The National Hansen's Disease Museum

Carville is the national museum honoring leprosy patients—once quarantined on site—and the medical staff who cared for them and made medical history. The museum collects, preserves and interprets medical and cultural artifacts to inform and educate the public about Hansen’s disease (leprosy).

Supporting the National Hansen's Disease Program (NHDP), the museum:

  • Interprets the history, treatment and rehabilitation of leprosy in the US,
  • Honors those who lived at the national leprosarium as patients, and
  • Celebrates health care professionals who made medical history as they battled leprosy.

Plan your visit.

Exhibits & Collections

Collections and exhibits span the history of Hansen’s disease treatment in the United States.

Some of our major exhibits and collections include:

  • Medical Adaptations & Treatment
  • Laboratory Research
  • Patients’ Stories & Advocacy
  • Carville Culture: Organizations, Activities & Entertainment
  • Federal Civil Service Employees
  • Hansen’s Disease Ready Reference

The Daughters of Charity Collection – Correspondence, publications, photographs, diaries and newspaper clippings compiled by the Sisters to document their mission.

The United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Collection – Includes the history of the treatment, care and rehabilitation of leprosy by the federal government at the Carville Historic District.

Resources for Educators and Researchers

For Educators

Our tours explain how patients with Hansen’s disease (leprosy) were affected in a social as well as a physical way. Students can gain an understanding of how people with physical disabilities live. We discuss the concepts of diversity, quarantine and stigma.

Send us an email or call 225-642-1950 to arrange your school’s visit.

Note the following:

  • One month's advanced planning required
  • Maximum 1 (one) school bus or 50 (fifty) students per day
  • One adult chaperone per 10 children

You may reserve a date up to six months in advance. Pre/post tour lesson plans available.

For Researchers

The museum and archives, has and continues to, host research projects which become academic papers, books, documentaries, family histories, and science and social studies projects.

Looking to conduct and present your research?

Complete a User Registration Form and contact the curator to discuss your project and reserve research time.

Listen to the Podcasts

Stories from the Leprosarium

Listen to Stories from the Leprosarium, and learn about the Hansen’s disease (leprosy) quarantine hospital in Carville, Louisiana.

Introduction to the Museum: How and Why It All Came Together

Museum curator Elizabeth Schexnyder tells the backstory of the artifacts and shares the anecdotes about the lives of the patients and staff at the national leprosy hospital.

Play/Download the Podcast (MP3 - 9.9 MB)

Download the Transcript (PDF - 338 KB)

Patients’ Life Exhibit: What Was a Life of Medical Quarantine Like?

Patients come to life in a walk-through of the museum exhibits. Community life, including the celebration of holidays, and clubs and sports, are explored.

Play/Download the Podcast (MP3 - 12.8 MB)

Download the Transcript (PDF - 244 KB)

Medical Artifacts: What Made the Hospital Run?

Learn about leprosy, today called Hansen’s disease, and why Carville was chosen as the quarantine site for anyone diagnosed with leprosy in the US.

Play/Download the Podcast (MP3 - 13 MB)

Download the Transcript (PDF - 387 KB)

Date Last Reviewed:  June 2019

National Hansen's Disease (Leprosy) Program

Caring & Curing Since 1894


Elizabeth Schexnyder


Manequins in military clothing


Did You Know?

In 1992, the National Park Service placed the Carville Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. Also referred to as the Gillis W. Long Center (GWLC), the museum is one of seven Louisiana National Guard Installations statewide.