Hope & Healing: Celebrating 125 Years of Norton Children's Hospital
October 11, 2017 – February 4, 2018
The 4,200-square-foot exhibit explored how the hospital answered the call during many of Kentuckiana’s health crises, all the while shaping the evolution and innovation of care for children and families. The interactive exhibit dove deep into the archives to engage visitors in stories about the hospital’s historic and humble beginnings, including its first patient — 5-year-old Radford Duff, who was given a shot of whiskey before surgery because anesthesia was not yet available. Guests explored significant medical moments in Kentucky’s history as well as tragedies that brought patients to Norton Children’s Hospital for both care and hope, including the Great Flood of 1937 and the Carrollton bus crash of 1988. The hospital’s role in the Great Depression, World War II, polio epidemics and desegregation was also on display.
Guests also experienced what it was like to be a patient on an ambulance ride, explore a 3-D heart designed specifically for a local 14-month-old boy, see locally developed medical equipment now being used around the world and encountered tiny diapers designed for premature babies born smaller than the size of a soft-drink can. Museum visitors also had a glimpse at the real and surprising items kids swallowed (and the hospital removed) over the years. Visitors to “Hope and Healing: Celebrating 125 Years of Norton Children’s Hospital” were much more than just spectators. They were active participants in the hospital’s innovation and ingenuity. Click HERE to read more.
Nutcracker The Exhibition: 60 Years of Magic and Majesty
November 9, 2017 - February 1, 2018
For six decades the Louisville Ballet has given the community one of its most beloved holiday traditions: The Nutcracker Ballet. This year the Frazier Museum, where the world meets Kentucky, pays homage to this local take on a Russian classic with Nutcracker the Exhibition: 60 Years of Magic and Majesty. This one-of-a-kind exhibition featured a wide-ranging collection of items from Louisville Ballet Nutcracker productions of the past, primarily the 1983 and 1995 seasons, as well as the 2009 season, when it entered into a sponsorship with Brown-Forman.
The collection included original costumes; model boxes of the set; a prop owl perched on a grandfather clock; a bowing nutcracker on a garland-wrapped fireplace; and many more artifacts from the Ballet. A height chart on the wall let any child between 47” and 64” tall see which role they would play: an angel, a mouse, a party child, or a toy soldier; and a warm-up barre and two low vanities were installed nearby so that kids can simulate going backstage. There was also an illustrated timeline of Nutcracker Ballet with in-depth photographs and Courier-Journal clippings. The Nutcracker the Exhibition honored the history of the production and the dedicated dancers, costume designers, stage hands, lighting technicians, choreographers, musicians, conductors, and artistic directors who bring it to life every year. Click HERE to read more.
Spirits of the Bluegrass: Prohibition and Kentucky
October 29, 2018 - January 9, 2018.
Frazier President & CEO, Penny Peavler, officially opened the exhibition by breaking open the top of a bourbon barrel and pouring its contents onto the sidewalk such as was done more than nine decades ago. Prohibition and Kentucky brought the 1920’s to life & showed how millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans chose to violate the national alcohol ban to quench the country’s thirst for illegal booze. With two full sized bars, an event-ready Speakeasy with a lighted stage, and flapper dresses around every corner, Prohibition and Kentucky stood ready for a party. The exhibition traced the rise of the temperance movement, organized crime, and the repeal of the 18th Amendment in 1933, and took an in-depth look at America’s “Noble Experiment.” The Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) was the title sponsor for the exhibition. Click HERE to read more.
The Southern Exposition Lights up Metro Hall
August 20, 2015 - February 2, 2018
From operas to orchestras and livestock to light bulbs, Louisville’s Southern Exposition was spectacular in every way. As part of the Frazier History Museum’s partnership with Louisville Metro Government, visitors experienced The Southern Exposition exhibit was installed in the second floor rotunda of the old Jefferson County Courthouse.
The 1883 Southern Exhibition was illuminated by former Louisville resident Thomas Edison, who personally managed the installation of the recently invented incandescent light bulbs. The 4,600 bulbs used at the fair outnumbered the total number of bulbs in all of New York City at the time! The exhibition included many artifacts from the Southern exhibition, and a live recording of a young Louisville girl as she describes her experience of walking into the Southern Exposition for the very first time.
After the Exposition closed in 1887 the Satellites of Mercury tried to fill the void in an even more eclectic fashion from 1888 to 1892. With the help of The Filson Historical Society the Frazier History Museum brings both to Louisville’s Metro Hall.
