Archive for category: Press

Kentucky’s Education Proposals: An Open Letter to Our Membership

LOUISVILLE, KY – As you are probably aware, there are four bills proposed in the Kentucky General Assembly (House Bills 14, 18, 487 and Senate Bill 138) that seek to limit the ability of school boards and teachers to teach complex lessons from American history to Kentucky public school students—particularly around issues of race and gender. The Filson Historical Society’s new strategic plan challenges us to help communities build a stronger present and future through learning from their past. So, we invite you to join us in opposition to these efforts to limit the intellectual freedom of Kentucky students and educators.

The Filson aligns itself on this issue with the Kentucky Commissioner of Education and the American Historical Association. “Educators must provide an accurate view of the past in order to better prepare students for community participation and robust civic engagement,” writes the AHA. History is an act that calls all of us together to explore, question, and debate. There are ideas and actions that we should all justly celebrate in American history, as well as individual and structural failings which we should not just condemn but work to avoid in our present and future. “Suppressing or watering down discussion of ‘divisive concepts’ in educational institutions,” the AHA statement continues, “deprives students of opportunities to discuss and foster solutions to social divisions and injustice.”

Senate Bill 138 provides a list of primary sources, important pieces of legislation or public speeches, that it demands must be included in appropriate grade-level public school history curricula. The Filson supports the critical use of primary sources in history education and has long provided both original material and guiding questions to classrooms. Beyond critiquing the narrow document selection, the idea of creating curriculum by legislation is irresponsible in the democratic society which these bills purportedly celebrate. Doing so ignores the professional judgment and training of educators, who have both deep content knowledge and training in age-appropriate teaching and learning techniques. It ignores the democratic process whereby local curricula are shaped by school boards who can be held accountable by their communities.

House Bill 18 authorizes disciplinary action against teachers, and House Bill 14 lays out steps for investigating and fining school districts who might be accused of teaching with facts and historical documents which the framers of these bills wish excluded from public instruction. House Bill 487 provides for the prosecution of teachers in Circuit Court and seeks to impose a faulty definition of “revisionist history” that would outlaw the teaching of over fifty years of American history scholarship, including the publications of the Filson. This is a chilling move to punish and discourage free speech that stands directly opposed to the Filson’s mission of collecting, preserving, and sharing the full history of our state and region.

The Filson depends on a membership that is raised to explore and question our past in the service of our future. Freedom and constructively critical curiosity, not simply celebration, is the hallmark of a healthy society. The Filson, as a private nonprofit organization, is fortunately not subject to the restrictions that these bills seek to mandate. Yet the Filson recognizes that public education shapes the next generation of our membership. To remain as strong, vibrant, relevant, and diverse as our wonderful organization has become, we must resist such overreaching efforts now.

If you are so inclined, we urge you to contact your legislator via the Legislative Research Commission by telephone (800-372-7181) or email to your individual representative as soon as possible to voice opposition to these or any bills that would overrule the professional judgment of teachers, deny the democratic mandate of local school boards, and restrict the right of Kentucky students to fully understand the world they will inherit and lead.

 

Sincerely,

Richard H. C. Clay, President & CEO

John Stern, Chairman of the Board of Directors

The Filson receives ARP grant from Kentucky Humanities

Louisville, Ky – The Filson Historical Society is thrilled to report on all that the organization has accomplished with the American Rescue Plan grant it received from Kentucky Humanities.

Through the receipt of the American Rescue Plan grant from Kentucky Humanities, the Filson was able to fund general operating costs for the organization while closed to the public due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Filson closed to the public for more than a year due to the ongoing public health crisis, halting in-person events including research appointments, lectures, programs, and special events. Despite the closure to the public, no staff were furloughed or let go; instead, the organization switched to a completely digital format for programs and research, all of which were free to the public.

The Filson’s online presence has grown exponentially with the switch to remote work, allowing individuals who were unable to physically visit the Filson, whether due to COVID-19 or other restrictions, to engage virtually with 44 digital collections and 28 exhibits. The organization offered 59 programs, and Filson staff delivered 24 talks in the community. These efforts resulted in 8,342 people being served with expanded outreach to people from 35 states and 6 countries including the United States.

The Filson reopened for in-person research appointments on September 1, 2021. All events continue to be held virtually through the end of December.

For more information on the Filson’s upcoming events, please visit filsonhistorical.org/events or call (502) 635-5083. For more information on the Filson’s Covid-19 policies, please refer to the reopening plan listed on the website.

This project is partially funded by Kentucky Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Kentucky Humanities.

