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Calcasieu Parish was created in 1840 from St. Landry Parish, and the state’s newest parish was by far the largest – larger than Rhode Island. It carried the regal name of Imperial Calcasieu, but by 1870, the expansive area was divided into Beauregard, Allen, Jefferson Davis, and Calcasieu.

Our name carries this history in its heart, and we aim to connect Southwest Louisiana’s rich and robust history with your own. The Imperial Calcasieu Museum embodies its 60-year legacy of celebrating the arts while protecting our history and legacy of our Southwest Louisiana roots. The organization works daily to showcase the talent of local, national, and international artists while providing the seat of historic heirlooms and documents from across the span of our history from the beginning of Imperial Calcasieu to today.

By increasing awareness and engagement in arts, culture, and history, Imperial Calcasieu Museum has married the Museum facility with the Gibson-Barham Gallery to create the only unique arts and culture museum serving the five-parish area.

The Museum houses a permanent collection of artifacts and memorabilia depicting the everyday life of the Imperial Calcasieu Era from the Attakapas and other Native American tribal life to world wars and everywhere in between. The Museum ties together the relevance of our history in today’s world so that the public may understand the place we live better which finding their own story in the history of our region. The Museum boasts regularly rotated items of historical significance, including period furniture, relics from the Great Fire of 1910, frontier clothing, and Native American artwork. The Museum also features a collection of powerful work from artists such as John James Audubon, Boyd Cruise, Angel Gregory, and Lynda Benglis.

The Gibson-Barham Gallery is a 2,500 square-foot exhibition space that has brought incredible arts and culture experiences to the community. The Gallery pursues to expand the art community in the area by self-curating exhibits that provide essential educational viability for the public. Past hallmark exhibits have included a week-long residency by Tibetan Monks to produce a mandala on site; Hurry On Down: the Life of Jazz Singer Nellie Lutcher; Modernist Master from the New Orleans Museum of Art: Miró, Matisse & Picasso; and “Java: The History of Louisiana’s Coffee Roasters.” The gallery space also includes the Calcasieu Parish K-12 Art Students Juried Show, which is a one-of-a-kind experience showcasing the future artists of our area.

The vision statement is to position the ICM as the leading fine arts and cultural center for the region by increasing awareness, participation, and involvement.

The Museum is supported by individual and corporate contributions, sponsorships, grants, fund raisers (Art of Fashion Design; Boogaloo) and some fees for services. The average monthly cost to operate the facility is $10,000 and 88% of the operating budget is spent with local vendors, suppliers, printers and contractors.

Programming areas for Museum are:

Houses a permanent collection of the consisting of artifacts and memorabilia depicting life in the old Imperial Calcasieu region from the Native Americans to the present. There are numerous items of special interest including: period furniture, photographs chronicling the Great Fire of 1910 and other sentinel events in the history of the region. The Museum also boasts a permanent art collection including works of John James Audubon, Boyd Cruise, Angel Gregory and Lynda Benglis.

Houses the Gibson-Barham Gallery, a 2,500 square foot exhibition space, that hosts visual artists and historic & cultural exhibits on a revolving basis. Exhibits are self curated and produced to have educational viability and meet established education criteria to foster the visual arts and preserve the unique culture and heritage of Southwest Louisiana. Past exhibits have included a week long residency by Tibetan Monks to produce a mandala, a intricate sand painting, on site, Hurry On Down: the life of jazz singer Nellie Lutcher, Modernist Master from the New Orleans Museum of Art: Miró, Matisse & Picasso, local, national & internationally know artists and craftsmen, and “Java: the history of Louisiana’s coffee roasters”.

The exhibit season annually includes the Calcasieu Parish K-12 Art Students Juried Show. The Imperial Calcasieu Museum is the only museum in the state hosting its Parish Art students in an annual exhibit.

Supported by a SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau Tourism Marketing Grant from the Lake Charles/SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau as administered by the Arts Council of SWLA. Funding for the Louisiana Culture Care Fund grants has been provided by the Nation Endowment for the Humanities and administered by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities as part of the Corona Virus Aid, Relief, Economic Security Act economic stabilization plan.

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