The Hunger Games: The Exhibition
April 1, 2017 - September 10, 2017
The Hunger Games: The Exhibition invited visitors to step inside and explore the world of Panem as created in the films. More than one thousand authentic costumes and props, high-tech and hands-on interactives, and detailed set recreations revealed the amazing artistry and technology that brought the incredible story to life. Visitors followed Katniss Everdeen's inspirational journey, from her humble beginnings in District 12 to her emergence as the Mockingjay. The exhibition featured seven galleries including District 12, Tribute Train, The Capitol, Making the Games, District 13, Fan Gallery and Katniss’s Journey.
Highlights included iconic costumes from the films, such as the Girl on Fire dress, the Mockingjay dress and the Mockingjay armor; key artifacts including the Mockingjay pin, Cinna's sketchbook and Katniss's bow; and interactives, including an exploratory map of Panem, a gamemaker's control table, and a stunt choreography interactive
Saving Kentucky: Greening the Bluegrass
April, 2017 - August, 2017
A photographic celebration of the stories and places that make Kentucky so special. With photographs by Thomas Hart Shelby, a descendant of Kentucky's first governor, Isaac Shelby, and thoughtful text prepared by writer Sally Vanwinkle Campbell, a granddaughter of Pappy Vanwinkle, these engaging Kentucky stories leap off the page and into our hearts. From tenant farmers to urban revivalists, the Kentuckians portrayed in this exhibit had one thing in common: a deep connection to their heritage and a fierce determination to preserve it for future generations. The photographs present a call to each of us to embrace the future with hope, and most of all, imagination, even as we hold tight to the past. Featuring stories from Lucille Carloftus in Livingston, Nancy Newsom Mahaffey in Caldwell County, the Mattingly Family of Barren County, Kentucky, Saving Kentucky presents a sampling of what makes Kentucky so unique.
100 Great Courier-Journal Photograph
January 27th - March 7th 2017
They are the images that have moved readers to action, to laughter, to celebration and to tears. In its 150 year history, Louisville’s Courier-Journal photographers have gone to great lengths to capture the beautiful, the tragic and the controversial moments of life in our region. These snap-shots took visitors through time-and-place and displayed in crystal clarity that a picture is, indeed, worth a-thousand words.
From President L.B.J. to M.L.K., from Presidents Kennedy, Nixon and Ford to the K.K.K., Kentucky has at times existed in the cross-hairs of political discourse with free-speech being tested every step of the way. Through the years the lenses of award-winning C-J photographers have sharpened their focus on some of the biggest stars of the 20th century: Babe Ruth, Elvis, Pope John Paul II, Muhammad Ali, James Brown, Bob Hope, Mother Teresa and Mikhail Baryshnikov were just a few of the titans showcased among the 100 images.
Personal Stories of Pearl Harbor
November 11, 2016 - February 21, 2017
A Morning That Changed the World: Personal Stories of Pearl Harbor commemorated the 75th anniversary of the attack on the United States, featuring the Rex Knight Collection of letters, photographs, and mementos from both servicemen and civilians who experienced the events that took place on December 7th, 1941. The immersive, thought-provoking exhibition delved into the fateful event and the aftermath that followed, showcasing American life during the involvement of World War II with stories told by the people who lived through this historical time.
The exhibit also featured an exploration of the events that took place on September 11, 2001, the next attack on the United States, marked with the words of Mark Twain, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes."
The exhibit opening took place on Veteran's Day, November 11, 2016, with a ribbon cutting led by Louisville native and Pearl Harbor survivor Grand Marshal Charles Hocker and collector Rex Knight, with special recognition of Tuskegee Airman Frank Weaver.
Kentucky By Design
August 4, 2016 - February 12, 2017
Kentucky by Design celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Federal Art Project’s Index of American Design, which was part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration/Federal Art Project during the Great Depression. Over 400 artists, including many Kentuckians, were provided work documenting the American material culture of the 1800s in watercolor renderings. Beyond providing employment to artists, the purpose of the Index was to determine if there was a uniquely American design in the objects produced by American artisans.
Kentucky by Design featured over 85 original and facsimile watercolor renderings, paired with the actual objects and artworks depicted. The exhibit examined the themes of Nation-building in the context of defining American art and craft without dependence on European traditions; the challenges of merging local cultural traditions into an expression of national identity; the overarching optimism of the New Deal in the face of the Great Depression; and the significance of the inclusion of items from Kentucky’s two Shaker communities whose designs impacted American and International Modernism.
