2016 Sunset Report

OLG & DCRT Strategic Plan
2020-21 through 2024-25


Did you know?

Costumes & Textiles

The Louisiana State Museum has one of the largest and finest costume and textile collections in the United States. Overall the museum’s collection ranges from late 18th century to the present with the majority of objects having a Louisiana provenance. Of the approximately 15,000 objects in the collection, one third is the costumes and accessories collection, one third is the textile collection, and one third is the Carnival collection.

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Furnishings/Household Textiles

Personal Artifacts


Documentary Materials


Furniture and Household Textiles


  • Quilts
    The collection has 57 quilts dating from 1800 to 1981. It includes examples of white work, piece work, and crazy quilt, and strip quilt techniques, and patterns used include Sunburst, Log Cabin, Rose of Sharon, God’s Eye, Trip Around the World, Whig Rose, Subtle Star, Charleston Beauty, Flower Basket, Flying Geese, and Mosaic. Quilts with historical association include one made for Zachary Taylor, one used by Lafayette, one from the Cotton Exposition, and a log cabin quilt made by a slave. Several quilts are associated with particular plantations such as Melrose, Roberta, and Williams. There is also one made by master quilter, Rose Sanders. There is one Acadian quilt made of cottonade fabrics.
  • Coverlet/Bedspread
    Artifacts in this category exhibit a full range of techniques used to make and decorate bed coverings in the 19th and early 20th century. The museum has coverlets/bedspreads which were woven, pieced, crocheted, knitted, embroidered, and appliqued.
  • Blankets, Sheets, Pillowcases, Counterpanes, and Moisquito Netting
    The collection contains an assortment of materials used to dress beds. Many of these items are from trousseaus. Dates of these objects range from the 1840s to 1930s.

Floor, Window and Furniture Coverings

  • This category includes a variety of rugs, throws, mats, curtains, drapes, shades, valences, portieres, tie backs, and curtain hooks, tablecloths, runners, scarfs, doilies, antimacassars, ottoman covers, placemats, towels, bags, bellows, tea cozys, and tassels.

Acadian Textiles

  • The museum has a large collection of household textiles woven and constructed by Acadian women of Southwestern Louisiana. The majority of items are household textiles, but there is one dress, a mouchoir, a white linen cap, a man’s shirt and an infant’s dress which were handmade by Acadian weavers, dressmakers, and needleworkers. These items range from mid-nineteenth century to the 1960s.

Personal Artifacts

Ladies Costumes and Accessories
There are approximately 10,000 + objects in this category ranging from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Collection items are handmade by couturiers, dressmakers, artisans, and homemakers or mass produced. Some 60 international, national and regional couturiers and dressmakers are represented in the collection including House of Worth, Dior, Callot Soeurs, Geoffrey Beene, Mme. Olympe, Mme. Besserat, Mrs. Dowty, and Mignon Faget to name a few. Most are formal, costly, special occasion dresses. The collection includes habits from two religious orders, costumes owned by exotic dancers, debutante gowns, and wedding gowns.

Outergarments include capes, cloaks, coats, and shawls made with fine fabrics and with interesting construction and ornamental details, many by known designers.

Intimate apparel such as nightgowns, underwear and supportive wear exhibit an interesting range of changing styles, forms and function over time. They are made of fine fabrics using intricate construction details and frequently very elaborate decorative needle and lace work.

Accessories include jewelry, gloves, parasols, shoes, hats, hat pins, tignons, and purses. Collections of special note include mourning jewelry, fans (365), and beaded hand bags.

Menswear items date from early 19th century to the present. While the collection includes a few suits, coats, shirts, and shoes, the majority of items are formal evening evening wear from mid-nineteenth century through the present. The accessory collection for men includes ties, collars, cuff links, match safes, and gloves. There is a small but very nice collection of walking sticks, including one which conceals a sword. There are a few informal/sporting items including a wind breaker worn by noted Louisiana photographer Fonville Winan.

The State Museum has a distinguished and extremely valuable collection of military uniforms worn by the men and women of Louisiana. The museum has artifacts from every conflict Louisianians have engaged in since The Louisiana Purchase. The earliest of these are the War of 1812 uniforms worn by Philogene Favrot and William Hamilton. The collection also has General Taylor’s felt sombrero and white silk sword sash from the Mexican War. Our collection of Civil War items is extensive and in very good condition. There are also uniforms and related artifacts from the Spanish American War, WWI, and WWII uniforms. The WWII era includes General Claire Chennault’s uniform. There are also several military headcoverings including two French style shakkos possibly from the war of 1812, a Mexican War era shakko, and a sailor’s "liberty" flat cap from the USS Maine.

