Poverty Point National Monument | VISITOR CENTER

Poverty Point National Monument Visitor Center

Poverty Point National Monument Visitor Center

OPERATING HOURS

The Poverty Point National Monument Visitor Center is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM except when closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Keep in mind that times can always change, so before heading to the park be sure to get the latest schedule on the Poverty Point World Heritage Site website.

AMENITIES

  • Information desk where you can get a driving and walking tour booklet
  • Pay entrance fee
  • Park film
  • Museum
  • Restrooms (inside and outside)
  • Outdoor exhibits on the plaza

PARK FILM

A 12-minute film about Poverty Point shows on demand in the Visitor Center theater. The film covers the history of Poverty Point, its inclusion as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, and a rundown of what there is to see and do at the park. The film consists of illustrations and interviews with local archaeologists. There is no objectionable material.

MUSEUM

Poverty Point Museum at the Visitor Center

Poverty Point Museum at the Visitor Center

Most museums in the National Park system consist of information panels populated with historical photographs and illustrations, reproductions of newspaper headlines, and plenty of text to read. They might have a few actual artifacts. The museum at the Poverty Point Visitor Center has its share of such exhibits, but what sets it apart from most National Park Service museums is that it is full of artifacts. There is case after case with spear points, atlatl weights, beads, carved stone and clay figures, effigies, decorated clay and stone objects, fishing net plummets, and bone awls. There are tables with so many artifacts piled on them that they look like mass-produced plastic toys. And everything was found in the park. If you like prehistoric human artifacts, this is the place to be.

Cases of Poverty Point artifacts at the Poverty Point National Monument museum

Cases of Poverty Point artifacts at the Poverty Point National Monument museum

Collection of spear tips found at Poverty Point in Pioneer, Louisiana

Collection of spear tips found at Poverty Point in Pioneer, Louisiana

Collection of beads made at Poverty Point in Pioneer, Louisiana

Collection of beads made at Poverty Point in Pioneer, Louisiana

Figurines carved by the people of Poverty Point on display in the Poverty Point National Monument Visitor Center museum

Figurines carved at Poverty Point on display in the Poverty Point National Monument museum

Collection of decorative objects found at Poverty Point in Pioneer, Louisiana

Collection of decorative objects found at Poverty Point in Pioneer, Louisiana

The museum exhibits start by focusing on a bit of modern history. Jesse James and the James Gang lived in the area, and rumor has it that they hid out in a cabin by Mound A. Local residents claim some of Jesse’s gold is buried at Poverty Point, and past property owners have had to run off people who were digging for the gold.

Exhibit about Jesse James and his connection to Poverty Point

Exhibit about Jesse James and his connection to Poverty Point

Other topics in the museum include the building of the Poverty Point earthworks, other pre-historic mound complexes in Louisiana, the artifacts discovered at Poverty Point, everyday life at Poverty Point, and the huge trade goods industry centered at Poverty Point. Artisans imported rocks of all types from as far away as Iowa to create tools, hunting points, ornamental beads, and other decorative objects that were traded with neighboring people.

Exhibit at the Visitor Center museum at Poverty Point National Monument

Exhibit at the Visitor Center museum at Poverty Point National Monument

There is also a detailed timeline that covers the history of the Poverty Point area as far back as 10,000 BC.

Poverty Point area timeline exhibit at the Poverty Point National Monument museum

Poverty Point area timeline exhibit at the Poverty Point National Monument museum

OUTDOOR EXHIBITS

If you arrive before the Poverty Point Visitor Center opens and want to get a head start on learning about the archaeological site, there are eight information panels in the plaza. Restrooms are also located on the plaza.

Plaza in front of the Poverty Point National Monument Visitor Center

Plaza in front of the Poverty Point National Monument Visitor Center

SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

Allow 30 to 45 minutes to explore the Poverty Point National Monument Visitor Center. This gives you time to watch the park film—which should not be missed—and read through the information in the museum. The only other time you will spend at the Visitor Center is talking with a park Ranger about what there is to see and do at Poverty Point.

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Last updated on November 7, 2022
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