White Christmas: The Exhibition
November 17 - January 8, 2017
Back by popular demand, White Christmas: The Exhibition was on display during the 2016-2017 holiday season! Featuring costumes, posters, and memorabilia from the 1954 classic film starring Kentucky's own Rosemary Clooney, along with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen. On loan from the Rosemary Clooney House in Augusta, KY, the exhibit included authentic props from the film with several costumes — including the blue dresses Clooney and Ellen wore as they sang “Sisters” – Visitors were treated to the stories behind the objects and characters of White Christmas.
First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare
November 10 - December 11, 2016
The First Folio, published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death, is the first collected edition of his plays, many of which were not published during his lifetime. Two of Shakespeare’s fellow actors compiled 36 of his plays, hoping to preserve them for future generations. Without it, we would not have 18 of Shakespeare’s plays, including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Antony and Cleopatra, The Comedy of Errors, and As You Like It. All 18 appear for the first time in print in the First Folio, and would otherwise have been lost.
Of the 750 original printed copies of the First Folio, only 235 are known to still exist, 82 of which are in the Folger Shakespeare Library collection. In 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, the Folger has mounted a national traveling exhibition, bringing this important volume to one venue in each state, for one month.
Julius Friedman: Fifty Year Retrospective
June 23, 2016 - October 9, 2016
The exhibit, Julius Friedman: Fifty Year Retrospective, is a celebration of life and will feature the iconic posters that have become a part of the international arts and culture community, including “Toe on Egg,” his famous Louisville Ballet poster of a dancer's shoe balanced on an egg, and his “Fresh Paint” poster, featuring three egg yolks in the primary colors. The multi-sensory exhibit, inspired by the movement and emotion of nature, will provide visitors a visual, audio and tactile experience that delves into the mind of Friedman.
The cutting edge photographer says Julius Friedman: Fifty Year Retrospective will be much more than art on a wall. The multi-media exhibit promises to uncover some of Friedman’s inspirations in creating the images that are now recognized around the world. Fifty Year Retrospective will also break new ground with a contemporary show featuring photographs of life and the natural world never seen before, from the perspective of one of the arts most discerning eyes. Visitors to Fifty Year Retrospective will also see Friedman challenge conventional backdrops like paper and canvas as he presents new photography on aluminum and cloth.
Thomas Merton: A Familiar Stranger
January 3-11, 2016 - May 29, 2016
Visitors will learn more about Merton’s 27 years as a Trappist Monk at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey, near Bardstown, Kentucky, and his epiphany at 4th and Walnut streets in Louisville. It was March 18th of 1958 when Merton redefined himself with a greater focus on social justice:
“I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers….There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.” - Thomas Merton.
The exhibit will display photographs taken by Merton himself, photographs of the spiritual leader taken by Kentucky photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and photographs taken by Courier-Journal photographers during the civil rights movement in Louisville. Also on display will be artifacts and personal clothing, including a jean jacket, robes and monastic wear. Visitors will read correspondence between Merton and Coretta Scott King and hear voice recordings of Merton speaking about Martin Luther King, Jr’s death.
Hometown History Series
The Power of Persuasion: 100 Years of Doe-Anderson
August 1, 2015 - February 14, 2016
The Frazier History Museum kicks off its new Hometown History Series with a retrospective on the unprecedented 100-year span of one of Louisville’s most prestigious companies, Doe-Anderson. The Power of Persuasion: 100 Years of Doe-Anderson traces the creative company’s history of serving as successful strategists and communicators for a long list of who’s who in local, regional and national clients. Click here to learn more...
Holidays Around The World
November 27, 2015 - January 3, 2016
Holidays Around the World is a visually-stunning, multi-cultural tree display that celebrates holiday traditions found throughout Louisville’s diverse communities. It ranges from trees decorated as they would be in countries that observe Christmas, to cultural displays showcasing other holidays observed around the globe throughout the year.
Presented by VisionWorks, LLC
Love, Shirley Temple
July 3 - 8, 2015
Celebrating America’s Little Darling, this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition will feature movie costumes, dolls, and childhood memorabilia from the personal archives of the iconic actress Shirley Temple. Comprised of over 200 pieces, the exhibit will span her rise to stardom in 1930, the Depression years, and the end of her childhood in 1941. This unique exhibit is a personal look into the life and work of the world’s most famous child actress. All of this is included in the cost of general admission!