There is a small but excellent collection of women’s uniforms, both civil and military, from WWI forward which include Red Cross, YWCA, Army, and Navy uniforms. The collection also has uniforms worn by both US allies and enemies including a WWII jacket worn by Field Marshall Keitel, Supreme Commander of German Forces and a set of Japanese utilities.

In addition to military and war related uniforms, the collection also contains New Orleans firefighter uniforms and helmets, two New Orleans police uniforms, two Jesuit High School uniforms, and a baseball uniform.

Religious and Ceremonial Artifacts
The collection contains a few items associated with Catholic religious services, Jewish religious services, Catholic religious orders, the Knights of Columbus, and the Masons

Infants and Children’s Clothing
Although dates of these artifacts range from early 19th century to mid-20th century, the majority of this collection of almost 700 pieces was made in the late 19th and early 20th century. Artifacts include dresses, suits, robes, coats, shirts, blouses, pinafores, bibs, chemises, underskirts, underdresses, drawers, pajamas, nightgowns, caps, bonnets, and shoes. Reflecting the Catholic heritage of this state, there are 32 christening gowns dating from 1840 to 1912. Two are attributed as having been made by Ursuline Nuns.


Textile Art

  • Ecclesiastical Needlework
    The collection contains a magnificent and priceless silver embroidered antependium used during the eighteenth century at St. Louis Cathedral.
  • Samplers
    Collection includes samplers dating from 1804 to 1876 identified with individuals, families, institutions, and places in Louisiana as well as a small collection of Berlin work.
  • Needlepoint Portraits and Pictures
    This collection contains several examples of this popular 19th century women’s art work. Done in wool, silk, chenille, metallic thread and glass beads, these portraits depict George Washington, Napoleon, Biblical scenes, and the Old State Capitol at Baton Rouge.
  • Furniture Decoration
    Examples of this collection category include needlepoint firescreens such as a Guardian Angel worked in beads and wool, a stump work sea shell pattern chair cover, c. 1810, and a beaded cabbage rose design needlework chair cover c. 1850.
  • Newcomb Style Art Embroidery
    This collection contains several examples of embroidered textiles made by students and instructors in the Newcomb College Art Department in the early twentieth century, including linen table runners, a silk drawstring purse, and two partially embroidered pieces sold as kits to be finished at home. The collection also includes examples of the specialized tussah silk embroidery thread preferred by Newcomb College embroiderers, along with a printed brochure describing the school’s embroidery program.
  • Embroidery Fragments
    There are two gold embroidered bees which have a history of being done by French embroidery master Picot for the coronation robes of Napoleon.

Flags and Banners
The Louisiana State Museum has a distinguished and extremely valuable collection of over 200 military and ceremonial banners.

  • Flags
    Perhaps the Museum's most significant flag is the "Beauregard Flag," one of the original prototypes for the Confederate Battle Flag. It was made and presented to General Beauregard by Miss Jennie Cary of Baltimore and Richmond. The collection also includes a very early hand made "Guard of ...." silk American flag, possibly dating to the War of 1812, a hand sewn American flag used during Lafayette’s visit in 1825, two flags associated with the Mexican War era, and a large number of Civil War era flags including a Hardee Corps flag, a 2nd National flag which is said to have draped Jeffersong Davis’ coffin, a flag for Fenner’s Battery, and several examples of the "Stars and Bars."
  • Banners
    Banners of note include several associated with the Screwman’s Benevolent Association (river related items) c. 1850, a small Nazi pendant, and two 1997 Superbowl banners.

Personal Symbols
A collection of 157 souvenirs in the form of cloth badges, streamers, handkerchiefs, ribbons, banners, programs, scarfs, cushions, cases, fabric samples, and aprons. Each item commemorates a political figure, a cause, a social group, a momentous event or occasion, and expositions. This collection includes samples of fabric associated with life of Andrew Jackson, a handkerchief used by Napoleon, body banners for woman’s suffrage, a police badge, an apron from the Cotton Exposition 1884-1885, political handkerchiefs from the political campaigns of Grover Cleveland and Hale Boggs, and a badge commemorating Lafayette’s visit in 1825.

Documentary Materials

Fashion Plates
The museum has an extensive collection of 19th century French fashion plates from French, German, English, and American journals.

Fashion Magazines
The costume and textile reference materials includes examples of nineteenth century periodicals: La Belle Asemblee, Godey’s Ladies Book, Peterson’s, and The Delineator. There are also a small number of early 20th century magazines such as Vogue and Harpers Bazaar.

Patterns/Pattern Books
Includes patterns from late 19th century to 1985 for various clothing items particularly for women. There are also patterns for needlework, berlin work, crochet, embroidery. The collection has two needlework "sampler" books.


This collection includes costumes, jewelry, favors, paper invitations, paper programs and illustrations (sketches, posters, foldouts, etc.) of the New Orleans carnival season.