The Centre for French Colonial Life Campus is OPEN: Our exhibits facility at the Centre and the historic Bolduc and LeMeiilleur houses are open to the public on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (we currently are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday until the beginning of July).
The FCA museum campus, consisting of four late-18th and early-19th century historic structures — as well as the new exhibits and education building — tells the story of early French settlement in the upper Mississippi valley, and the development of a unique French Creole culture in this region, even during the time period when it was controlled by Spain, and later by the United States after the Louisiana Purchase.
FRENCH COLONIAL AMERICA RECEIVES MAJOR GIFT FROM PHILANTHROPIST DAVID T. ORTHWEIN FOR HISTORIC BUILDING RESTORATION AND EDUCATION PROGRAMS
French Colonial America is pleased to announce the receipt of a major donation from St. Louis-area businessman and philanthropist, David T. Orthwein. Mr. Orthwein’s generous gift of $500,000. will be applied to renovation of the Beauvais/Linden House (now also called the Hands-on History House). A portion of the gift also will be used to support FCA’s innovative education activities including its living history and interactive learning programs for families, homeschoolers, school groups, and site visitors of all ages.
One of Ste. Genevieve’s many historic buildings, the Beauvais/Linden House owes its “Linden” popular name to a magnificent Linden tree that once stood on the property. With an early vertical log structure at its core, it has had several updates over the past 200 years, the most recent of which (about 50 years ago) was funded by Mrs. Harry B. Mathews, Jr. Today, it is called the “Hands-on History House,” reflecting its role as home to the experiential education programs offered to visitors young and old.
FCA Board President Tandy Thompson commented: “We are extremely grateful to Mr. Orthwein for this, his most recent and generous gift, as well as for his past support since FCA’s inception. Our historic buildings are all more that 200 years old and require special and on-going care. Mr. Orthwein’s appreciation of our efforts to experiment and develop innovative educational programming helps us to fulfill our mission by allowing us to expand our offerings. His support in these challenging times is especially reassuring and encouraging.”
Mr. Orthwein’s interests, in addition to FCA, include large-scale, sustainable agriculture in this region. He thoughtfully carries on his family’s longtime tradition of supporting a variety of institutions and organizations focused on education and healthcare.
Even as the renovation begins, the Hands-on House
will continue to offer programs, including our "Pay
what you wish" activities: from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM
every Saturday during May through September. Adults
and kids can enjoy seeing living history demonstrations
and taking part in interactive learning and art projects
Exhibits at the Centre for French Colonial Life
At the Centre for French Colonial Life museum facility we currently have the following special exhibits:
Augmenting The Evidence: Study Collections that Document Change in Everyday Life on the Creole Frontier. This newly reorganized exhibit features original artifacts, many of which have never been shown to the public before, from collections held by FCA, NSCDA/MO and various private collectors.
Saving St. Louis: The Ste. Genevieve Militia at the Battle of Ft. San Carlos. Discover the little known story of how in 1780 during the American Revolution, the British and their Native American allies attempted to take over Spanish-controlled St. Louis and American-controlled Cahokia. They were stopped by American and Spanish-led forces, including 60 French Creole militiamen from Ste. Genevieve, who made up a significant part of the small force defending St. Louis.
Exhibit elements of the Saving St. Louis" display,
which will be available for viewing through 2024
Admission to the Centre for French Colonial life is $5 for adults and $3 for children.
In addition, we offer historic house guided tours of the fully furnished late 18th century Bolduc House and the early 19th century LeMeilleur houses.
House Tour tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.
For more information, please contact the Centre for French Colonial Life at 573-883-3105. or view our facebook page by clicking the link below.
The campus of the Centre for French Colonial Life is owned and managed by French Colonial America, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to education, research, and preservation.
Starting in July - Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Sunday, from Noon to 4:00 PM
PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE CLOSED ON THANKSGIVING, CHRISTMAS EVE, CHRISTMAS DAY, NEW YEAR'S EVE AND NEW YEAR'S DAY, AND EASTER.