Museum on Main Street

***UPDATE: Water/Ways is returning to Louisiana for a tour that will run from May 29, 2021 to March 5, 2022. The LEH is accepting letters of intent (LOI) from museums, libraries, and other non-profit cultural organizations. The LOI will be open from January 13 to June 12th, 2020. Awards will be selected by July 2020.

For a list of guidelines for applicants, click here.

To complete the Water/Ways LOI in our grants management system, click here.

For information on accessing our grants management system, click here, or email


In 2000, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities partnered with the Smithsonian Institution through its Museum on Main Street (MOMS) program to bring traveling exhibits to rural audiences and small museums that do not have access due to space and cost limitations. Museum on Main Street brings rural Americans one-of-a-kind access to prestigious Smithsonian exhibitions and first-rate educational programs. Most importantly, Museum on Main Street gives rural museums a chance to demonstrate their enormous talents and their meaningful contributions to small town life. Click here to learn more about Museum on Main Street.

Past Tours

2018-2019: Water/Ways

Water is life; 60 percent of our bodies are made of water. Water is a natural resource, and water is a threat. Water gives inspiration to artists. Water grows the seafood we eat and provides shipping routes for businesses. Water has shaped the geography and history of our state.

In Louisiana, we have a unique relationship to water. Now the Smithsonian Institution and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities offer local communities a new way to explore the myriad ways water affects our lives.

The 2018-19 Water/Ways tour in Louisiana was made possible by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation.



2016-17: Hometown Teams

In 2016, the LEH will host “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America,” a Museum on Main Street exhibit that captures the stories that unfold on the neighborhood fields and courts, and the underdog heroics, larger-than-life-legends, fierce rivalries and gut wrenching defeats. The 2016 tour sites are:

    • Old Post Office Museum, Winnsboro, March 19-April 30
    • Claiborne Parish Library, Homer, May 7-June 18
    • Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, Natchitoches, June 25-August 6
    • Lincoln Parish Library, Ruston, August 13-September 24
    • Southern Forest Heritage Museum & Research Center, Long Leaf, October 1-November 12
    • Abita Springs Trailhead Museum, Abita Springs, November 19-January 1


Past Tours 2013-14: The Way We Worked

Since 2000, the LEH and the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum on Main Street program have teamed with communities in rural areas to deliver state-of-the-art exhibits and build the capacity of small museums in Louisiana. “The Way We Worked” is the sixth exhibit coordinated by the LEH, with more than 110,000 museum visitors in thirty-four Louisiana communities benefiting from more than $290,000 in LEH funding.

Adapted from an original exhibition developed by the National Archives, “The Way We Worked” explores how work became such a central element in American culture by tracing the many changes that affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years. The exhibition draws from the Archives’ rich collections, including historical photographs, archival accounts of workers, film, audio and interactives, to tell the compelling story of how work impacts our individual lives and the historical and cultural fabric of our communities. Louisiana sites will focus on local industries including timber, railroads, spring water, tourism, and agriculture.

  • Jonesboro, Jackson Parish Library, November 2, 2013 – December 15, 2013 
  • Minden, City Hall, December 21, 2013 – February 2, 2014
  • Bunkie, Haas Auditorium, February 8, 2014 – March 23, 2014  
  • DeRidder, Main Library, March 29, 2014 – May 11, 2014
  • Angola, Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum, May 17, 2014 – June 29, 2014

For more information on MoMs, contact LEH Director of Public Relations and Programs Brian Boyles at or 504.620.2632.

Past Tours 2011-2012: Journey Stories

Journey Stories examines the intersection between modes of travel and Americans’ desire to feel free to move. The story of the intersection between transportation and American society is complicated, but it tells us much about who we are people who see our societal mobility as a means for asserting our individual freedom. The exhibit uses engaging images with audio and artifacts to tell the individual stories that illustrate the critical roles travel and movement have played in building our diverse American society. Click here to learn more about Journey Stories.

