Oak Alley Foundation's Research and Collections Department reflects the plantation’s evolved history--constructed over decades and lifetimes. Focused on interpreting the antebellum mansion and its contents, it cares for a wide variety of objects, research material and ephemera.
A large portion of the Collection is composed of Mrs. Stewart’s decorative arts, literature and photographs. Some of the objects, such as her tea set, reflect her personality and hospitality as Oak Alley’s last private resident. Others, such as her images of the plantation, show the adaptations she made as she restored her beloved home.
The department’s collection also preserves a large number of artifacts recovered from the historical site. Antebellum bricks, pottery pieces and other miscellaneous fragments give us a slim but invaluable glimpse into life on this sugar plantation and in particular, its enslaved community. It is this collection that inspired the Artifact Room, a new component of the mansion exhibit.
While not all collections are publicly displayed, their lessons and insight into Oak Alley’s heritage is nonetheless shared through our Historical Interpreters. As our mission states, we exist, “for the instruction, education, enlightenment, information, edification and cultural benefit of the citizens of the State of Louisiana, the United States and the public generally.” We are open to information requests from both students and researchers as we aim to share the History of Oak Alley, recognizing its unique place in the greater culture of Louisiana.