The Filson Historical Society is Kentucky’s privately supported historical society. Our mission is to collect, preserve, and tell the significant stories of Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley. We were founded in 1884 by a group of Louisvillians dedicated to preserving the region’s history. The collection includes genealogical records, manuscripts, architectural plans, city directories, business records, photographs, artifacts, and much more. Research hours are Monday through Friday 9 am to 4:30 pm. There is a $10 research fee for non-members.
We are housed in a historic early 20th century mansion in the heart of Old Louisville, a neighborhood known for its many restored Victorian-era houses. We offer tours of our campus Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 12, 1, and 2 pm, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 pm. Tours are free. The guided tour will offer a history of the property, as well as history and information about the Filson Historical Society.
The Filson hosts over 70 programs a year on various historical topics related to Kentucky and the Ohio Valley. Programs are generally held in the evenings with varying times and pricing, most are free to members. Visit our website at filsonhistorical.org for topics, times, and pricing. We open 2-3 exhibits each year. These exhibits can be viewed on one of our free guided tours.
The Filson holds one of the nation’s most significant Lewis and Clark related collections. Through the years, a number of items relating to the two captains and their epic 1803 to 1806 trek to the Pacific Ocean and back were acquired. Louisville is the home of William Clark until just prior to the expedition and home to many members of the Clark family, aided in assembling the collection. Letters, diaries, store accounts, broadsides, books, maps, newspapers, portraits, prints, artifacts, and later, even photographs, provide important information on the journey of the Corps of Discovery and its members. The Lewis and Clark collection is available to the public for research purposes. Please visit our web page: https://filsonhistorical.org/special-collections/using-the-collections/ for Library and Special Collections Reading Room rules.