and deep impact on the Basin's cultural and environmental heritage.
“The history of the Atchafalaya Basin is so vast, this exhibit can only scrape the top of the barrel,” said Stella Tanoos, Iberville Museum board member and local genealogist. “But, it will still leave visitors wanting to come back for more.”
On display in the 1,400-square-foot exhibit are historical artifacts, such as photographs, logbooks, tools, boat models, household objects, maps and a 24-foot “putt-putt” bateau. By using artifacts and artwork alongside compelling audio elements, the exhibit bridges the gap between the swamper's world and present day.
"So many people had a hand in the creation of this permanent exhibition, and most were descendants of those who lived in the swamp," said curator, Meghan Sylvester. "This kind of guided us to actively memorialize those families and preserve the memory of that way of life."
The exhibit creates an immersive display that is meant to generate the feeling of what it is like out on the water. Touch-activated information kiosks featuring videos, timelines, digital maps and games will allow visitors to explore the Basin’s history further and learn about current environmental conservation projects.