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L’Auberge and LSU’s Rural Life Museum announce $1.3 million partnership

L’Auberge and LSU’s Rural Life Museum announce $1.3 million partnership

POSTED: Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 2:30pm

UPDATED: Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 3:09pm

On Thursday, March 22, LSU, the LSU Rural Life Museum and L’Auberge Baton Rouge announced a partnership that will ensure the preservation of artifacts found on the former Chatsworth and Longwood Plantation properties.

L’Auberge Baton Rouge has reached an agreement with the university to give more than $1.3 million to the Rural Life Museum to oversee the archaeological preservation of significant artifacts recovered from the property on which L’Auberge Baton Rouge is being constructed.

Prior to construction, L’Auberge Baton Rouge completed an archaeological dig on the properties along River Road. The Rural Life Museum will complete an excavation on the properties, and will collect and analyze all artifacts found on the former plantation grounds. This project is also significant to the university, as LSU owns the south side of the Chatsworth Plantation property.

Chatsworth Plantation encompassed 575 acres of land along Nicholson Drive dating back to the 19th century. Until the 1780s, the property was the site of a Native American village. The two-story Greek revival Longwood Plantation home is located along River Road and was built in the late 18th century. It is one of only 18 antebellum structures left in Baton Rouge and was added to the National Registrar for Historic Places in 1983.

The partnership with L’Auberge Baton Rouge provides an opportunity for LSU and its Rural Life Museum to be involved in the preservation and interpretation of the nationally significant plantation sites. The addition of these artifacts will benefit the public, as well as the student body.

Currently, the Rural Life Museum curates more than 10,000 artifacts and historic buildings. These artifacts will add even more to the museum’s already diverse collection, which is accessible to the public, scholars and researchers through cultural exhibitions, educational programs and publications.

“We thank L’Auberge Baton Rouge for approaching us with this project,” said David Floyd, director of the Rural Life Museum. “The museum’s collection has grown in large part due to the donations of individuals and companies who had the forethought to preserve historic pieces.”

These artifacts will contribute to the classroom experience at LSU, as the museum also acts as a laboratory and classroom for history, geography, anthropology, architecture, landscape design and art departments. This partnership will also offer hands on opportunities for LSU students in the geography and anthropology and architecture departments to assist with the assigned projects alongside licensed professionals.

“We are pleased that our partnership with L’Auberge will help to preserve and study some of our city’s unique history,” said LSU Chancellor Michael Martin. “It’s important for the university and local businesses to come together when opportunities like this one arise. We look forward to seeing what kinds of artifacts are recovered, and are excited that students will get to be involved in the process.”

The mission of LSU’s Rural Life Museum is to provide and sustain a publicly accessible center for the collection, preservation and interpretation of the material culture, cultural landscapes, and vernacular architecture of Louisiana and the Lower Mississippi River Valley. The Rural Life Museum adheres to the university’s Flagship Agenda by committing itself to produce enlightened and engaged citizen leaders by fostering critical thinking, ethical reflection, technological prowess, historical understanding, and artistic and cultural appreciation.

“We are honored to be partnering with LSU and the Rural Life Museum to support our commitment in preserving the archaeological remains found on the L’Auberge Baton Rouge property,” said Mickey Parenton, vice president and general manager of L’Auberge Baton Rouge. “The Rural Life Museum has an outstanding reputation, and we know they’ll share these pieces of history with the public.”

Work on completing the projects began in February 2012, and the work is expected to be completed in March 2014.

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