A Little Time and a Keyboard: Step Into History at the Frazier History Museum {Louisville}

Step Into History at the Frazier History Museum {Louisville}

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Frazier History Museum has a partnership with the Royal Armouries Museum
**Disclosure: We did receive complimentary admission to the Frazier History Museum in order to bring you this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.

When traveling, we love to visit historic museums that establish a foundation of the history and culture of the region. Throughout the course of my adventures, I have found that you can often miss quite a bit about an area without some understanding of how the region evolved.
Clash of cultures as explorers and later settlers move further West.
Even though we visited Louisville multiple times before, the Frazier History Museum really added more to our understanding of Louisville and Kentucky as a whole. The museum did a superb job of explaining American history and how it related specifically to Kentucky. From the Revolutionary War and Westward Expansion to the Civil War to Industrialization and more, it was all there! The material all seemed pretty approachable for children--not too cumbersome. Plus, the incorporation of life-sized reproductions of scenes helped illustrate history in ways that relate to children.

While at the museum, we learned a lot about the gun trade and its importance to Kentucky. This happens to be one of the areas of Kentucky history that I had never learned much about so I found the exhibits to be pretty interesting. We learned about the initial craftmanship put into each gun and then the eventual development of ways to mechanize production in order to standardize the size of guns and parts. This progression would make parts more interchangeable and production quicker. Honestly, I had never thought about a time when parts were not interchangeable but it does make sense since individual craftsman were making guns. Really an interesting exhibit but although we did find space a little tight in some sections.

The museum also had a nice exhibit on bourbon and distilling. Of course, it was not as detailed as what you will find at the distilleries but we found it to be well laid out and explanatory. As you can see below, this exhibit as well as those throughout the museum are very approachable thus enhancing the visit for families.

The Lewis and Clark Experience:

The Lewis and Clark Experience is a temporary exhibit at the museum running through May 15, 2016. Lewis and Clark met in Louisville to begin embarking on their epic journey, so the opportunity to explore their world is important to understanding the history of Louisville. We were totally blown away by the detail and range of hands-on experiences available throughout this exhibit. Immediately when we walked into the exhibit, we were transported to the lush forests that populated much of the wilds of the early United States. Later, we would be introduced to the plains. Experiential learning was threaded throughout with opportunities to explore Native American and explorer living structures, learn about native animals and habitats and learn how explorers and pioneers survived.

Unexpected Treasures:
  • Live performances: Historical notables visit the museum to talk to audiences! Interpreters bring history to life with performances. When we visited, Wilhelm Tell told us his famous story. Molly Pitcher, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, Clara Barton, George Rogers Clark and more interpretations bring history right to the audience! My daughter has been talking about this since our visit so an excellent way to reach out to kids.
  • Artifacts: We were not expecting to find so many artifacts from notable personages. To our surprise, we discovered a Boone family Bible, George Armstrong Custer's pistols and more!
Boone family Bible
Custer's pistols up close and personal!
  • Hands-on elements: In addition to the Lewis & Clark Experience, the museum also has other hands-on experiences for children. Kids learn so much be experiencing!
  • Amazing special exhibits: While we visited, the museum hosted a Shirley Temple exhibit displaying an unbelievable amount of dresses from her movies incredibly preserved. Worth the visit! 
From "Baby Takes a Bow"

Marie Antoinette costume.
From "Heidi"
  • Proximity to other museums: The Frazier History Museum is conveniently located on Museum Row near 10 other cultural attractions including the Louisville Slugger Museum, the Kentucky Science Center and more. Make a day of it!
As you can see, we loved the Frazier History Museum! The museum provided for a wonderful foundation for our future adventures in Louisville. The addition of the live performances really added something that I have not seen in other museums. My daughter was thoughtfully engaged the whole time. Just a lovely family museum!

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