    • St. Martinville The Acadian Memorial May 28-July 9, 2011
    • Leesville Vernon Parish Tourism Commission July 16-Aug. 27, 2011
    • Denham Springs Old City Hall Museum Sept. 3-Oct. 15, 2011
    • Lake Providence Louisiana State Cotton Museum Oct. 22-Dec. 3, 2011
    • Long Leaf Southern Forest Heritage Museum Dec. 10, 2011-Jan. 28, 2012
    • St. Francisville West Feliciana Historical Society Feb. 4-March 19, 2012


Past Tours 2008-2009: New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music

What is American Music? What are the roots of Jazz, Rock and Roll, Hip Hop and Country Swing? Many of us listen to music day-in and day-out without giving a second thought to the wealth of history and culture that shapes today’s popular music. Our music is built upon the melding of different cultural groups and is a direct reflection of America’s diversity.

New Harmoniesis an interactive exhibit that examines the ongoing cultural process that has made America the birthplace of more music than any place on earth. The exhibition provides a fascinating, inspiring and toe-tapping listen to the American story of multi-cultural exchange.

State Scholar: Ben Sandmel 
Sandmel comes to the role of state humanities scholar for “New Harmonies” with impressive credentials. He is a foklorist, the drummer/producer for The Hackberry Ramblers and author of Zydeco! (University Press of Mississippi, 1999). Currently working on a book about the late New Orleans R&B legend Ernie K-Doe, as a freelance writer, he also writes music reviews for Louisiana Cultural VistasClick here to learn more about New Harmonies.

    • Abita Opry, Inc, Abita Springs
    • Lincoln Parish Library, Ruston
    • Jeanerette Bicentennial Park & Museum, Jeanerette
    • La Musee de la Ville de Kaplan, Kaplan
    • Delta Music Museum, Ferriday
    • Louisiana State Oil & Gas Museum, Oil City

Past Tours 2006-2007: Key Ingredients: America by Food

Key Ingredients explores the connections between Americans and the foods they produce, prepare, preserve and present at the table—a provocative and thoughtful look at he historical, regional and social traditions that merge in everyday meals and celebrations. Our recipes, menus, ceremonies and etiquette are directly shaped by our country’s rich immigrant experience, the history and innovations of food preparation technology, and the ever-changing availability of key ingredients. Click here to learn more about Key Ingredients.

    • Julien Poydras Museum and Arts Council, New Roads
    • Old Courthouse Museum, Natchitoches
    • Larose Civic Center, Larose
    • Jena Cultural Center, Jena
    • St. Mary Parish Library, Baldwin
    • Acadian Prairie Cultural Center, Eunice

Past Tours 2004-2005: Yesterday’s Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future

Yesterday’s Tomorrows explored the history of the future—our expectations and beliefs about things to come. From ray guns to robots, to nuclear powered cars, to the Atom-Bomb house, to predictions and inventions that went awry, Yesterday’s Tomorrows helps us understand the values and hopes Americans hold and have held about the years to come. Click here to learn more aboutYesterday’s Tomorrows.

    • Minden Chamber of Com./Webster Parish Library, Minden
    • Old Town Hall Museum, Pineville
    • Brimstone Historical Society and Museum, Sulphur
    • The Princess Theatre, Winnsboro
    • Iberville Museum, Plaquemine
    • Jeanerette Bicentennial Park and Museum, Jeanerette

Past Tours 2001-2002: Produce for Victory: Posters on American Home Front, 1941-45

Produce for Victory contained the best of the Smithsonian’s wartime images, collected by its curator of graphic arts during World War II. It traced the evolution of the poster as an art form that was key to mobilizing and maintaining stateside support, in human and natural resources, for the global battle overseas. Inexpensive, accessible, and ever-present, the poster was an ideal agent for making war aims the personal mission of every American. Click here to learn more about Produce for Victory.

    • Herbert S. Ford Memorial Museum, Homer
    • Hermione Museum, Tallulah
    • Varnado Store Museum, Franklinton
    • Louisiana Political Museum & Hall of Fame, Winnfield
    • Zigler Museum, Jennings
    • West Baton Rouge Museum, Port Allen