Theriault’s, the world’s auction leader for important childhood objects and sponsor of the show, has selected the Frazier to be the only museum in the Midwest to show this special exhibit on its national tour!
British Royal Armouries USA, 3rd Floor
Opening Day 2004 - January 2015
This collection tells the story of over 1,000 years of British and European history, from pre-Roman Britain through the Middle Ages to the end of the British Empire. The culture and conflicts of these developing nations are brought to life via life-like tableaux and rare artifacts, including intricate armor worn by knights and the arrows, swords and muskets that forged an empire. The Frazier Museum had the distinct honor of being the only location outside Great Britain to house a Royal Armouries collection.
The British Royal Amouries collection had been on loan to the Frazier Museum, since it opened in 2004. Over the years, the Frazier Museum began to change directions, trending towards local and United States history and larger, temporary exhibitions, and in January 2015 the Royal Armouries collection was returned to Great Britain. The third floor space, partial occupied by the Royal Armouries collection, will be reconfigured allowing the museum to significantly re-interpret and display more of its permanent collections and temporary exhibitions.
My Brother, My Enemy: The Civil War in Kentucky
February 14 - May 17, 2015
Back by popular demand, and to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the Frazier Museum presents My Brother, My Enemy: The Civil War in Kentucky. This exhibition explores the fracturing of Kentucky’s families and communities as social and political issues gradually eroded the Union in the decades preceding the outbreak of the Civil War.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous: Art, Fashion, and Luxury in the Gilded Age
October 4, 2014 - February 1, 2015
Lifestyles presents the spirit and material culture of the Gilded Age (ca. 1870-1915) through the era’s most iconic artwork and objects. Fashionable dresses and accessories, American Impressionist paintings, and luxury products from the period are among the items featured in the exhibition.
Thank you to our sponsors: Architectural Salvage, Bittners and Rodes.
Irving Berlin's White Christmas, The Exhibit
November 15, 2014 - January 11, 2015
A Hollywood classic and everyone’s favorite holiday movie, White Christmas features costumes and memorabilia on loan from the Rosemary Clooney House, in Augusta, Kentucky. Generations have considered White Christmas the quintessential holiday movie, and now visitors can view authentic items from the movie starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen.
Thank you to our sponsor: PNC Wealth Management
Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
April 19 - August 31, 2014
The Pro Football Hall of Fame, as part of its 50th Anniversary celebration, is currently touring the largest traveling exhibition in its history – Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 5,000 square-foot exhibit features hundreds of artifacts from the Hall of Fame’s collection and captures the essence of the Hall of Fame experience. Many of the artifacts are being exhibited for the first time.
Long May She Wave
February 22 - July 6, 2014
Among the most recognizable icons in the world today, the American flag has enjoyed a long history of graphic renderings and artistic re-interpretations. Although the Continental Congress agreed in 1777 that the United States flag should be comprised of stars and stripes in red, white, and blue, more than a century passed without formal design regulations, yielding a wealth of exuberant and unbridled creative manifestations of the national banner.
Thank you to our sponsor: Bosse Mattingly
The Eye of Napoléon
October 19, 2013 - March 2, 2014
The Eye of Napoléon examines Napoléon Bonaparte’s extraordinary influence on the creative arts. Objects he used and gave as gifts, as well as more than 200 works of art and craftsmanship are part of the display. Guests will experience a collection of his family’s silver, gold, glassware, porcelain, fine furniture, jewels and elegantly-bound books. Documents and clothing from the period, including a very rare hat that belonged to the emperor himself, and fine fabrics ordered for his imperial palaces complete this decadent exhibition.
Hugh Haynie: The Art of Opinion
November 9, 2013 - January 26, 2014
From the moon landing to Watergate, political cartoonist Hugh Haynie’s illustrated cartoons brought hard-hitting political commentary into Louisville households for nearly three decades. Readers recognized Haynie’s cartoons in a unique way, which increased awareness and understanding of the nation’s most controversial issues in the golden era of journalism.
