The Confederate Hall Museum opened its doors in 1891, making it the oldest museum in Louisiana.
It was built to be a place where Confederate soldiers could meet, hold veteran’s association evenings, and to house, protect, and preserve their relics from the war. Today it’s the second largest collection of Confederate artifacts in the world.
Too often, the losing side in a war doesn’t have many places to remember their veterans, but this small, well founded museum is today run by a dedicated group of volunteers, who take pride in the collection of uniforms, weapons, personal effects and battle scarred flags of long gone regiments. Up until the 1920s, veterans would volunteer at the museum, and tell visitors firsthand what it was like to have fought at the bloody battles of Shiloh, Manassas & Gettysburg.
Many of the items in the museum were donated by the soldiers who used them. Over 5,000 artifacts include items belonging to Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard, as well as a large collection of personal items that Varina Howell Davis, wife of Southern President Jefferson Davis, donated including his clothing, suitcases and saddle. But it’s the small personal items that tell the tale of the sacrifices made by this forgotten army—a soldier’s sewing kit made by his wife from material from one of her dresses, and a tunic with the sleeve torn off, where the soldier’s arm was shattered by cannon fire.