Browse Exhibits (7 total)

Breaking the Mold: Sculptor Enid Yandell


October 2019 marks the 150th birthday of Louisville-born and nationally-renowned sculptor Enid Yandell (1869-1934), known for the figure of Pan on Hogan’s Fountain and the Daniel Boone statue, both in Cherokee Park. In this celebratory exhibit, the Filson examines how Enid broke the mold that society and the art establishment imposed on women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by pursuing a career as a sculptor. The materials in this exhibit come from the Filson Historical Society's Special Collections and represent a sampling of Enid's life as a sculptor and activist.

Butchertown: A Notable Louisville Neighborhood

Originally Louisville's meatpacking district, butcher shops dominated the area in the 1800s. Today, the neighborhood is home to a number of restaurants, bars, a distillery, and more, along with unique shotgun style houses. 

The Notable Neighborhoods Series from the Filson Historical Society is designed to connect people with history in a meaningful way and to highlight resources available at the Filson.  This small gallery features maps, photographs, and other historic material from the Filson's special collections.

Continuity of Care: Transforming Jewish Hospital for Modern Louisville, 1945-1980

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Jewish Hospital opened in 1905 as a charitable institution with a joint mission of patient care and education. Funded entirely by Louisville’s Jewish community, it provided culturally sensitive treatment to new Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, as well as training and practice opportunities for aspiring Jewish doctors facing professional restrictions. Forty years later at the end of World War II, Jewish Hospital made a major leap: leaving its original Kentucky and Floyd Street location for a state-of-the-art new facility in the heart of Louisville.  

OUR GOAL IS A NEW JEWISH HOSPITAL,” wrote Jewish Hospital Board President Milton Trost in 1945.  “It is our only expression of providing the city of Louisville with an institution dedicated to service for all religions and citizens. The expanded and thoroughly modernized Jewish Hospital opened on Chestnut Street and Brooks in the winter of 1955. By 1980 it had become a nationally renowned multi-specialty medical center. These decades were full of challenges and growth as the hospital worked to uphold its original mission amid major social, economic, and medical changes.

Geneva H. Bell Textile Collection

The textiles of Geneva Howard Bell (1905-2013) became a part of The Filson’s museum collection in mid-2015. Geneva was the wife of Dr. Jesse B. Bell, a nationally-recognized physician and prominent figure in Kentucky’s African American community. Dr. Bell was the first African American physician to practice at Jewish Hospital in Louisville. Both Geneva and Dr. Bell worked tirelessly to improve health and education for Kentucky children. Geneva was an active member of Mount Lebanon Missionary Baptist Church and a teacher in the Louisville Public School System.

The collection consists of twenty-eight pieces varying from shift dresses to hats, accessories and outerwear. The items represent fashions from the 1960s-80s and are a wonderful compliment to the Jesse B. Bell Photograph Collection (006PC5); Jesse Bennett Bell (1904-1998) Papers, 1924-1998 (Mss. A B433 1-21); and the Dr. Bell portrait (1999.13.1). The textiles were processed in May 2015 by Filson volunteer and museum professional Jennifer Spence.

The following gallery highlights only a portion of the collection; researchers may visit The Filson and view the remaining items digitally through PastPerfect, The Filson’s museum software database.

Louisville, City in Transition


Ivey W. Cousins captured streetscapes and buildings in downtown Louisville from Broadway north to the Ohio River and the residential district of Third and Fourth Streets in Old Louisville in 1959. During an era of transition with urban renewal in full swing, construction of expressways, and the expansion of the downtown medical complex—Cousins documented many of the buildings and streetscapes lost to history.

Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance, Co.


Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance, Co. (1915-1992) was one of the largest Black-owned and operated companies in Kentucky's history. Four individuals founded Mammoth Life during the "Golden Age of Black Business" in Louisville, Kentucky: B.O. Wilkerson, Rochelle I. Smith, William H. Wright, and Henry E. Hall. By 1928, Mammoth Life opened district offices in seven neighboring states: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. The corporation was central to the Black community for decades, especially during the height of racial segregation. In 1992, Atlanta Life Insurance brought out Mammoth Life, another Black-owned business headquartered in Georgia. By 1994, Atlanta Life closed down the flagship Louisville district office. This digital exhibit pairs together black and white photographs, newspaper clippings, and pastel portraits of former presidents to explore the history of Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance, Co.


The 1890 Tornado

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This year marks the 130th anniversary of one of the most devastating natural disasters in Louisville's history. On March 27, 1890, a massive tornado tore across downtown Louisville, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The storm hit at 8:30 p.m. and lasted only about five minutes, but it nonetheless leveled homes and businesses, destroying warehouses, churches, and the railroad station. One hundred people were killed and at least 55 were injured.

The tornado's path was so localized in the West End of the city that many Louisville residents were unaware of the disaster until they read the next morning's Courier-Journal headline: “Louisville visited by the storm demon.” 

This exhibit shares images of the tornado's aftermath from the Filson's photograph and print collections. Prominently, it includes W. Stuber & Brothers' "Tornado Views," a series of photos that show 28 views of Louisville immediately following the disaster.