Burden Museum and Gardens offers 440 acres of green space located in the heart of Baton Rouge. It consists of the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens, Windrush Gardens and the Rural Life Museum. The property was owned by the Burden family from the mid 1800s and donated to the LSU System in 1966. The donors were Steele Burden, former landscaper for the LSU Campus; his sister, lone Burden, former assistant dean of women at LSU; and Mrs. Jeanette Burden, widow of their brother, Pike Burden.
The Burden family stipulated in the act of donation that the property be used for horticultural, agronomic and environmental research and extension, development of the Rural Life Museum, and as a green space for the community and visitors to enjoy. The Burden Foundation was formed to ensure basic compliance with the intent of the donation and provide monetary support to the facility.
The Botanic Gardens supports a wide array of research and extension projects relating to agronomy, soil and environmental sciences, turfgrass, vegetable crops, fruit crops, ornamentals, landscaping, home gardening and wetlands. It is also responsible for historic Windrush Gardens. Botanic Gardens' amenities include the lone Burden Conference Center, the Steele Burden Memorial Orangerie, Burden Pavilion, All-America Selections Trials, Children's Garden, Tropical Garden, Herb Garden, Rose Garden, Stone Camellia Collection, Burden Woods, Trees and Trails, Barton Arboretum and the Black Swamp.
LSU A&M, also in Baton Rouge, is responsible for the development of the LSU Rural Life Museum at Burden and the 26 acres of land it occupies. The LSU Rural Life Museum represents the 1800's and early 1900's plantation era in Louisiana history.