Iberville history is honored through museum by locals for locals

Logan Ridenour
A houseboat exhibit on display at the Iberville Museum.

Located at the original town hall for Plaquemine, the Iberville Museum holds a treasure cove of items that illustrate the history of the parish. 

The unique history of the museum is embedded in the people whose goal was to "collect, preserve and present the rich history of Iberville Parish," James "Fry" Hymel, the museum chairman said. 

What began as an idea in 1998, came to fruition on June 11, 2000. The process leading up to the grand opening was not an easy one. 

The museum building was originally built in 1884 as a courthouse and later became Plaquemine City Hall. Over the years, the building began to deteriorate and was scheduled for demolition. 

Rather than lose this historic landmark, citizens and the City of Plaquemine began raising funds to restore the building. In September of 1999 the restoration was complete. 

"What I think is really fascinating about the museum is that it was definitely a grassroots movement to start this museum. It was community driven," Meghan Sylvester, the museum curator said.

When the museum finally opened its doors in mid 2000, the objects that lined the walls were items donated by the people of Iberville Parish. 

"This is their home, and they wanted a place to broadcast how much they love their home and how much it means to them," Sylvester said.

"We started all volunteers, and none of us were professional museum people," Hymel said.

However, they were determined to create a quality museum dedicated to the people of Iberville. 

Throughout the years, they have held numerous exhibits. One of which was their People of Iberville series. Each temporary exhibit portrayed the impact different cultures had on the development of the parish. 

As they approach 20 years as an organization, the museum will continue to highlight the history of Iberville Parish with a dedication to preserve the history of its people.

The museum is located at 57735 Main Street in Plaquemine, Louisiana. It is open Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.