Upcoming exhibits at the West Baton Rouge Museum will feature many of the 500 items donated to the museum by the West Baton Rouge community in 2017. The Juke Joint exhibit, the museum’s newest permanent exhibit scheduled to open on Friday, April 6, will include musical instruments, posters and memorabilia donated by West Baton Rouge’s Neal family.
The exhibit interprets the blues music that gained popularity throughout the south Louisiana region.
“[The items] will be the perfect addition to this permanent exhibit,” Museum Curator of Collections Elizabeth Brantley said.
The transformation of the ramshackle tin building that was once the Boy Scout Hut into the Juke Joint replica also led to some interesting finds, Brantley said. Many local youths were involved in Scouting and the troop is responsible for many projects in the parish throughout the years. Brantley said the museum hopes to use some of the artifacts from the Boy Scout Hut in a future exhibit on Scouting.
The museum also received several original movie posters from Port Allen’s Magic Theater.
“It is fun to look back at the movies that were popular at the time as well as to have a piece of local history that no longer exists here in town,” Brantley said.
Some artifacts donated in 2017 were immediately included in the Over Here, Over There: WWI At Home and Abroad exhibit. Others will be included in the museum’s 50th-anniversary blockbuster exhibit, The Golden Anniversary: Treasures from the Collection. The exhibit will showcase many never-before-seen artifacts, including ones donated in 2017.
The museum actively collects artifacts and materials that represent the history and culture of West Baton Rouge Parish and its residents. The museum is looking to grow several areas of their collection, including Vietnam-era artifacts, Cohn High School artifacts, clothes and textiles, and items that represent life along the Mississippi, Brantley said.