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Kentucky Derby Museum Participation Centennial Festival of Riverboats – Belle’s 100th

Posted: October 9th, 2014

Click here to download a brochure!

As a part of the Centennial Festival of Riverboats the Kentucky Derby Museum will present local actor Kyle Ware performing a one-man interpretive monologue, recreating the unique personality of the late Matt Winn. Matt Winn was an important figure in Louisville’s horse racing history during 1914 when the Belle of Louisville was being launched. Winn was Vice President and General Manager of Churchill Downs during this period and went on to become President of the track in 1938. He used his understanding of marketing to weave the aura of romance into what the Kentucky Derby was and is today. Winn had a unique relationship with the press in Louisville and throughout the country at the time and actor Kyle Ware will portray stories inspired from events detailed in Winn’s autobiography Down the Stretch.

Matt Winn Bio:
Matt J. Winn was born on June 30, 1861 in Louisville. He attended the inaugural running of the Kentucky Derby in 1875 and never missed a running of the Derby during his lifetime. A notable businessman, he was approached in 1902 by his friend and Racing Secretary Charles Price about purchasing financially-troubled Churchill Downs. Although he was reluctant to buy the track he did not want to see it close, so he formed a syndicate that included Louisville Mayor Charles Grainger and hotel magnate Louis Seelbach to purchase the track. Their first year operating the track was the first year Churchill Downs pulled a profit. Under Winn’s management the Kentucky Derby became the internationally noted cultural event that it is today. The singing of “My Old Kentucky Home”, the garland of roses, the Kentucky Derby Gold Cup and the mint julep souvenir glass are only some of the traditions started during his tenure. The purse and attendance for the Derby grew astronomically under his guidance, and he spent many an offseason hosting special events at the track to keep it in the news. Winn served as president of Churchill Downs from 1938 until his death in 1949.

Performances will run during the Centennial Festival of Riverboats October 14 – 19 as the Derby Museum’s contribution to the festival.

There will be two performances in the museum October 14-18 at 10:30am & 2:30pm daily and one performance Sunday, October 19 at 2:30pm.

Performances will be held in the museum’s Great Hall each day during the Riverboat Festival.

Kyle Ware is a Louisville-based actor, artist, educator and writer. He most recently appeared in Kentucky Shakespeare’s 2014 summer season and now serves as the Director of Education for the company. He was a Co-Producing Founding Artistic Director of Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble and currently Co-Artistic of Think Tank Theatre, a collaborative ensemble debuting in November.

Contact: Greg Keightley
Director of Marketing
Kentucky Derby Museum

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Kentucky Derby Museum Joins Smithsonian Magazine’s Tenth Annual Museum Day Live!

Posted: September 8th, 2014

Free Admission for All Participants Presenting a Museum Day Live! Ticket
On September 27, 2014

The Kentucky Derby Museum will open its doors free of charge on Saturday, September 27, 2014, as part of Smithsonian magazine’s tenth annual Museum Day Live! A nationwide event, Museum Day Live! offers free admission to visitors presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket at a participating museum or cultural institution.

Inclusive by design, the event represents Smithsonian’s commitment to make learning and the spread of knowledge accessible to everyone, giving museums across all 50 states the opportunity to emulate the admission policy of the Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C. Last year’s event drew over 400,000 participants, and this year’s event expects record-high participation.

“The one and only Kentucky Derby Museum is proud to participate again in Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day Live!” said Lynn Ashton, Executive Director at the Derby Museum. “It provides patrons the opportunity to visit our wonderful museum and also provides us an association with Smithsonian magazine.”

The Museum Day Live! ticket is available to download at Visitors who present the Museum Day Live! ticket will gain free entrance for two at participating venues for one day only. One ticket is permitted per household, per email address. For more information about Museum Day Live! 2014 and a list of participating museums and cultural institutions, please visit:

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About Kentucky Derby Museum
The Kentucky Derby Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit museum in Louisville, KY dedicated to sharing the fun of the Kentucky Derby experience.

