Virtual Kentucky Derby Museum

We've been working on bringing you a Virtual Museum experience on our website so you can enjoy the #MuseumfromHome and keep on celebrating #DerbyEveryDay with us! Each day we'll bring you featured artifacts, fun facts, Oral History videos, Educational Lessons, activities you can do at home, and more! 

We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch via email at info@derbymuseum.org or any of our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To keep up-to-date on news about the Museum and our events, sign-up for our E-Newsletter.

Use #derbyeveryday to share your at-home Derby projects with us!

 

April 9, 2020:

Today we want to talk about one of the signature traditions of the Kentucky Derby: the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home.” We will share memories, some historical background on the song, and highlight the musicians who perform the song to a crowd of more than 160,000 people every year.

 

See it in action - on Derby Day and in school!

For those of our fans who haven't witnessed the performance on Derby Day, we wanted to show "My Old Kentucky Home" in action! First, watch the youtube video posted by the Twinspires youtube channel - it showcases the horse parade and the UofL Marching Band performing to a massive crowd of 167,227 fans at the 142nd Kentucky Derby, May 7, 2016, at Churchill Downs.

Then watch the second video: a short clip of Heather Hill, the Museum's Outreach Education and Program Coordinator, singing "My Old Kentucky Home" on Outreach to a group of kids. Heather travels all over the state of Kentucky to schools, providing educational programs to students of all ages, all focused around the Kentucky Derby.

 

 

My Old Kentucky Home Sheet Music

Featured Blog:

We Will Sing One Song: Singing My Old Kentucky Home at the Derby

When the last stanza begins with “Weep No More My Lady…” a noticeable crescendo engulfs the racetrack and then, it seems that for a moment, all 160,000 or so people in the crowd – from the well-heeled in the posh clubhouse to the mass of humanity in the infield – are all Kentuckians, gathered on the first Saturday in May to celebrate one of Kentucky’s great historical, cultural and economic contributions – it’s horses.

But the song is so much more than that. Learn about this history of the song, written around 1852 by composer Stephen Foster.

Read blog >

 

Oral History Collection Featured Clip:

Patti Cooksey reflecting on her memory of the sights and sounds when she rode aboard So Vague in the 1984 Kentucky Derby.

 

Fun Fact: The University of Louisville Marching Band, in their snappy red, white and black uniforms, plays the soft opening of “My Old Kentucky Home,” a song that has been played at every Kentucky Derby since at least 1921. According to the Official Kentucky Derby Media Guide, the U of L Marching Band first played the song on Derby Day in 1936. They've played it almost every year since.

 

April 8, 2020:

In Louisville, April has become known as Mint Julep Month®. Louisville Tourism debuted Mint Julep Month® in 2013 as a way to draw attention to the city in the spring and to create excitement around the Kentucky Derby season. Even though the Kentucky Derby season has been pushed back this year to August/September, we want to give everyone something to look forward to post Covid-19.

Mint Julep infront of Historical Landmark plaque

Featured Tour: Bourbon and Bridles

This tour combines two of Kentucky’s most treasured icons: bourbon and Thoroughbreds. This tour begins with a visit next door at Churchill Downs and intertwines the history of bourbon and horse racing in Kentucky. You’ll pick up historical facts about the Mint Julep. It originated in the 18th century in connection with U.S. Senator of Kentucky, Henry Clay. Helena Modjeska, a famous actress of her time, attended the third running of the Kentucky Derby in 1877. She was impressed by the Derby, but even more impressed when she was introduced to the Mint Julep by the Derby's founder, Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. In many large gatherings, the Julep was prepared in a large silver bowl and passed around to guests. However, Modjeska took a sip and rather than pass it on, she declared the drink to be supreme and asked Col. Clark to prepare one for her husband; she finished the bowl. The tour ends inside the Museum’s Derby Cafe Express, an official stop on Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail, where guests enjoy a bourbon tasting along with an interactive lesson on how to make and enjoy the famous Mint Julep.

Learn more >

 

Hat Contest Highlight:

The mint julep hat featured is a submission by Helen Overfield to the 2019 Hat Contest competition and is on display in the "It's My Derby" fashion exhibit.

The "It's My Derby" fashion exhibit takes entries from both professionals and amateurs to enter their hats for inclusion in the exhibit. The annual hat contest is a signature element of the exhibition which strives to capture the spirit associated with the landmark sport and cultural event that is the Kentucky Derby.

