Louisiana Music Museum

Acadiana Center for the Arts is under contract to purchase the historic Lafayette Hardware Store building with plans to create a new “Louisiana Music Museum.” 

“The old hardware store is one of the most classic, beautiful buildings in Lafayette, and we are excited to take the first steps towards developing it as a new national destination for lovers of Louisiana’s music and culture,” said AcA Executive Director Samuel Oliver. 

This project envisions creating a new museum at 121 W. Vermilion St, immediately adjacent to the AcA, to complement the existing visitor destinations and to serve as a new permanent home for the many diverse stories of Louisiana music, told from a distinctly “Acadiana” perspective.

“AcA has secured financing to purchase the property from the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority, but the total renovation of the building is a much bigger project,” said Oliver. “We have already begun approaching partners who can make this dream a reality, and we expect that our community will be excited to help see this vision into fruition.”

AcA envisions the building serving as both a museum with daily visitors and as a functional Cajun/Creole dance hall, where visitors and locals alike can gather for generations to come to celebrate the legacy of Louisiana’s musical heritage as it deserves to be celebrated.

“Although the creation of such a museum, with Cajun and Creole music at its core, has long been a daydream of many in Acadiana’s cultural sector, it is our belief that the AcA’s current plan represents the best and most appropriate route for making it a reality,” says UL Center for Louisiana Studies Director Joshua Caffery.

The AcA’s Board of Directors has formed a steering committee, which will serve to represent a diverse community of stakeholder and guide the development of the exhibitions and programs that will come with the museum once open. Individuals interested in serving on the committee should email nominations@acadianacenterforthearts.org, where the committee will be accepting members as the project progresses.

Any inquiries regarding the project can be directed to AcA Executive Director Samuel Oliver <sam@acadianacenterforthearts.org>, including media, proposals for services, and donation inquiries.

Project Plan: Acadiana Center for the AcA envisions redeveloping the historic Lafayette Hardware Store, which is a 10,000 sq. ft. building on the National Historic Register, for the purpose of opening a new museum dedicated to the music and musicians of Louisiana. The building is immediately adjacent to the AcA’s existing facility and would serve as an extension of the organization’s nonprofit mission of fostering art and culture in Acadiana. 

The facility would accommodate cajun and creole dances on Saturday and Sunday mornings, in a style similar to the former Café des Amis in Breaux Bridge, weekly talks and jam sessions, and occasional rentals for private events. The facility would include sufficient enough commercial kitchen, restrooms, back of house rooms, and accessible pathways to serve these needs over and above daily museum operations.

Project Cost: The estimated total project cost is estimated at $3.5 Million, including property acquisition, design and engineering, construction, and exhibition design.

Organization Qualifications: The Louisiana Music Museum is a project of the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Founded in 1975, the Acadiana Center for the Arts (“AcA”) is a community-supported regional arts council and 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is “fostering art and culture in Acadiana.” Rooted in a cultural community that has made its mark on the world through food, music, and art, AcA aims to ensure that this living culture flourishes for generations to come. AcA aims to bring equitable access to the arts through intensive residency work in schools and supports fair compensation of artists. On average, AcA serves over 300,000 people annually and provides fair compensation to 2,700 artists. AcA supports the creation of new works of art, exhibits, festivals, performances, and public art across an eight-parish region that includes Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Vermilion Parishes. AcA is a Regional Development Agency, as designated by the State of Louisiana, with an annual operating budget in excess of $2 million, and it operates a 50,000ft2 state-of-the-art facility that includes a 20,000 sq. ft. art museum, a 300 seat theater and mixed use venue, classrooms, and offices.