The Woman’s Exchange (TWE), parent organization of the Hermann-Grima and Gallier Historic Houses, was founded in 1881 to help “women in need.” The Woman’s Exchange is one of the oldest continually run non-profit owned and operated by women. In 1924, TWE purchased the property at 820 St. Louis Street (later named the Hermann-Grima House), opened a consignment shop, and rented rooms to single women to live in a chaperoned environment. In the late 1960s, TWE changed the focus of its mission to one of preservation and education by transforming the house into a museum dedicated to illustrating life in the “Golden Age” of New Orleans. The museum opened its doors in 1971.
To further its mission in 1996, the organization took the bold step of acquiring the home of renowned architect James Gallier, Jr. from Tulane University, thereby ensuring the continued operation of this important house museum. With the acquisition of the Gallier House, TWE became the only non-profit organization in New Orleans owning and operating two historic houses. As a 501-c3 non-profit, these properties are dependent on the public for financial support through self-generated funds and contributions. Both house museums had been separately accredited by the American Association of Museums; in 1997, the Hermann-Grima House and the Gallier House received accreditation as one institution.