Learn more >

Mint Julep Derby Hat

 

Kentucky Derby, Fashion, and the Mint Jelup
#derbyeveryday

 

1995 man in homemade Derby hat

Featured Blog:

Outlandish Designs and Dressing to the Nines: 146 Years of Derby Fashion
Part 3: You Ain’t Never Seen Nothin’

Post-1960 Derby celebrations saw an explosion of creativity and exuberance and personal expression. Derby Day will always be the best place to go big, or go home.

Read blog >

 

April 7, 2020:

Virtual Field Trip

"The Show Must Go On: 146 Years of Derby Resilience"

Learn about challenges the Kentucky Derby has had to overcome throughout its 146 years and how it has become the America’s longest continuously run sporting event. It is truly “The Greatest Race.”

This Social Studies-based Powerpoint mini-lesson is just one part of the overall Virtual Field Trip experience that our Education team has put together for teachers and parents to use with their students from home. Let us bring the Derby to you!

Learn more about the Virtual Field Trip >

 

Fun Fact:

Come rain or shine, crowds who gather for the Kentucky Derby don't let the weather get them down. It has rained noticeably on 32 of the 145 Derby Days in history. For a long time, Exterminator's 1918 Kentucky Derby held the record for the most rainfall in a 24 hour period, clocking in at 2.31". However, in 2018, Triple Crown winner Justify crossed the finish line on the sloppiest track: 3.15" of rain fell that day, and nearly 2" fell between the hours of 4 and 5 PM.

Watch the 2018 Kentucky Derby on Youtube >

Justify at 2018 Kentucky Derby
2018 Kentucky Derby: Rainy Memories
#derbyeveryday

 

Photo from the Archive

In 1965 there was a small fire in a section of the Clubhouse at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. No one was hurt and damage was minimal, but track photographers managed to capture this awesome photo of the blaze before it was extinguished.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack

1965 Fire in the Clubhouse Seats

 

April 6, 2020:

Virtual Historic Walking Tour, P4:

This is part four of the virtual Historic Walking Tour of Churchill Downs®, led by our very own Barry Northern!

The Historic Walking Tour comes free with a general admission ticket to the Kentucky Derby Museum. It is a 30 minute, guided walking tour of historic Churchill Downs Racetrack. Learn about past Derby winners and the rich history of this location. Visitors walk through the property to the paddock and out to the grandstand learning trivia and fun facts along the way.

Learn more about this tour >

 

Steve Buttleman Churchill Downs Bugler

Featured Article:

Curious Louisville's "Curious Derby: 20(ish) Questions With Bugler Steve Buttleman"

Written by Laura Ellis. As part of Curious Louisville's "Curious Derby" series, they chatted with Churchill Downs’ official bugler, Steve Buttleman, about the origins of the Call to the Post that he plays before each race.

Read the full article >

 

Steve Buttleman is so beloved and iconic that he even appears in student art from our Horsing Around With Art competition

 

Linkin' Bridge Singing on Oaks Day

Fun Fact:

Every year the National Anthem is sung by a well-known musical artist or group at the Kentucky Derby before the race begins. Such artists have been Lady Antebellum, Mary J. Blige, Rascal Flatts, and Harry Connick Jr.

Watch a few of the National Anthem performances on Derby Day >

 

April 5, 2020:

Red Cross Nurses in Winners Circle 1942

Marcy's Photo Finds

Marcy Werner, the Museum's Digital Imaging Specialist, has curated a selection of images that she's uncovered in the photo archives of Churchill Downs' collection. We plan on sharing some of these photo finds over the next month.

"The photography, people, and history here are fascinating and when all those come together, I just have to share. I have the privilege (and the software) to really zoom in on these photos. Couple that with the fact I am a photo geek and I can find just about anything worth sharing in any photo. I hope you enjoy!"
- Marcy Werner

View "Photo Finds" PDF >

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack

 

Kuprion Photo Finish Camera

Featured Artifact:

Original Kuprion Photo Finish Camera

This is the original Kuprion Photo Finish Camera with attached electric motor. The development of this camera was called one of the great progressive steps in horseracing during the first half of the 20th century from the date of its first use in 1936.

View on our online collection >

 

Amazon Prime Movie Recommendation:

50 to 1 (2014)

Directed by Jim Wilson
PG-13 | 1h 50min | Drama

Based on a true story of underdog Thoroughbred racehorse “Mine That Bird” who won the 2009 Kentucky Derby at 50 to 1 odds.

