Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Please see below for details and descriptions of upcoming events at the Filson.  All event times are in EST or EDT depending on the season.  Click here to register and pay for programs, tickets are required. Filson members will need to log in to access the member pricing for events.  Many of our past events can be viewed on the Filson YouTube Channel.

The Gospel of Freedom: Black Evangelicals and the Underground Railroad

Date: March 28, 2023
Time: 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location: Filson Historical Society (In-Person and Zoom Options)
Turley_Gospel of Freedom_final cvr for publ

This lecture is sponsored by the Thomas D. Clark Foundation, along with the University Press of Kentucky, and the Association for Teaching Black History in Kentucky, whose members are Berea College, the Muhammad Ali Center, Kentucky State University and Kentucky History Resources.

Wilbur H. Siebert published his landmark study of the Underground Railroad in 1898, revealing a secret system of assisted slave escapes. A product of his time, Siebert based his research on the accounts of northern white male abolitionists. While useful in understanding the northern boundaries of the slaves’ journey, Siebert’s account leaves out the complicated narrative of assistance below the Mason-Dixon Line. In The Gospel of Freedom: Black Evangelicals and the Underground Railroad, author Alicestyne Turley positions Kentucky as a crucial “pass through” territory for escaping slaves and addresses the important contributions of white and black antislavery southerners who united to form organized networks to assist slaves in the Deep South. Drawing on family history and lore as well as a large range of primary sources, Turley shows how free and enslaved African Americans directly influenced efforts to physically and spiritually resist slavery and how slaves successfully developed their own systems to help others who were enslaved below the Mason-Dixon Line. Illuminating the roles of these black freedom fighters, Turley questions the validity of long-held conclusions based on Siebert’s original work and suggests new areas of inquiry for further exploration. The Gospel of Freedom seeks to fill the historical gaps and promote the lost voices of the Underground Railroad.

Prior to becoming an educator and public historian, Dr. Alicestyne Turley worked in various occupations including Law Enforcement, as a Community Organizer, president of several community-based, non-profit organizations, as well as serving as the first black Administrator to the first woman Mayor of the City of Toledo, Ohio, and as a college professor. The Gospel of Freedom: Black Evangelicals and the Underground Railroad is the recipient of the 2022 Thomas D. Clark Medallion Book Award.

History Inspires – From Flower Bed to Feather Bed: Reimagining Historic Gardens Through Quilts

Date: April 4, 2023
Time: 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location: Filson Historical Society (In-Person and Zoom Options)

This lecture is part of the History Inspires series, which spotlights the Filson’s collections and how our items are utilized by creative people in the contemporary art world.

Having practiced the fabric arts for decades as a seamstress, an embroiderer, and knitter, Anita Streeter has only recently begun to make quilts, and in particular, garden quilts. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she became obsessed with the idea of bringing garden designs – especially those of historic gardens – to life through the medium of the quilt.

Streeter’s lifelong love and gardens and gardening has taken her to countless gardens of significance in this country and abroad. Seeking a way to combine her love of sewing and her interest in gardens, it occurred to her that there was an almost infinite number of garden plans that could be rendered into quilt patterns. By limiting herself to toile and toile-like fabrics, she was able to transform a static garden plan into a canvas that tells the story of and illuminates the rich reality of the garden.

During the talk, she will show slides of several of her quilts, describing the process from start to finish – from inspiration to drafting and design, and finally to piecing, quilting, and binding. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.

Anita Streeter spent her career in arts management with such organizations as Louisville Public Media, Walden Theatre (Commonwealth Theatre Center), the Embroiderers’ Guild of America, the Choral Arts Society, the Louisville Bach Society, the Speed Museum and Kentucky Opera. She has served on grants panels for the City of Louisville and the National Endowment for the Arts. She also is a longtime member of the Glenview Garden Club and has served as chair of the Filson Historical Society’s House Tour for the past four years.

Compulsively creative, Anita is an accomplished singer, radio producer, gardener, and former professional seamstress. She conceived the garden quilt project during the Covid pandemic.

The Southern Culture of Kentucky’s Shaker Villages

Date: April 13, 2023
Time: 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location: Filson Historical Society (In-Person and Zoom Options)
tommy hines

Kentucky’s Shaker villages, South Union and Pleasant Hill, drew converts from the South. Those converts brought their own well-established manners, customs, and cultural biases into a system that had been designed by Shakers rooted in the Northeast. South Union, in particular, had a difficult time adapting and, consequently, created a material culture and maintained a folklife that was unique among Shaker villages. From the food they ate to the furniture they produced, from the way they spoke to the way they constructed buildings, the Kentucky Shakers were set apart from their northern counterparts. Their story is colorful, humorous, heartbreaking, and fascinating.

