On March 3, 2018, the West Baton Rouge Museum will open a new exhibition entitled Fait à la Main: The Acadian Handicraft Project. This exhibit will feature traditional Acadian handiwork such as brown cotton-woven textiles, hand sewing, and wood crafts created by Louisiana artisans who participated in the handicraft project. Crafts produced by modern artisans will also be featured to show how Acadian traditions are being kept alive today.
The Acadian Handicraft Project began in 1942 and was based at Louisiana State University. Its purpose was to support French language and culture in Louisiana. Field representative Louise Olivier traveled the state purchasing crafts, mostly textiles, from Acadians and marketed them for sale. The project provided a sales outlet and source of income to Acadian women who had not previously worked outside the home, as well as encouraged craftspeople to continue the traditions involved in creating these pieces. Mrs. Olivier worked with internationally known writers and magazines, providing them material about Acadian culture that would help to promote the Acadian Handicraft Project. The Acadian Handicraft Project was at the height of its popularity in 1962 when Louise Olivier passed away, but the seeds for CODOFIL, the Council for Development of French in Louisiana, were planted and the traditions of Acadian craftwork were preserved. This exhibit is based on research conducted by the LSU Textile and Costume Museum and runs through August 5, 2018.