Bringing History Home

Bringing History Home

There is no better time than now to explore history at the Filson – bringing history home to you!

The Filson Historical Society is pleased to bring history to you – in the comfort of your own home. Please check back regularly for more downloadable activities, virtual programs, and digital exhibits to keep people of all ages entertained, educated, and connected to our past! Click on one of the titles below to be directed to our family-friendly content, and be sure to watch our one minute video to experience what the Filson has to offer!

Activities for All Ages

Virtual Programs

Digital Exhibits

Activities for All Ages

The Filson is pleased to share these fun activities related to our collections with history fans of all ages!

At Home Scavenger Hunt

Let’s collect some artifacts!! You’re going on a Scavenger Hunt around your house to see if you can find similar items to what the Filson collects.

Can you find…
· a photograph or painting of a family member
· a map
an article of clothing that belonged to an ancestor
· a handwritten letter or postcard
· sheet music or record album
· a watch or clock that must be wound by hand (no batteries)
· a book about Kentucky
· items related to a horse, a steamboat, basketball, and Abraham Lincoln
· a hand-made blanket, quilt or article of clothing

Some of these items might be extremely hard to find in your home. Be creative and find alternatives but try to get as close to the quest item as possible!

Can you tell a story about a family artifact or one of the items that you found during the scavenger hunt? Here are some suggestions to get you started.
· Describe the item
· Do you know where it came from?
· Why is it important to your family?
· How do you take care of it?
· What is it used for?
· Can you look online to find out any more information about it, such as how it was made, or its original function?

Share your artifacts and stories with us! You can tag us on Facebook or Instagram, or email us at gro.l1601537596aciro1601537596tsihn1601537596oslif1601537596@ofni1601537596!

Digital Scavenger Hunt

Seek and find answers to the following questions about the Women at Work: Venturing into the Public Sphere digital exhibit, located online at: https://filsonhistorical.omeka.net/exhibits/show/women-at-work. You can navigate through the online exhibit by using the right-hand table of contents menu. Once in the exhibit, you can advance using links at the bottom of each page.

A Spanish Beauty Fashion Plate ca. 1930, from Mary Cummings

A Spanish Beauty Fashion Plate ca. 1930, from Mary Cummings [1986.11.12]

  1. What is Viola Stow holding in her photograph?
  2. What kind of lab did Julia Tevis institute at Science Hill Female Academy?
  3. What was the name of the Central High School yearbook?
  4. What toy is named after Louisvillian Patty Smith Hill?
  5. How old was Lucie DuValle when she began teaching?
  6. What color is Rogers Clark Ballard Thruston’s jacket in his portrait by Magladen Harvey McDowell?
  7. How many sewing girls were in Louisville in 1874? What food did Jennie Benedict create that is still enjoyed today?
  8. What food did Jennie Benedict create that is still enjoyed today?
  9. Where did Bessie Meyer wear the gown that Madame Grunder created for her?
  10. What color are the flowers on the Madame Mulvaney dress in the exhibit?
  11. Is there a fashion plate for any of the dresses in the collection? Who was the creator?
  12. What item is Dinnie Thompson carrying in her picture that is also in the exhibit?
  13. What did the Jewish Ladies Benevolent Society want their money to purchase for Jewish Hospital?
  14. Who founded the Woman’s Club of Louisville?
  15. What material did Irene Mudd use in her artworks for the Filson’s Women at Work exhibit?

Answer key located here.

Filson Activity Sheets

Filson Activity Sheet – Challenge yourself or a family member to solve some of these challenges of historical proportions!

Filson Activity Sheet


Design your own Crazy Quilt Square!

This crazy quilt is a type of family tree – each block represents a specific family member in

the Webb-Barbour family, with a name and symbols about that person hand-stitched on it.

The blocks were made by Leviann Gist Webb and assembled into a quilt top by her daughter, Sally Barbour, in New Castle, Kentucky, around 1890.

How would you represent yourself or your family member in a crazy quilt block? Download our activity sheet to design and color your own block!

You may want to draw a picture or initials in each space, and then draw “stitches” along the lines.


Learn to Crochet at home!

The Filson’s Special Projects Coordinator, Sarah Laufer Bruns, has created a tutorial for crocheting at home. Using everyday items and your fingers as the hook, you’ll be able to create a snuffle mat for a pet, a bathmat, or a playmat. Download the tutorial here.


Create your own Paper Dolls!

Paper dolls are figures cut out of paper or thin card, with separate

clothes, also made of paper, that are usually held onto the dolls by paper folding tabs.[1] They may be a figure of a person, animal or inanimate object.[2] Paper dolls have been inexpensive children’s toys for almost two hundred years. Today, many artists are turning paper dolls into an art form.-wikipedia

Steps to making Paper dolls

  1. Click here to choose your paper doll
  2. Print out the different images
  3. Color the article of clothing and the people as you wish
  4. Cut out the people. Cut them out staying on the outline as best as possible
  5. Cut out the clothing. When you cut out the clothing, leave a little paper tab that can be folded over to keep the clothes on the doll

Here’s a helpful article about making paper dolls: https://www.mybluprint.com/project/how-to-make-paper-dolls

Virtual Programs

Register for an upcoming live virtual program here!

Previous Programs

Nationally recognized author and host of NPR’s “Morning Edition,” Steve Inskeep, discusses his latest book, Imperfect Union the riveting story of John and Jessie Frémont, America’s first great political couple. Recorded on January 30, 2020 at the Brown Theater.

Recorded Virtual Events

Dr. Lynn Pohl, Collections Cataloger at the Filson Historical Society, presented Living with a Deadly Disease: A History of Tuberculosis and Waverly Hills Sanatorium, on Friday, July 24. If you missed the lecture or would like to view it again, you can see it on our YouTube channel here.

Be sure to check out all of our recorded events at our YouTube Channel.

Filson staff have selected audio recordings and video lectures from recent years to be featured for their relevancy to current events, historical anniversaries, and themed content. Please click the button above to listen!

Digital Exhibits

To see all of our online exhibits and content, please visit: https://filsonhistorical.omeka.net/exhibits

Online Exhibits

Evolving Inspiration: The Art and Design of Julius Friedman

Artist and graphic designer Julius Friedman (1943–2017) was Louisville’s beloved and renowned image maker. Throughout his fifty-year career, he delighted viewers with a range of media that included photography, advertising posters, book arts, and sculpture. In 2018, a collection documenting the complete arc of Friedman’s creative output was donated to the Filson by his sister, Carol Abrams. From his early black and white urban photography to his “Rockopolis” nature sculptures, Evolving Inspiration leads visitors through the many creative phases of this Louisville legend.

Julius Friedman by Jim Cantrell 1991

Pop Up Exhibits

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.

Digital Collections

Louisville Equal Rights Association Minute Book – View the Minute book of the Louisville Woman Suffrage Association (later the Louisville Equal Rights Association) in its entirety online! This historic ledger contains a list of members, April l, 1895; Constitution and By-Laws, and minutes of meetings, March 1, 1889 – May 6, 1895.

Geneva H. Bell Textile Collection – The textiles of Geneva Howard Bell (1905-2013) became a part of the Filson’s collection in mid-2015. Both Geneva and her husband, Dr. Jesse 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; the digital exhibit highlights a portion of the collection.

Venue Rental

Spaces Available for Rent Beginning 2021

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 is temporarily closed to the public to protect our staff, volunteers, and patrons during the coronavirus pandemic. All events are currently postponed or virtual; 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 continue to provide remote research services; please email gro.l1601537596aciro1601537596tsihn1601537596oslif1601537596@hcra1601537596eser1601537596.

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