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Louisville, Chicago, and the Birth of the Modern Museum

Tuesday, November 17, 6:00 p.m. – REGISTER HERESponsored by the Thomas W. Bullitt Perpetual Charitable Trust

The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago promised to show visitors the glories of their modern, industrial age, but history was a constant presence in the “White City.” In his recent book, The Last Voyage of the Whaling Bark Progress, UofL history and museum studies professor Daniel Gifford explores the troubled attempts to interpret the history of the whaling industry at the world’s fair — an idea with surprising roots in Louisville’s own Southern Exposition. The Filson also travelled to Chicago, where objects and art owned and commissioned by members told the story of the United States’ first frontier—even as the young American Historical Association proclaimed the closing of the West. Join Gifford and Filson Director of Collections & Research Patrick Lewis for a conversation about this intersection of East, South, and Midwest, when the era of professional museums and historians began to eclipse an older tradition of local historical promoters and private collectors. How did the Columbian Exposition give us History and museum craft as we know it today, and why should we think critically about the legacies it has left us? 

Daniel Gifford, Ph.D. is a public historian who focuses on American popular and visual culture, as well as museums in American culture. His career spans both academia and public history, including several years with the Smithsonian Institution. He received his PhD from George Mason University in 2011, and now teaches courses on American history and museum studies at the University of Louisville and Spalding University.  

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.l1606385622aciro1606385622tsihn1606385622oslif1606385622@hcra1606385622eser1606385622.


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