Linda F. Benedict, Schultz, Bruce
Located in Mansura just up the road from the birthplace of 4-H in Louisiana in Moreauville, the Louisiana 4-H Museum offers visitors a unique perspective of the role 4-H has played in people’s lives for more than 100 years.
Visitors can see the evolution of 4-H through the many exhibits on display. Old project books help illustrate how in the early days the primary focus was on livestock and cooking. Other exhibits show how 4-H has changed to meet the needs of today’s students with an emphasis on science, engineering and technology.
It is also the home of the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame, which recognizes those individuals who have made significant contributions to the success and continuance of 4-H in the state. So far, 172 people have been honored.
According to Esther Boe, an Avoyelles Parish 4-H agent who helps administer the museum, visiting the museum is “a trip down memory lane.” A collection of photographs chronicling the construction of 4-H Camp Grant Walker is popular, Boe said. “A lot of people’s most vivid memories are related to their time at camp,” she said.
Boe said the museum has also served as a resource for those families who were active in 4-H. She indicated it is not uncommon for individuals to seek out pictures or memorabilia of long-lost relatives from their days as a 4-H participant, volunteer or agent.
Another prominent feature is the 27-foot diorama that tells the story from the humble beginnings of 4-H to the era of mechanized agriculture and how 4-H grew from 300 boys to an organization that now serves more than 200,000 youth every year statewide.
The museum is housed in the Avoyelles Parish extension office and is open on normal business days from 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. It is a self-guided tour, and there is no admission fee.
Craig Gautreaux is a communications specialist with LSU AgCenter Communications.
(This article was published in the spring 2014 issue of Louisiana Agriculture magazine.)