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With the National Historic Landmark, Louis Bolduc House, as its centerpiece, New France – the Other Colonial America at the Bolduc House Museum tells the story of the French American community in the Missouri’s first town and the bread-basket of New France, Ste. Genevieve. Prior to the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, this community was home to a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural group of people from at least five Native American tribes, France, Spain, and Africa under the colonial governments of both France and Spain. With five historic houses, our campus provides a Living History experience for the whole family.
Four of our five historic houses are vertical log “post on sill” structures – the French vernacular architecture for which our National Historic Landmark designation was based. The Louis Bolduc House boasts its original Norman Truss roof structure with slave-built hand hewn logs and carved pegs.
In addition to a story-based interpretation of French Ste. Genevieve, we have a great exhibit about the African experience in colonial Ste. Genevieve that starts with the African context of the Bambara people who were the most likely tribe to be enslaved by La Traite, the French slave trade. It provides the names of slave buyers and sellers in Ste. Genevieve and detailed information about what individual Africans did here based on research in the Ste. Genevieve archives.
We also feature an exhibit of the Shawnee and Delaware experience in eastern Missouri. This is the result of a partnership with the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, the Shawnee Tribe, and the Absentee Shawnee Tribe, the Delaware Tribe, the Delaware Nation, and the Missouri Humanities Council. Learn about the Doctrine of Discovery, the history of Tecumseh’s tribe as defenders of “the Spanish Illinois Country” and then visit our Eastern Woodland Village outdoor area with a Three Sister’s Garden, a Dye Garden, a dug-out canoe, wigwam, and ceramics firing pit.