Since its founding in 1884, The Filson Historical Society has preserved the region’s collective memory, not only of Kentucky but also of the Ohio Valley and the Upper South. The Filson continues to collect and share the significant stories of the region. An independent historical society, The Filson serves the public through its extensive research collections and numerous educational opportunities. The Filson is headquartered in the Ferguson Mansion in Old Louisville and offers research facilities, event, and rental space.

The Filson receives grant from the NEH SHARP

Louisville, Ky – The Filson Historical Society is thrilled to announce that it has received an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (#SHARP) grant. The award, totaling $146,364, will allow the Filson to revive and expand a digital history project, “The First American West, the Ohio River Valley, 1750-1870.”

The original project was a collaboration between the Filson, the University of Chicago, and the Library of Congress, and has been offline since 2016. The Filson will use these funds to convert old files, scan new documents, objects, and maps to bring new historical voices to users, launch a new crowdsourcing transcription initiative, and host public programming throughout 2022 on the topics of digital history and the early-American frontier.

“This project lets us reflect on two important eras, the period of settler conflict that brought European, Indigenous, and African people and ideas into Kentucky and the early experimentation with digital technology to enable people to engage the past in new ways,” says Patrick Lewis, Director of Collections & Research at the Filson. “I am looking forward to interesting conversations about what greater representation, inclusion, and access to the historical record can mean for our society today and in the future.”

For more information on the Filson’s upcoming events, please visit filsonhistorical.org/events or call (502) 635-5083. At this time, all programming is being held virtually through December 31, 2021, with a few exceptions. For more information on the Filson’s Covid-19 policies, please refer to the reopening plan listed on the website.

Since its founding in 1884, The Filson Historical Society has preserved the region’s collective memory, not only of Kentucky but also of the Ohio Valley and the Upper South. The Filson continues to collect and share the significant stories of the region. An independent historical society, The Filson serves the public through its extensive research collections and numerous educational opportunities. The Filson is headquartered in the Ferguson Mansion in Old Louisville and offers research facilities, event, and rental space.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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The Filson Historical Society Reopens to the Public September 1

Louisville, Ky – Beginning September 1, the Filson Historical Society will reopen to the public for guided campus tours, research appointments, and rental space tours.  Previously, the Filson had been closed to the public during the Covid-19 pandemic. Staff have been working on campus and remotely in accordance with Kentucky’s “Healthy at Work” guidelines since March 2020.

Guests over the age of 12 are required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination and wear a mask when visiting the Filson’s campus or participating in a Filson-sponsored indoor event. Visitors may show their vaccination card or a photo of their card. Those unable to be vaccinated will need to show proof of a negative Covid test within the 48 hours prior to their planned visit. Either a printed or electronic copy of the results will be accepted.

All programming will continue to be held virtually until December 31, 2021, with a few exceptions. Reservations are suggested for all in-person events, tours, and research appointments. The Filson’s exhibition galleries will be open to walk-in visitors.

Reservations can be made online at filsonhistorical.org/events or by calling the Filson at (502) 635-5083. The Filson is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Guided tours are available each day at 2:00 p.m. For a list of upcoming events, please visit filsonhistorical.org/events. For more information about utilizing the Filson’s collection in-person or remotely, please visit us online at filsonhistorical.org or contact the Filson directly via email at gro.l1716532413aciro1716532413tsihn1716532413oslif1716532413@hcra1716532413eser1716532413.

The Filson asks that all visitors adhere to these new policies to ensure the safety of our staff, visitors, and community. Questions or concerns may be directed to President and CEO Richard H. C. Clay via phone at (502) 635-5083, or by email at gro.l1716532413aciro1716532413tsihn1716532413oslif1716532413@ofni1716532413. The Filson will continue to monitor the situation and update these policies as guidance from the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the CDC changes. The full reopening plan can be found online at filsonhistorical.org.

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Since its founding in 1884, The Filson Historical Society has preserved the region’s collective memory, not only of Kentucky but also of the Ohio Valley and the Upper South. The Filson continues to collect and share the significant stories of the region. An independent historical society, The Filson serves the public through its extensive research collections and numerous educational opportunities. The Filson is headquartered in the Ferguson Mansion in Old Louisville and offers research facilities, event, and rental space.

The Filson announces the Kentucky Covid-19 Poster Project

Louisville, Ky – The Filson Historical Society is excited to announce a new initiative, the Kentucky Covid-19 Poster Project. Inspired by the Covid-19 Poster Project at the Wisconsin Historical Society and other Covid-19 art actions throughout the country, this project leverages the power of words and images to document, interpret, and find inspiration in a challenging historical moment.