May 11, 2013 - September 15, 2013
“Mythic Creatures” will take guests on a fantastic journey to discover the origins of dragons, unicorns, mermaid and other folkloric creatures that have fascinated humans for centuries. For thousands of years, sometimes inspired by living animals or even fossils, we’ve have brought mythic creatures to life in stories, songs and artwork. Today, these creatures — from the powerful dragon to the soaring phoenix — continue to thrill, terrify, entertain and inspire us. This exhibition was produced by the American Museum of Natural History.
Spirits of the Passage: The Story of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
February 2 - June 16, 2013
The human spirit can never be enslaved. One of the most powerful and important exhibitions the Frazier History Museum has ever displayed. “Spirits of the Passage: The Story of the Transatlantic Slave Trade” explored the power of the human spirit through a display of nearly 150 historical objects covering more than 350 years.
Behind Enemy Lines: Evasion and Escape Aids of World War II
March 2 - April 14, 2013
Lost in enemy territory, your best chance of survival fit in your pocket. Soldiers forced down in enemy territory during World War II carried a secret weapon unlike anything seen before—evasion and escape aids. See the top-secret gadgets, maps and survival kits that kept soldiers alive behind enemy lines.This exhibition was guest curated by R. E. Baldwin, author of “Last Hope: The Blood Chit Story.”
Diana: A Celebration
September 15, 2012 - January 13, 2013
Guests get a glimpse of the life and humanitarian work of one of the most remarkable women of the 20th Century. The exhibition features more than 150 personal items belonging to Diana, Princess of Wales, including her royal wedding gown, 28 designer dresses, priceless jewels, rare home movies and personal mementos.
Top Drawer: 150 Years of Bittners
November 17, 2012 - January 1, 2013
Guests experienced the old world craftsmanship of handmade furniture through the 18th and 19th centuries through “Top Drawer,” a 4,000 sq. ft. exhibition that explored how a German immigrant’s custom cabinet shop became not only a Louisville tradition, but also a nationally-renowned design firm. Exquisite American, English and Continental furniture inspired by great monarchs and makers were featured, as well as the story of how the political, cultural and social forces of these periods inspired the aesthetic of our homes. Fine antiques from around the world and master-crafted pieces produced by the Bittners custom shop were part of this fantastic display.
May 12, 2012 – September 30, 2012
Samurai were as artistic and philosophical as they were dangerous. Museum guests unlocked the mysteries of the ancient samurai by exploring this an epic display of myth-busting secrets, exquisite artifacts and interactive features related to the mysterious, and misunderstood, Samurai culture.
Civil War: My Brother, My Enemy
October 15, 2011 – April 7, 2012
The War Between the States pitted brother against brother. In Kentucky, family lines were often the battle lines.
October 23, 2010 - May 1, 2011
Immerse yourself in Louisville Water Company’s fascinating 150-year history of innovation and public service. You’ll follow Louisville’s progress from a city so infamous for unsafe water it was nicknamed the “Graveyard of the West,” to its receiving the award for “Best Tasting Tap Water in the Country” by the American Water Works Association. This interactive experience features video and memorabilia, including photographs, original architectural renderings and much more. So, come and see why Louisville’s greatest legacy may not be who runs in the Derby, but what runs out your tap.
The Good. The Bad. The Cuddly.
November 20, 2010 - March 27, 2011
The exhibit features toys and art from the popular Toy Story movie trilogy, along with other movie and TV inspired toys from the past 100 years. Produced by the Frazier Museum and presented by Mountjoy Chilton Medley, “The Good. The Bad. The Cuddly.” examines the playthings that have entertained generations past through a vast collection of classic toys from regional collectors and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.
May 15 – September 7, 2010
They lived by their own rules, and died by them. And three hundred years after their golden age, we remain captivated by pirates. Come aboard and explore centuries of pirate legends and lore from all over the globe. ”Pirates: Treasure & Treachery” was a thrilling interactive exhibit that offered an unparalleled look at life under the infamous black flag.
WWII: 48 Stories That Changed the World
October 10, 2009 – March 28, 2010
“We did what we had to do.” The larger story of World War II is made up of millions of individual accounts of sacrifice, adventure and survival. Hear the personal stories of 48 men and women from our area, in their own voices, as we explore this defining event in world history from a local point of view.
May 15 – September 8, 2009
From the carousel to the controversy, Fontaine Ferry holds a special place in Louisville history. First kisses atop the Ferris wheel, first pony rides, picnics under the white-washed trees, afternoons spent at the roller rink. Talk to any number of people who visited Fontaine Ferry Park and you’ll find that nostalgia and memories abound.