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 (2018-2023)

Starting in 1884, the Filson Historical Society was established to collect, preserve and tell the significant stories of Kentucky and Ohio Valley history and culture. It continues to focus on that mission while now also evolving as an organization to meet the emerging needs of our community.

Over the past fifteen years, the Filson has enjoyed significant transformation while remaining grounded in areas of established strength. The Filson’s unique and broad collection, long and positive standing in the community, strong financial management, and endowment are the core of its strengths. Added to these important attributes is a reputation for excellence in facilitating, funding, publishing, and promoting academic research, which gives the institution a position of distinction and uniqueness both regionally and nationally. Further, the Filson has a talented, energetic staff, many holding advanced degrees in fields including academic research, library and information science, and museum and curatorial studies. With the renovated Ferguson Mansion and Owsley Brown II History Center as well as efficiency-seeking changes in Board governance and management reorganization, the Filson is now positioned for a strong, prosperous future.

Today, the Filson plays an important role for our community as a guardian of our past experiences and historical knowledge. It reminds us of the importance of remembering our past; with the use of relevant history, we allow ourselves the opportunity to make clearer and better decisions. The Filson plays an important role in creating a stronger regional identity and engendering a more tangible sense of place for both new and lifelong residents of our community. A well-defined identity and sense of place make it possible for us to pass on our values from one generation to the next; they unite communities, cultivate civic pride and good citizenship, and help us as citizens—as well as the rest of the nation— to appreciate our role in the unfolding story of our country.

While not redefining the Filson’s future direction, our current strategic plan does challenge the Filson Board and management to move the institution to the next level. The Board and staff should attempt:

  • to expand the recognition of the Filson as one of the community’s most precious organizations and to be broadly recognized for the value it adds.
  • to become a stronger and more diverse organization in every aspect from collections to programs to membership and leadership so that it can tell more complete stories of our community.
  • to direct the Filson in support of an educational effort dedicated to help build the intellectual curiosity of the public in general and more specifically that of our youth.

We will continue the growth and collaboration of the organization both internally and externally. By strengthening operations and enhancing the community outreach we look to reorient the public’s perception of the Filson and build on our strengths.

Venue Rental

Spaces Available for Rent Beginning 2022

The Filson Historical Society is a unique venue that blends the historic with the modern and provides a stunning background for any event. Several areas of the campus are available to be rented for dinners, retreats, meetings, receptions, parties, or weddings. The venues have access to 74 free parking spaces and wifi, as well as small catering areas. All of the Filson’s facilities have accessible parking.

View a virtual tour of our spaces!

Visit the Filson

1310 S. 3rd St., Louisville, KY 40208
(502) 635-5083

The Filson will reopen to the public on September 1st, 2021 – Read More! All events are currently being held virtually; to register for our live virtual events, please visit our Events Page; for information on recorded lectures and other activities, please visit us online at Bringing History Home.

We are resuming in person research, and suggest reserving a seat – learn more here.  The research library is open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4:30 pm.  Please note: For the remainder of 2021 the Filson’s Research Library will be closing at 12:30 pm on the third Friday of each month.

We also continue to provide remote research services; please email gro.l1634952211aciro1634952211tsihn1634952211oslif1634952211@hcra1634952211eser1634952211.


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