With support from The Snowy Owl Foundation and Mountjoy Chilton Medley, seven Kentuckiana artists received a commission of $250 to design posters that will be added to the Filson’s Covid-19 Community Collection. The artists chosen are:

Shae Goodlett, whose love of drawing started in elementary school. When asked what he tries to convey with his artwork, he said, “I think primarily what I want to do with my work is engage the viewer and have them relate. Whether it’s making them laugh with a one-liner illustration or trying to prompt some subconscious connection to a bizarre surrealist composition, I find engagement and accessibility of content to be most important.”

Amiya Crawford, who strives to allow her viewers to feel intrigued, or, in her words, “invited in to look and understand the work from their own lens of understanding. I would liken it to wanting someone to take a stone and turn it over in their hands, observe its color and texture, all of its little details, and then decide whether they’d carry that stone home with them or leave it on the ground.”

Tad DeSanto, a self-taught artist whose primary goal is, “to get people to think, to question and to relate to the sometimes-absurd realities of life in America, perhaps accompanied by a sly smile or stifled laughter. Making something from nothing is magical. When the image I’ve created touches another person’s heart I feel a special connection that is beyond words. My art takes me to another place where thoughts, memories and feelings collide. I want my work to make people think, smile and laugh.”

Mallory Lucas, a printmaker whose practice has been directly impacted by Covid-19. When asked what she strives to convey through her work, she said, “My work is whimsical and humorous but also deals with serious themes of otherness and social inequality and exclusion. My work is ambivalent, sometimes focusing on feelings of isolation and rejection from being “normal,” but often it celebrates instances of difference causing joy.”

Keith Rose, a screen-printer who strives to point out that it’s okay to be yourself through his art. In his words, “I’ve always been very uniquely me whether it’s appropriate or not. I didn’t, however, always have the voice to stand up for myself.”

Patricia Fulce-Smith, a multi-media artist who has created several murals throughout the city. Her passion is creating pieces that depict women and girls–especially those who’ve had to be strong. She finds herself in each woman or girl that she paints or creates. Patricia says, “I breathe through my art. I find myself through their stories.”

Paul “Arte” Chambers, a printmaker who finds inspiration from American social issues, old styles of artwork, social disruptions, and dialogue about human issues. When asked how he hopes others view his work, Chambers said he wants his work to “spark conversation and to question what the viewer believes in.”

In addition, the posters funded by the Kentucky Covid-19 Poster Project will be sold online starting November 24, 2020 and will continue until December 30, 2020. All proceeds of the poster sales will benefit the Artists Relief Trust, a local coalition of arts organizations and private philanthropists providing small grants to Kentuckian artists in need during these difficult times. More information about the project and poster sales can be found online at www.filsonhistorical.org/collections/covid-19-poster-project.

Questions about the Covid-19 poster project should be directed to Maureen Lane via phone at (502) 635-5083 or by email at gro.l1716532413aciro1716532413tsihn1716532413oslif1716532413@neer1716532413uam1716532413.

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Since its founding in 1884, The Filson Historical Society has preserved the region’s collective memory, not only of Kentucky but also of the Ohio Valley and the Upper South. The Filson continues to collect and tell the significant stories of the region. An independent historical society, The Filson serves the public through its extensive research collections and numerous educational opportunities. The Filson is headquartered in the Ferguson Mansion in Old Louisville and offers research facilities, event, and rental space.

The Filson Historical Society receives grant from the NEH

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Filson Historical Society received a Preservation Assistance Grant for Smaller Institutions from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This grant, totaling in $8,580, will allow the Filson to perform a preservation needs and disaster preparedness assessment, in addition to providing disaster training for fellow archivists in the area.

The Filson’s collection includes original materials related to the Lewis and Clarke expedition, including sources pertaining to the life of the enslaved man whom William Clarke brought on their journey. This award will also provide four data loggers to monitor environmental conditions in a new storage space, as well as the historical society’s exhibition area.

Danielle Spalenka, Associate Curator of Digital Projects at the Filson and Project Manager for the grant, said, “The funds to perform a preservation needs assessment will help us prioritize preservation needs of the collection. The assessment could not be timelier and is even more valuable now, as we will gain insight on how to care for our collections in these uncertain times.”

“These challenging times underscore how important the humanities are to making American culture and world history relatable across generations,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “NEH is proud to award hundreds of grants to keep our nation’s scholars, students, teachers, and citizens moving forward in pursuit of new knowledge and understanding.”

ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Since its founding in 1884, The Filson Historical Society has preserved the region’s collective memory, not only of Kentucky but also of the Ohio Valley and the Upper South. The Filson continues to collect and tell the significant stories of the region. An independent historical society, The Filson serves the public through its extensive research collections and numerous educational opportunities. The Filson is headquartered in the Ferguson Mansion in Old Louisville and offers research facilities, event, and rental space.