Kentucky Derby Museum Opens Research Library and Shares Digital Collections

The Kentucky Derby Museum announces a new opportunity for researchers to access more than 10,000 collection items as they relate to Kentucky Derby history. The Colonel Clark Library houses items dating back to the mid-19th century providing extensive resources through books, newspapers, magazines and manuscripts and it will now be open for the first time as a publicly accessible research center.

The centerpiece of the Colonel Clark Library is the collection of Jim Bolus, long-time sports writer, historian and renowned expert on the Kentucky Derby. The Bolus Collection consists of thousands of research files, printed materials and recorded interviews covering the sport of Thoroughbred racing from 1875 to 1995. The Library also houses primary documents on the history of Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby since its inaugural running in 1875 and approximately 3,000 published volumes which include noted Thoroughbred industry publications such as The Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times and the Daily Racing Form.

In addition to the new library, the museum has begun digitizing pieces of the artifact collection. Interested researchers can now access a searchable database by clicking on the “collections” tab under “about us” on our website, then clicking “search our collection”. More than 2500 items archival and research items have been added to the online database to date and this resource is updated regularly with additional images and content. More than 10,000 artifacts are housed in the Kentucky Derby Museum’s collection in addition to the more than 10,000 research items.

The library is open on Tuesdays during the museum’s normal operating hours, free of charge and also available by appointment. The library is staffed by museum research personnel. Research items are readily accessible but may not leave the premises as this is not a ‘lending’ library.

For research inquiries, members of the public may contact the museum’s curator of collections, Chris Goodlett at 502-637-1111, ext. 259 or

Read Chris Goodlett's blog entry: "On What a Curator Does: Helping You Find Your Story"