About Smithsonian Media
Smithsonian Media comprises of its flagship publication, Smithsonian magazine, as well as Air & Space, and Smithsonian Media Digital Network. Smithsonian Media is a division of Smithsonian Enterprises, the revenue-generating business unit of the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. Approximately 30 million people from around the world visit the museums annually.

Contact: Anne Muscarella, High 10 Media, for Smithsonian magazine,

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Kentucky Derby Museum Announces 2014 – 2015 Legends Series of Bourbon Tasting

Posted: August 25th, 2014

Louisville, KY (August 25, 2014) – The Kentucky Derby Museum announces the return of its critically acclaimed bourbon series “Legends Series” that features America’s most-important whiskey distillers. The first event showcases a secret distiller who makes the majority of this country’s rye whiskey.

Bourbon Authority, of the Kentucky Derby Museum, Fred Minnick, also a journalist and Wall Street Journal-bestselling author, interviews whiskey legends in a live studio audience and leads a tasting of fine whiskey. listed the museum’s Legends Series as one of ten bourbon learning events in Louisville.

The 2014 – 2015 Kentucky Derby Museum Legends Series kicks off October 2 with MGP Ingredients master distiller Greg Metze, who makes his first public appearance and creates the majority of America’s rye whiskey. “Metze is America’s most-important rye whiskey distiller,” Minnick says. “If it were not for him, I don’t think modern ryes would be so delicious. This is a rare opportunity to meet and listen to a true legend.”

The other legends include: Jimmy Russell, longtime master distiller of Wild Turkey, December 4, 2014; Harlen Wheatley, master distiller of Buffalo Trace, February 5, 2015; Bill Samuels, chairman emeritus for Makers Mark, June 4, 2015; and Mike Veach, renowned bourbon historian and author, August 6, 2015.

Each event will include whiskey tastings, a Q & A with the guests and appetizers, all set in the beautiful surroundings of the museum from 5:30p.m. to 7:30p.m.

The inclusive five event Legends Series is $225. In order to receive the series discount, tickets must be purchased as a package at the time of the first event. After the first event, individual tickets will be sold to each tasting. Single event tickets will be available at $50. Special pricing is also available for Derby Museum members.

Click here for tickets or more information.

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Girl Scout Summer Sleepover

Posted: June 27th, 2014


For the first time, the Derby Museum is hosting a sleepover! Available for Brownies, Juniors & Cadettes (Ages 7-14), the sleepover includes: Twilight Tour of Churchill Downs, “Women in Racing” education program, Museum Mystery Scavenger Hunt in the exhibits, Screening of “Secretariat” in the Great Hall, Breakfast at the Spires & Thoroughbred morning workouts!

July 24, 2014, 6pm - 8:45am
$30 per scout, $20 per adult

For more information, click here to download our flyer or contact Ronnie Dreistadt at

Registration ends July 11, 2014, 50 scout maximum

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Mayor announces cultural pass for children

Posted: May 28th, 2014

From Mayor’s Press Office

LOUISVILLE, KY – Children and students can visit some of the region’s greatest cultural organizations for free this summer, thanks to the creation of the new Cultural Pass for Children that was suggested during the Vision Louisville initiative, Mayor Greg Fischer announced today.

The pass, a collaboration between Metro Government and cultural partners to address the importance of arts education in Louisville, admits one child/student (ages 0 through college) to attractions as diverse as the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft to the Kentucky Derby Museum to Yew Dell Gardens. If the child is under 16, one parent or guardian is also admitted.

Children who get their pass stamped by at least eight different institutions this summer will be eligible for a grand prize, a family package of tickets to the Lion King Broadway musical, coming in March 2015 and donated by Broadway Across America. There is also a draw for first prize, Mayor Fischer’s suite at Louisville Slugger Field for one game.

The pass was one of the 80,000 ideas that citizens submitted last year as part of the Vision Louisville initiative, in which residents envisioned how the city should look, feel and flow over the next 30 years. University of Louisville Professor Nat Irvin and his creativity team of Vision Louisville suggested the idea for the pass.

