The 10 Best Museums in New Orleans

Ah, New Orleans – a city that dances to the rhythm of jazz, where the air is thick with the aroma of Creole cuisine, and history seeps from every cobblestone. It’s a place where the past is not just remembered; it’s celebrated. And what better way to dive into the rich tapestry of this city’s history and culture than through its museums? Let’s embark on a journey through the 10 best museums that New Orleans has to offer, each a treasure trove of stories waiting to be discovered.

The National WWII Museum

First up, we can’t talk about New Orleans museums without tipping our hats to The National WWII Museum. This sprawling complex takes you on an immersive journey through the American experience during World War Ii. From the heart-wrenching personal stories to the impressive array of artifacts, it’s a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made for freedom. The museum’s interactive exhibits and 4D cinematic experiences bring history to life in a way that’s both educational and deeply moving.

New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA)

Strolling through the City Park, you’ll find the New Orleans Museum of Art, a beacon of fine arts in the city. NOMA’s collection spans thousands of years and includes everything from European masterpieces to contemporary art. The adjoining Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden is a serene escape, where art and nature blend seamlessly. It’s a place where you can lose yourself in thought among the sculptures and reflective lagoons.

The Cabildo

History buffs, rejoice! The Cabildo, once the seat of Spanish colonial government, now serves as a museum that tells the story of Louisiana’s multifaceted history. Here, you can explore exhibits on the Battle of New Orleans, the Louisiana Purchase, and the evolution of Mardi Gras. It’s like stepping back in time and witnessing the birth of the city as we know it.

The Presbytère

Right next door to The Cabildo is The Presbytère, its twin building on Jackson Square. This museum offers a deep dive into the vibrant culture of New Orleans. Its Mardi Gras exhibit, complete with lavish costumes and parade memorabilia, is a feast for the eyes. The museum also tackles more somber subjects, such as Hurricane Katrina, with sensitivity and depth.

Contemporary Arts Center

For those who have a soft spot for the avant-garde, the Contemporary Arts Center is a must-visit. This dynamic space showcases cutting-edge exhibitions and performances from local, national, and international artists. It’s a hub of creativity where the art challenges you to think and feel in new ways.

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Delving into the American South’s culture, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art houses the largest collection of Southern art in the world. It celebrates the region’s rich artistic heritage, from folk art to contemporary pieces. The museum’s exhibitions are thought-provoking and often explore themes of identity, history, and sense of place.

The Historic New Orleans Collection

Located in the heart of the French Quarter, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its exhibitions are housed in beautifully restored historic buildings, offering a glimpse into the city’s storied past through documents, photographs, and artifacts.

New Orleans African American Museum

The New Orleans African American Museum is nestled in the Tremé neighborhood, known for its rich African American heritage. The museum celebrates the contributions of African Americans to the city’s culture, from jazz music to civil rights. Its collection includes art, historical artifacts, and photographs that tell a powerful story of resilience and creativity.

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Step into the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, and you’ll find yourself in the world of 19th-century medicine. Housed in the apothecary of America’s first licensed pharmacist, the museum displays an intriguing collection of medical instruments, potions, and remedies. It’s a fascinating look at the history of healthcare and pharmacology.

The Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture

Last but certainly not least, the Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture is a Celebration of the artistry and extravagance of Mardi Gras. From flamboyant headdresses to intricate beadwork, the museum showcases the craftsmanship that goes into creating Mardi Gras magic. It’s a colorful and joyful ode to one of New Orleans’ most beloved traditions.


  • What are the operating hours for these museums?

    Most museums in New Orleans operate from 10 am to 5 pm, but it’s best to check their official websites for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

  • Are there any free museums in New Orleans?

    Yes, some museums offer free admission on certain days or to specific groups, such as residents. Again, checking the museum’s official website or calling ahead is recommended.

  • Can I purchase a pass for multiple museums?

    Indeed, there are passes available that offer discounted admission to multiple museums. The New Orleans Pass is one option that provides access to several of the city’s top attractions.


In conclusion, New Orleans isn’t just about the beignets and brass bands; it’s a city with a story to tell, and its museums are the perfect narrators. From the solemn halls of The National WWII Museum to the vibrant displays at the Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture, there’s a museum for every interest and curiosity. These institutions not only preserve the city’s unique heritage but also celebrate its ongoing cultural evolution. So next time you’re in the Big Easy, make sure to add these top 10 museums to your itinerary. You’ll leave with a deeper appreciation for this enchanting city and the rich tapestry of stories that make it truly one-of-a-kind.

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.