Our Mission

The Filson's mission is to collect, preserve, and tell the significant stories of Kentucky and Ohio Valley history and culture.

Strategic Objectives

The vision of The Filson Historical Society is to: (1) cultivate a priceless source of information about the Ohio Valley region's history and culture, outlining a new geographic area worthy of study similar to the Midwest, Great Plains, or Upper South; (2) become a gathering place for scholars to research and document this history and culture; (3) become an integral part of Louisville's strong cultural and arts sector.

The Society's mission, as the region's pre-eminent member-based historical society, is to collect, preserve, and tell the significant stories of Kentucky and Ohio Valley history and culture.

However, the goals of The Filson go beyond preservation, interpretation, and access of historical documents.  The Society helps every U.S. citizen personally connect with the history of the region and understand its influence on who they are today and who they will become, what our nation is today and what it is to become.  These personal experiences with history promote lifelong learning and transform members of the general public into individuals with a passion for historical inquiry.

The Filson Historical Society: (1) provides access to history through its Museum, Library, and Special Collections; (2) educates through its nationally recognized  educational programs, events and publications; (3) advances history through its K-12 school programs, The Filson Institute, and national and international fellowships and internships; and (4) advocates for the discussion of history in community settings and in relation to current events.

As an advocate for history, The Filson challenges us to remember past experience, and, with that knowledge, make better decisions and become better citizens.

By documenting and celebrating the unique history of Kentucky and the Ohio Valley (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Pennsylvania) , The Filson cultivates civic pride, strong communities, and good citizens.

The Filson Historical Society designs its programs to appeal to five population segments: (1) local, national and international scholars performing research with the intent of sharing it with a larger audience, such as an institution of higher learning, historical society, or museum; (2) researchers performing research for a narrow audience, such as their own family, with no intent on publishing their findings; (3) individuals with an active interest in history who read historical books and join historical societies; (4) individuals that are aware of and value history as a collective memory for the community; and (5) members of the general public that are engaged in the cultural life of Louisville and the Ohio Valley but demonstrate a limited interest in history.

The Filson recently opened its renovated campus and newly constructed Owsley Brown II History Center in October 2016.