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July 2018

July 2018

Downtown Shreveport Museum Offers History Lessons Worth Visiting

Downtown Shreveport Museum Offers History Lessons Worth Visiting

Everyone should know more about their surroundings and the history behind the city they live in. The Spring Street Museum in downtown Shreveport is one of the oldest buildings the city has to offer, and it retains its original interior and exterior.

The museum started as a variety of businesses, with the first occupant being Tally’s Bank in 1866. Now the museum, which opened in 1977, traces Shreveport’s history and houses diverse exhibits and artifacts.

During my time there I learned about the Yellow Fever Mound epidemic of 1979. This epidemic caused 759 of Shreveport’s 45,000 citizens to lose their lives. This particular epidemic was the third greatest to strike the United States. Almost all of the lost ones were buried at Oakland Cemetery in Shreveport, and most of them were buried in a mass grave called the Yellow Fever Mound in the cemetery’s southwestern quadrant.

The museum is free for all, so if you’re looking for a budget-friendly event, this is the place to be. This trip will last the family about an hour.

There are two floors of the museum with the first floor being exhibits that highlight many of the objects found in the museum’s collection, with the second floor being a Victorian parlor set to the 1870s and 1880s time frame. When you walk in, the first attraction that appears is this big antique history book in the middle of the floor that features a short film about the Civil Rights movement in Shreveport. There is also a Civil War exhibit, historic maps, transportation exhibit, and trolley stop locations.

The museum is located at 525 N Spring Street, in downtown Shreveport. Its collection of artifacts includes: vintage clothing dating back to 1835, antique toys and maps, firearms and swords, plantation records, photographs, Persian rugs, and original 18th and 19th century furniture, accessories and paintings. Its regular hours are Wednesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information and tour requests, visit: http://www.springstreetmuseum.org/.

 

You have to SEA it to believe it

You have to SEA it to believe it

Picture yourself surrounded by aquatic animals, with coral reefs of different colors, and a shark swimming right above your head. The aroma of salt water fills the air, the sound of stingrays splashing in their habitats makes you jump, and the sight of turtles resting on a rock fills your heart.

The Shreveport Aquarium, located at 601 Clyde Fant Parkway, is one of the many attractions Shreveport-Bossier has to offer. This building was the former Barnwell Garden and Art Center. With a two year and $4.5 million dollar transformation, the aquarium now occupies this facility.

I actually went with my sister. We were pleased with the amount of sights that were available for all age groups. The exhibits were attractively displayed and the atmosphere was very ocean-like.

There are nine rooms in the aquarium with more than 3,000 animals including sharks, jellyfish, ducks, giant crabs, lion fish, and of course clown fish. The clownfish and lionfish are actually held in the Shipwreck Gallery, the second exhibit following the WOW Gallery. The WOW Gallery holds the reef fish, like blue tangs, angelfish, and basslets.

The aquarium opened Nov. 1, 2017, with the crowd favorite being the tunnel of sharks called the Ocean Tank. The Ocean Tank is the 30,000-gallon tank that serves as the largest gallery of the aquarium.

The Dome of the Bayou exhibit is the only freshwater exhibit in the aquarium. It holds animals like the alligator snapping turtles, largemouth sea bass, and ducks. There are exhibits that allow you to look inside the tanks through a protective shield called the pop-up dome, to get a better feel of the ocean-like atmosphere.

Themed as a tide pool from the Oregon Coast, the Shore Explore exhibits holds kelp crabs, sea urchins, and sea stars that are touchable. Other exhibits like the Contact Cove and the Submarine gallery are interactive exhibits of stingrays, shrimp and moon jellies.

There is a restaurant on sight called SALT (Sea Air Land and Time) as well as a gift shop for all of your aquatic needs. Admission prices for the aquarium are $12 for adults, seniors 55 and older are $9, kids 12 and under are $8 and ages two and under are free. For more information, visit their website www.shreveportaquarium.com. Like their Facebook page for more up-to-date information.

 

Multicultural Center Offers Different Cultures Around Every Corner

Multicultural Center Offers Different Cultures Around Every Corner

Imagine being able to experience a variety of cultures without having to leave your city. Every turn you make is a different culture with facts you may not have known.

The Multicultural Center of the South, located at 520 N Spring Street, in downtown Shreveport, houses more than 2,000 artifacts featured in 19 exhibits.

The first floor features Cajun, Creole, Native American, Hispanic, Iran, Israel, and Italian cultures. The second floor features Greece, Scotland, India, Philippines, Korea, Japan, China, and Africa. There are pictures, statues, figurines, and artifacts in each room to capture the ambiance of different cultures.

My favorite is the Chinese exhibit. I enjoyed learning about their two-chambered marriage bed/wedding bed. This bed belonged to well-to-do Chinese families that usually gave the bed to their son as a wedding gift. The bed was made in Shanghai around the 19th century. The entire bed is assembled without the use of nails or tools. All parts of the bed are made to fit like a puzzle.

I was intrigued by the different gifts that were given at wedding ceremonies in different customs. In a Korean wedding, wedding ducks were a traditional gift. Wedding ducks are a pair of duck carvings given to represent peace, fidelity, and plentiful offspring. Ducks are chosen because it is believed that these types of ducks mate for life. If one of the pair dies, the other will mourn.

The center has more to offer than exhibits. It includes a multicultural library, a retail gift shop, and accessible tours and information year round.

The center was established in 1999 and its mission is to be an educational, information and tourist center dedicated to the enhancement, understanding, and appreciation of the history and diverse cultures of Northwest Louisiana and other parts of the state.

Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for senior and students and free admission for children under three. The hours of operation are Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m; Saturday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (by appointment only) It is closed Sunday, Monday, and holidays. For more information visit, www.mccsouth.org