About the
Kentucky Derby Museum


Celebrate and share the Kentucky Derby experience.


To ENGAGE, EDUCATE, and EXCITE EVERYONE about the extraordinary experience that is the Kentucky Derby!

Now in its 30th year, the Kentucky Derby Museum is one of the premiere attractions in the Louisville region, celebrating the tradition, history, hospitality and pride of the world-renown event that is the Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby Museum first opened its doors in April 1985. Although the Museum sits adjacent to historic Churchill Downs, it operates as a separate 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, generating its own revenue. The Museum’s property was donated by Churchill Downs and the construction of the facility and seed money for its endowment fund was provided by the J. Graham Brown Foundation and five banks in the community.

In 2010, the Kentucky Derby Museum’s 25th Anniversary was marked with a $5.5 million renovation which dramatically transformed the Museum’s interior from top to bottom. The Museum embraced the renovation project after a severe flash flood devastated the main floor exhibits and lower level offices in August of 2009. During the nine months of closure, the Museum created all new exhibits and themes, developed research and embraced the mission to engage, educate and excite everyone about the extraordinary experience that is the Kentucky Derby.

The Museum has welcomed more than four million visitors from all over the world including celebrities Bo Derek, Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw, Muhammad Ali, Sigourney Weaver, Gene Simmons, Susan St. James, Dick Ebersol, President Mikhail Gorbachev and First Minister of Scotland to name a few. (See feature exhibit, "Stars of the Stands," which focuses on how fame and celebrity transformed the Kentucky Derby into the iconic event that it is today.)

The Kentucky Derby Museum, in addition to preserving the history of the Kentucky Derby, offers so much more to the community. The education department offers free educational programs to all public and parochial schools within the states of Kentucky and Indiana that focus on Core Academic standards. Through these programs, students learn about the economics, history and significance of the Kentucky Derby. Another major contribution to the community is the Backside Learning Center. With advocacy from the Museum, the BLC was founded in June of 2004 to provide educational opportunities and other resources to backside workers.

To inquire further about the Museum, click here.