In an area of the South long known for its tourist-popular restored plantations, one of them stands out. The meticulously restored Whitney Plantation, located 35 miles west of New Orleans in the small town of Wallace, has the mandatory Big House, but the visit there is not about hooped skirts and mint juleps. It is about slavery and the slaves who once worked the surrounding sugar cane fields and made the owners wealthy.

Privately owned by New Orleans trial lawyer and real estate magnate John Cummings, the museum opened in December. In the planning and building stage for about 15 years at the cost of more than $8 million, Cummings is still adding memorials to the 250 acre spread.

He told free-lance writer David Amsden whose article on the unusual museum appeared in the New York Times, that he didn’t do it to make money, but rather to expose visitors to the much-avoided subject of slavery in America.

Cummings became interested in slavery when he purchased the Whitney Plantation and inherited an eight-volume history of the property commissioned by the former owner who had plans to build a $7 million rayon factory there in 1991. The study was meant to document the historic part of the property so that it could be sliced off for a token museum of Creole culture to appease preservationists while the factory would occupy the rest of the land. Neither happened and Cummings bought the place with no particular plans for it.

In reading that exhaustive survey of the land, Cummings became interested not in the architecture and history of the buildings but in who had built them and who worked the fields. He went on to read everything he could find on slavery.

On the grounds of the museum, Cummings has built several memorials to honor the plantation slaves, including one of Italian marble that has the names of 354 men, women and children who worked there.

Another is a slave-built church he found and moved to the grounds. Inside, a visitor encounters dozens of ghostly sculptures of child slaves meant to represent the men and women who were interviewed for the Slave Narratives recorded in the 1930s, part of the Federal Writers Project, some 70 years after emancipation. Cummings has made use of those audio histories in his presentation of the slave quarters.

Guided tours of the plantation are available six days a week. The $22 admission ticket may be purchased in advance and includes the 1790 plantation house, the historic church building, the slave quarters, the slave jail and the grounds.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the cost of the museum and the size of the property. It has been corrected.