“We know that children who are exposed to the arts and cultural events do better in school — and better in life,” Fischer said. “This pass is a great way for parents to take their children to our city’s top attractions all for free — and a perfect way to combat summer learning loss.”

Children and parents can pick up a pass (a punch card) from their local Louisville Free Public Library branch or Metro Parks Community Center starting June 9. The pass is good through August 13.

The pass allows general admission access to one child and chaperon (if the child is under 16). Only one visit per pass per institution will be allowed. Special exhibits and programs are not included with the pass.

Participating arts group and organizations include:

American Printing House for the Blind Museum
Bernheim Arboretum
Carnegie Center for Art & History
Crane House - Asia Institute
Filson Historical Society
Historic Locust Grove
Kentucky Derby Museum
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft
Kentucky Shakespeare
Louisville Youth Choir
Stage One Family Theatre
Yew Dell Gardens
Other organizations are likely to be added before the first passes are available on June 9.

The Cultural Pass was the joint planning work of Vision Louisville and officials from Actor’s Theatre, The Kentucky Center, The Fund for the Arts, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and Greater Louisville Inc. Arts and Cultural Committee.

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Posted: May 5th, 2014

Time: 2:03.66, fast track
Jockey: Victor Espinoza
Trainer: Art Sherman
Owners/Breeders: Steven Coburn & Perry Martin

A crowd of 164,906 assembled on a sunny, May 3rd to watch California Chrome in the second largest Derby crowd in its 140-year history. Sent off as the 5-2 post time favorite, California Chrome trained by 77-year-old Art Sherman sat right off a moderate pace set by Uncle Sigh and Chitu, and took command as they approached the top of the stretch holding off a late charge from 37-1 longshot Commanding Curve who finished second, Danza took the show spot.

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Kentucky Derby Museum Gala kicks off Derby Week on Friday, April 25th as a SOLD OUT event

Posted: April 25th, 2014


The 28th annual Derby Museum Gala transforms again this year with changes.

Celebrating the history of The Greatest Race ™ with a black tie affair, this year the gala will be held entirely inside the Derby Museum. The event is limited to 45 tables that accommodate up to eight guests each, which will be dispersed throughout the museum in the Derby Café, the Carl Pollard Room, the second floor balcony and the tent located in the museum’s Oaks Garden Terrace. The first floor exhibit areas and the Great Hall will be used for people to socialize, dance and enjoy cocktails.

Gala begins at 7:00 PM with cocktails and dinner will be served at 8:30. Live entertainment and dance music is provided by “The Rupert’s Orchestra” from Atlanta, Georgia. The band covers a variety of different genres of music ranging from Motown, to swing and rock and roll. Several surprise elements in décor and entertainment await guests of the evening.

Tickets for the event were sold for $400 per person. All money raised from the Gala will go toward benefitting the Kentucky Derby Museum’s Outreach Education Program. The Museum’s education programs reach more than 60,000 children each year in grades K-12 with classes and resources pertaining to the Kentucky Derby and the equine industry as a whole.

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Kentucky Derby Museum shows fun side of Derby with new Horse Play Exhibit

Posted: April 9th, 2014

Opening April 14th, Horse Play will highlight the playful side of the Kentucky Derby featuring nearly 60 historic equine toys, digital interactives and music created exclusively for the museum. Drawing from over 140 years of history, Horse Play uses artifacts, games, photographs and videos to capture the engaging, curious and exciting event the Derby is today through the use of toys.

Created as a hands-on game experience, Horse Play will explore the sense of play that is a true part of the world’s greatest racing event. Visitors will activate the sights and sounds around them progressing from a history of horse toys and games to oversized versions of the artifacts themselves. As a ‘you can touch’ museum, guests are invited to engage their senses and play in the space while listening to the original music compositions created by the local musicians of Whistle Peak.

