One of the things we stumbled across while walking through the French Quarter was the old US Treasury Mint, which was converted recently into a state museum. The ownership changed hands in the 1960s from US to State property, and the building served various government purposes before being converted now into a museum.
This building had a unique status as the only building to be both a US mint and also a mint for the Confederate States of America. We enjoyed going through several rooms of old mint equipment, as well as enjoying a pile of money that we had our picture made in.
The museum was free of charge, so it was worth every penny! If you need a break from the cold weather, stop in, or if you are interested in learning more about how money is made, drop in!
While you're walking around Jackson Square you'll see the 1850 House which is apart of the Louisiana State Museums.
"The Upper and Lower Pontalba Buildings, which line the St. Ann and St. Peter Street sides of Jackson Square, were built in 1850 by the Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, the daughter of Don Andres Almonester y Roxas, the Spanish colonial landowner associated with the neighboring Cabildo, Cathedral and Presbytere. Inspired by the imposing Parisian architecture the Baroness favored, the distinctive rowhouses were intended to serve as both elegant residences and fine retail establishments. In 1921 the Pontalba family sold the Lower Pontalba Building to philanthropist William Ratcliff Irby who subsequently, in 1927, bequeathed it to the State Museum.
To illustrate the landmark's historical significance, the State Museum has re-created what one of the residences would have looked like during the Antebellum era when the Baroness Pontalba first opened her doors. Faithfully furnished with domestic goods, decorative arts and art of the period, the 1850 House depicts middle class family life during the most prosperous period in New Orleans' history. Limited docent- and curator-led tours are available as is self-directed viewing.
The Museum gift shop, operated by the Friends of the Cabildo, is located in the 1850 House."
Hurricane Katrina Note:
The nine Louisiana State Museum properties received little water from flooding... Hardest hit was the Old U.S. Mint, which lost a large portion of its copper roof. As a result, water came into contact with office areas, and a very small percentage of the jazz collection (approximately 1%) was affected.
Museum staff has been working closely with State and Federal officials to stabilize buildings and protect the collections housed within them. Contractors engaged by FEMA have secured the Mint roof with tarp, and temporary repairs are underway. Documents retrieved from Mint offices were immediately freeze-dried at LSU?s Hill Memorial Library, and librarians report that the pieces are progressing well.
I found the appearance of the 1835 US Mint with the cut off trees a trifle off-putting, and we did not go to this museum. I took the picture from the bus. It is a National Historic Landmark (partly I guess because it is the only building in America to have served both as a U.S. and Confederate Mint) and The Louisiana State Museum.
The building was designed by William Strickland designed in the Greek Revival style. U.S. coins were minted from 1838 to 1861 when it was seized by the state after Louisiana seceded from the Union. Minting of U.S. coins resumed after the war until 1909. In 1966 the building was transferred to the state and in 1981 opened to the public as a State Museum site.
In addition to information about the mint and coins, there is also instruments, sheet music and memorabilia of New Orleans' Jazz, a display of Newcomb Pottery and other craft forms produced by Newcomb, including watercolor images, metalwork, and bookbinding and the Historical Center which is an archive of maps and documents which includes early French and Spanish colonial records.
Previously on this site stood Fort San Carlos which was erected in 1792 by the Spanish Governor at the time. As Fort Charles it was then demolished in 1821 and the site was named Jackson Square. As the US Mint, it operated from 1839 to 1909 and produced $5 million in coins monthly at its peak. In 1932, the building became a Federal Prison. It was occupied by the US Coast Guard 1948-1965 before the building was transferred to the State of Louisiana in 1968 and renovated as part of the Louisiana State Museum.
Today the Mint also houses a Mardi Gras & Jazz museum.