Tommy Hines is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with an undergraduate degree in Music Theory and Folk Studies, and a Master of Arts degree in Historic Preservation and has spent his career as Executive Director of South Union Shaker Village. He has presented on topics related to Southern decorative arts at venues that include Frist Center for the Arts, Colonial Williamsburg, the Decorative Arts Trust, and for the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. Hines has also authored three award-winning exhibit catalogs, published articles in Antique Review and The Magazine Antiques, and contributed to other publications, including Kentucky by Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture (2015) and Making Time: The Art of the Kentucky Tall Case Clock, 1790-1850 (2019). Hines received the Ida Lee Willis Service to Preservation Award from the Kentucky Heritage Council (2001), the Edith Bingham Excellence in Preservation Education Award from Preservation Kentucky (2018), and the Frank R. Levstik Award for Professional Service from the Kentucky Historical Society (2020).

Jazz at the Filson – The Old Seelbach Jazz Bar Reunion Concert

Date: April 16, 2023
Time: 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: Filson Historical Society (In-Person Only)
Jazz at the Filson

Jazz at the Filson is a three-part series of jazz presentations directed and curated by internationally recognized vibraphonist and composer Dick Sisto. Sisto, the music director at Old Seelbach Bar from the late 1980s through 2010, studied with Chicago Symphony mallet maestro Jose Bethancourt and later with Vibe Master Gary Burton. The Old Seelbach Bar has been included in the 50 top bars in the world and was used as the set in two major screen movies, The Hustler and The Insider.

The Old Seelbach Jazz Bar Reunion Concert will feature the Tri-Tones, a trio made up of Sisto, Tyrone Wheeler on bass, and Jason Tiemann on drums. The Tri-tones played at the Old Seelbach Bar during happy hour and late-night shows five days a week, along with a weekend guest program. The trio will be joined by Steve Davis, an internationally renowned trombonist, and a frequent guest on the Tri-tones weekend set. His style captivates audiences with beautiful lyricism combined with masterful Bebop. The list of the greats he has worked with is too long to mention but includes Jackie McClean and Chick Corea.

Ends of War: The Unfinished Fight of Lee’s Army After Appomattox

Date: April 20, 2023
Time: 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location: Filson Historical Society (In-Person and Zoom Options)
Ends of War

The Army of Northern Virginia’s chaotic dispersal began even before Lee and Grant met at Appomattox Court House. As the Confederates had pushed west at a relentless pace for nearly a week, thousands of wounded and exhausted men fell out of the ranks. When word spread that Lee planned to surrender, most remaining troops stacked their arms and accepted paroles allowing them to return home, even as they lamented the loss of their country and cause. But others broke south and west, hoping to continue the fight. Fearing a guerrilla war, Grant extended the generous Appomattox terms to every rebel who would surrender himself. Provost marshals fanned out across Virginia and beyond, seeking nearly 18,000 of Lee’s men who had yet to surrender. But the shock of Lincoln’s assassination led Northern authorities to see threats of new rebellion in every rail depot and harbor where Confederates gathered for transport, even among those already paroled. While Federal troops struggled to keep order and sustain a fragile peace, their newly surrendered adversaries seethed with anger and confusion at the sight of Union troops occupying their towns and former slaves celebrating freedom.

In this dramatic new history of the weeks and months after Appomattox, Caroline E. Janney reveals that Lee’s surrender was less an ending than the start of an interregnum marked by military and political uncertainty, legal and logistical confusion, and continued outbursts of violence. Janney takes readers from the deliberations of government and military authorities to the ground-level experiences of common soldiers. Ultimately, what unfolds is the messy birth narrative of the Lost Cause, laying the groundwork for the defiant resilience of rebellion in the years that followed.

Caroline E. Janney is the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War and Director of the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History at the University of Virginia.

Aging in Place in Our Louisville Community: What it Means, What Barriers Exist, and What Are We Doing to Address the Issue

Date: April 27, 2023
Time: 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location: Filson Historical Society (In-Person and Zoom Options)
Fair Housing Month

April is Fair Housing Month. Join the Filson, in partnership with the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, to commemorate the signing of the Fair Housing Act in April 1968, and to discuss an important community housing issue—aging in place in Louisville. A panel of housing experts will discuss historical and contemporary barriers to aging in place in Louisville, how this is a fair housing issue, and what housing advocates and policymakers are doing to create housing choice and housing opportunity across all of Louisville.

