The Archaeology of Mardi Gras

Archaeology is the study of material culture, the “stuff” that humans make and use, and few celebrations create more stuff than Mardi Gras in New Orleans. This exhibit, created by students in TIDES 1425: The Archaeology of Mardi Gras, examines artifacts from the Tulane University archives related to the celebration of Mardi Gras past and present. Presenting a curated collection of artifacts related to four Mardi Gras Krewes—Rex, Zulu, Petronius, and Muses—the exhibit explores what we can learn about these often enigmatic and secretive groups from the objects created as part of their celebrations. Considering messages communicated both implicitly and explicitly, purposefully and inadvertently, the exhibit turns a particular eye towards the hierarchies of power that structure each organization as well as the city of New Orleans as a whole.

Curated By: TIDES 1425: The Archaeology of Mardi Gras


Acknowledgements: We thank the staff of Tulane's Howard-Tilton Memorial Library and in particular of the Special Collections, above all Agnieszka Czeblakow and Sean Knowlton. We also thank Mardi Gras World, the Backstreet Cultural Museum, and members past and present of the krewes we've studied this semester.

Exhibit Sections