The Louisiana State Museum, Patterson is the official state aviation and cypress sawmill industry museum and houses two very important collections documenting our state's rich history.
The Wedell-Williams Aviation Collection focuses on the legacy of Louisiana aviation pioneers Jimmie Wedell and Harry Williams who formed an air service in Patterson in the 1928. Both men became nationally prominent during what was known as the Golden Age of Aviation. Although both Wedell and Williams perished in plane crashes, their legacy lives on in the memorabilia and planes on display.
This newly renovated exhibit is filled with state-of-the-art displays including numerous aircraft such as the famous “Miss Patterson” #44 and the “Gilmore” #121. Also on display are Wedell-Williams’ 1930’s air racing trophies and memorabilia. The new “David J. Felterman Theater” features an exciting air racing film that visually transports the visitor to the heart of the 1932 Cleveland National Air Races. Visitors will enjoy the new interactive gallery that will provide first hand experience with the principles of flight.
The Patterson Cypress Sawmill Collection documents the history of the cypress lumber industry in Louisiana. Lumbering became the state's first significant manufacturing industry. As a result, cypress lumber harvested and milled in Louisiana was shipped in mass quantities across the United States. The town of Patterson was once home to the largest cypress sawmill in the world, owned by Frank B. Williams, and in 1997 the Louisiana State Legislature designated Patterson as the cypress capitol of Louisiana. The exhibit features a variety of artifacts, photographs, and film that tell the story of this important regional industry.
In addition, the museum also has a changing exhibit gallery that highlights other aspects of Louisiana's culture and history.
School and group tours are also available. Please call 985-399-1268 for more information or to schedule a tour. Enhanced curriculum guides are available upon request.