The museum has purchased a circa-1970’s, coin-operated, Kentucky Derby-themed carousel ride to become a permanent mainstay of the museum for this exhibit. Additional artifacts displayed in the exhibit range from bobbleheads, dolls and racing games to wooden horses and board games. Many of the featured items are on loan from collaborating partners including the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and the Ken Grayson Collection. Additional digital displays are contributed by KET and The Courier-Journal.

The exhibit is included in general admission and will be open to the public every day from Monday, April 14th through December 31, 2014 on the museum’s second floor in the Matt Winn Gallery.

Media images can be found here courtesy of Kentucky Derby Museum:

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2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird returns to the Kentucky Derby Museum

Posted: March 5th, 2014



135th Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird will return to greet fans at the Kentucky Derby Museum this spring. The 2009 longshot will return to the museum for about three weeks in promotion of the upcoming film “50 to 1” which is based on the eight-year-old gelding’s shocking upset victory in the Derby five years ago.

On Thursday, April 17th at 10:00 a.m., a press event for the “50 to 1” movie will take place in the museum’s Great Hall (museum guests are invited to watch with paid admission) followed by media photo-ops with the movie team, real Derby winning team and Mine That Bird in the museum’s stable area.

“50 to 1” opens in Kentucky theaters on April 18th, directed by Jim Wilson with key roles of trainer and owner played by actors Skeet Ulrich (As Good As It Gets, The Newton Boys and Chill Factor) and Christian Kane (Taxi and Friday Night Lights) respectively. Jockey Calvin Borel plays himself in the film.

At 11:30 that morning, the museum will host a free poster signing and meet and greet with fans in the museum’s back garden tent. Mine that Bird will be available for guests to see at the same time until 4:00 p.m. that day.

On Friday, April 18th, Mine That Bird will ship to Keeneland for an appearance at the track before the races and he will be available for fans to see at the Kentucky Derby Museum’s “It’s My Derby” event hosted at Keeneland that evening, along with 2003 winner Funny Cide.

Mine That Bird will return to the Kentucky Derby Museum’s garden area on Saturday, April 19th and remain until May 10th. He will be available to guests with paid, museum admission. His appearance is made possible only with the help and generosity of his owner Mark Allen of Double Eagle Ranch in Roswell, New Mexico and Dr. Leonard Blach of Buena Suerte Equine. Bird earned $2,228,637 during his career with a second place finish in the Preakness Stakes behind champion filly Rachel Alexandra and a third place effort behind Summer Bird and Dunkirk in the Belmont Stakes.

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Posted: January 29th, 2014


Feature film about Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, an inspiring underdog tale of misfit cowboys and their long shot racehorse, starring Skeet Ulrich, Christian Kane, William Devane, Madelyn Deutch, Todd Lowe and jockey Calvin Borel.

Hollywood, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2014) — The cast and filmmakers of ‘50 to 1’ will hit the road rock-star style on a cross-country tour beginning March 17 to promote the major motion picture’s release, says the film’s producer, director and co-writer Jim Wilson, Oscar®-winning producer of ‘Dances with Wolves.’

“We’re bringing ‘50 to 1’ to the people of America,” Wilson says. “The group will travel in a tour bus from New Mexico to Kentucky, making stops in cities and towns along the way, mirroring the trip racehorse Mine That Bird took on his way to the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

Cast members joining the tour will be Skeet Ulrich (Jericho, ‘Scream,’ ‘As Good As It Gets’), Christian Kane (Leverage, ‘Friday Night Lights,’ ‘Secondhand Lions,’ ‘Just Married’), Todd Lowe (True Blood, ‘The Princess Diaries,’ Gilmore Girls) and Hugo Perez (‘Machete,’ ‘The Longshots,’ ‘Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay’). Also on tour will be Wilson and co-producer, co-writer Faith Conroy. The real Mine That Bird will make special appearances along the tour.

“When was the last time Hollywood’s leading men hopped on a bus and toured the country from town to town, introducing their film to the people of America?” Wilson says. “It’s unprecedented.”
Read more »

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