Our Mission

To collect, preserve, and share the significant history and culture of Kentucky and the Ohio Valley.

Our Values

The Filson is committed to the work of Preservation, Access, and Education. It pursues ever greater Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Its operations are characterized by Excellence, Service, and Integrity.

Our Vision

To be a nationally preeminent historical society that inspires its communities to build a stronger present and future through learning from their past

Strategic Goals (2022-2024)

Expand relationships with marginalized and historically underrepresented communities which leverage Filson collections, programs, and resources to meet community-identified needs

  • Build community relationships and financial support for permanent African American Collections Program, led by a dedicated curator
  • Bring Native American collection into compliance with NAGPRA and invite Native perspectives into Filson publications, programs, and exhibits
  • Leverage Community History Fellows Program to develop and publicize new models of organizational partnership and shared interpretative authority
  • Build and promote programming with traditionally under-represented audiences to increase the number and diversity of patrons that participate in events. Construct programs that are more accessible for teachers, families, and younger audiences

Step into our role as an institution that addresses contemporary community needs through increased access to collections and programs

  • Continue to grow the Filson’s collections in ways that anticipate and support research and community conversations
  • Protect digital assets from decay and cyberattack
  • Leverage grant-funded projects to explore greater investment in and utilization of digital collections platforms such as Omeka, PastPerfect, and FromThePage
  • Expand interdepartmental coordination to engage the public in collections interpretation and collections stewardship awareness through social media
  • Build engagement through Zoom technology to deliver programs and eliminate geographic boundaries to continue serving individuals in different states and countries
  • Explore ways to make in-person archival research more accessible and meaningful to wider audiences

Build on the Filson’s financial strength, growing endowment resources and balancing budgets

  • Revitalize and actively promote the Thruston Legacy Circle
  • Increase the endowment to help support new and ongoing programs
  • Endow key existing activities such as GPB lecture series
  • Generate sufficient funds so that the Filson can continue to grow profitably
  • Adopt a target ratio between gift income and endowment distribution
  • Encourage multi-year giving, exploring a subscription model of membership and support along with capital-campaign style gifts
  • Secure right of first refusal or other advantageous position on adjoining properties or other locations that will enable the Filson to grow in ways that fit its strategic needs after the end of this plan
  • Strategically invest Filson resources in relationships with the community to encourage new audiences to engage actively with history and address contemporary needs
  • Leverage the connections of Filson board members to identify new members and supporters
  • Increase cooperation between Collections and Development teams to identify potential financial supporters and projects that lend themselves to grant and directed fund requests (ex. Create Adopt an Artifact program)

Increase community visibility as a resource for authoritative knowledge and perspectives, which are necessary for future growth

  • Get members and new visitors safely and successfully back into the facilities in 2022, via a mixture of in-person and online access
  • Develop a marketing strategy that matches the needs of key audiences with the strengths and capabilities of the Filson, particularly focusing on marginalized and historically underrepresented communities
  • Create and sustain a robust marketing program that consistently promotes The Filson’s brand and publicizes our programs and collections using print, radio, TV, the internet, and social media
  • Engage in the building, in classrooms, and online with educators and students in history and related disciplines at all levels
  • Work with business, elected, and community leaders to use the past to frame current issues and future solutions
  • Expand membership through strategic programs that address the needs and challenges of specific underrepresented communities

Expand on current strengths of highly competent and effective leadership team and professional staff

  • Continue to foster a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace through hiring decisions, board and staff training, and internal policy revision
  • Focus on staff development and evolution in leadership and other key areas
  • Address strategic priorities with new positions, as needs arise