So Hard to Die: A Physician and a Psychologist Explore the Mystery of Meriwether Lewis’s Death

Date: May 12, 2023
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Location: Filson Historical Society (In-Person and Zoom Options)
Peck photo

Meriwether Lewis, commander of the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition that explored the newly purchased Louisiana Territory from 1804-06, returned home from this perilous journey with every hope as well as his country’s expectations of a bright and productive future. Yet within three years, the 35-year-old Lewis was dead in a lonely inn along the Natchez Trace in rural Tennessee, the victim of two gunshots. Various medical and psychological theories have been proposed by historians and others to account for his mysterious death, which was originally reported as a suicide. The authors of “So Hard to Die” provide an in-depth analysis of the various theories that still swirl around his death and draw on their professional backgrounds as a physician and a clinical psychologist to vividly and convincingly explain the mystery of Lewis’s death.

Dr. David J. Peck is a retired physician and nationally known speaker on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. His previous book OR PERISH IN THE ATTEMPT (Bison Books, University of Nebraska Press 2011) is recognized as the standard for the medical aspects of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Dr. Marti Peck is a clinical psychologist and certified Adult Psychoanalyst in private practice in San Diego.

Filson Gallery Chat – People, Passage, Place

Date: May 12, 2023
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Location: Filson Historical Society (In-Person Only)
PPP Exhibit Team

Gallery chats will take place on May 12th, 19th, 26th and on June 2nd, 23rd.

Join a member of the People Passage Place: Stories of the Ohio Valley exhibit team for an intimate and exploratory gallery viewing experience.  

People Passage Place uses the Filson’s vast collections to share stories that shape the social and cultural fabric of the Ohio Valley. This exhibit has been separated into three thematic sections to explore multifaceted perspectives on our region: Land Labor Water, People Family Community, and Culture Creativity Craft. The materials on display have been selected to expand preconceptions and encourage conversations. Items will be rotated periodically to feature fresh Ohio Valley stories.

Participants will meet with a curator between 1:30 and 2 pm. Examples of topics that will be covered in the Gallery Chat include behind-the-scenes info and details about the exhibit’s development, design, and installation; the curatorial process and how the objects were chosen; further details about the stories presented; and how the community was involved in this project. Following the Gallery Chat, participants will have the option to take the 2 pm guided campus tour to learn more about the Filson Historical Society and the historic home where we are housed.

The exhibit team includes Emma Bryan, Hannah Costelle, Abby Glogower, Jim Holmberg, Kelly Hyberger, Maureen Lane, Patrick Lewis, Heather Potter, and Brooks Vessels. 

“History Inspires” Concert with Filson Historical Society & NouLou Chamber Players

Date: May 14, 2023
Time: 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: Filson Historical Society (In-Person Only)

Join us this Mother’s Day for a special afternoon with NouLou Chamber Players, inspired by the Filson Historical Society.  For this concert, local artists will perform works by local composers from over a century ago! Louisville has been the home to many world-class musicians and composers, and Kentucky has served as the muse for art and music throughout the years. This program will explore works by some of our forgotten hometown heroes, as well as music that has been written about our fair state. Members of the NouLou Chamber Players combed through the archives of the Filson Historical Society and discovered rare vocal works by composers, and for this Mother’s Day, we are highlighting the women who added to Louisville’s musical canon. We will also hear a beautiful Brahms song dedicated to a young mother. NouLou Musicians include Laura Atkinson, Jason Steigerwalt, Laura De St. Croix, Christopher Brody, and special guests. Come hear these rare treats!

Groundhog Archaeology

Date: May 18, 2023
Time: 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location: Filson Historical Society (In-Person and Zoom Options)
Groundhog Archaeology

Patrick Donley discovered a 19th century midden (dump) beneath his warehouse/studio, thanks to a groundhog named Phyllis. He’s been excavating and photographing the finds for the last 4 years.

Literally thousands of household items deposited at the site for close to 30 years by nearby families and businesses have been unearthed through the excavations. The dump was shut down in the early 1920’s and the warehouse was constructed atop the bits and shards of history.

And now, that warehouse will become a museum that will house the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century artifacts unearthed from this neighborhood midden. Through its permanent collection and revolving exhibitions partnered with related entities, the Museum will serve as an educational institution, living memorial and bridge between today’s world and working-class immigrant American life at the dawn of the 20th century. The Mary Street Midden is rich with clues about the last major influenza epidemic, Louisville distilling and brewing, and early glass manufacture for beverages and patent medicines.  Dinnerware, toys and tools all tell a story about everyday existence. Through the exploration of the refuse of the past, we may gain greater insight into how our waste impacts the world today.

Patrick Donley is a painter, sculptor, musician, and now accidental archeologist, who has made his reputation with his colorful, abstract paintings and quirky found object sculpture. He has a BA from Davidson College in painting, and an MFA from Northwestern University in painting and drawing.  He is very proud to have been a longtime owner of Zephyr Gallery, and is looking forward to this new chapter in his life.