50 to 1 2014 Movie Poster

 

April 4, 2020:

Featured Video: Storytime with Chami

Chami reads Klippity Klop

Today the Kentucky Derby Museum's Educational Assistant, Chami Weeratunga, reads the children's book "Klippity Klop" by Ed Emberley. Published by Little Brown & Co. in 1974. When Prince Krispin goes adventuring he discovers one advantage of staying safe at home.

After watching the video, think about these questions: How does making the sounds help this story come alive? Can you think of other books where making sounds makes the story more fun?

 

146 Derby glass close-up

Featured Blog:

What was the slowest Derby ever run?

A lot of you probably wanted to say 1891, when Kingman crossed the wire at 2:52.25. Technically, you’d be right, but I’m here to tell you about the Kentucky Turtle Derby and a brave—but very slow—little terrapin named Broken Spring.

As we near 2020’s now-vacant Derby date of May 2nd, perhaps we can learn something from the intrepid wartime racing lovers of 1945. When everything seemed bleak, and a hallowed Louisville day on the calendar begged to be occupied with something to delight and entertain, the community came together and gave each other something to smile about. #TogetherKY

Read blog >

 

Educational Activity:

In light of the featured blog about the Kentucky Turtle Derby in 1945, we made a fun coloring sheet of a jockey riding a turtle. Sometimes slow and steady does win the race.

After reading the blog, answer these questions: What was a positive outcome of the turtle derby? Compare the 1945 Derby to 2020, what are some similarities? Differences? Since the 2020 Derby is postponed, how would you celebrate on May 2nd this year instead?

Share a photo of your colored sheet on Facebook and Instragram with #derbyeveryday.

Download Coloring Sheet

Turtle and Jockey Drawing

 

April 3, 2020:

Virtual Historic Walking Tour, P3:

This is part three of the virtual Historic Walking Tour of Churchill Downs®, led by our very own Barry Northern!

The Historic Walking Tour comes free with a general admission ticket to the Kentucky Derby Museum. It is a 30 minute, guided walking tour of historic Churchill Downs Racetrack. Learn about past Derby winners and the rich history of this location. Visitors walk through the property to the paddock and out to the grandstand learning trivia and fun facts along the way.

Learn more about this tour >

146 Derby glass close-up

Featured Blog:

The Twin Spires: The Iconic Symbol of Churchill Downs

The year 2020 will mark the 125th anniversary of the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. Learn more about the origin and significance of the Spires.

Read blog >

 

Photo from the Archive

This 1905 photo of the first turn of the Kentucky Derby shows a view of the Grandstand, built 10 years earlier in 1895.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack

1905 Kentucky Derby First Turn on the Track

 

1918 Derby Winner Exterminator

Best Kentucky Derby Moments:

1919 through 1934 Kentucky Derby Races

Check out this early footage of the Kentucky Derby from 1919 to 1934. The video starts off as a silent film then progresses to sound over the course of that 15-year period of time.

Watch the Kentucky Derby from 1919-1934 >

 

April 2, 2020:

1937 Post Cover Hat

Featured Blog:

Outlandish Designs and Dressing to the Nines: 146 Years of Derby Fashion
Part 2: New Century, New Looks

Part two of our history of Derby ensembles takes a look at the rapidly-evolving frocks and trimmings for fashionable trackside ladies through the Jazz Age and into wartime.

Read blog >

 

Kentucky Derby Fashion 1900-1950
#derbyeveryday

 

Trivia Question

Which hat did the Queen of England wear to the Kentucky Derby in 2007?

Queen of England in 3 hats

Answer A:

The Queen of England attended the Kentucky Derby in 2007, the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. She traveled with her husband, Prince Philip. Kentucky Derby Museum has a replica of this hat on display in our fashion exhibit.

If you like this, check out the Daily Trivia questions on our Instagram Stories!

 

Hat Coloring Sheet

Educational Activity:

Today we put together a coloring sheet activity where you can design your own Derby hat. Express your style and then share a photo of your colored sheet online with us at #derbyeveryday.

Download Coloring Sheet

 

April 1, 2020:

Virtual Historic Walking Tour, P2:

This is part two of the virtual Historic Walking Tour of Churchill Downs®, led by our very own Barry Northern!

The Historic Walking Tour comes free with a general admission ticket to the Kentucky Derby Museum. It is a 30 minute, guided walking tour of historic Churchill Downs Racetrack. Learn about past Derby winners and the rich history of this location. Visitors walk through the property to the paddock and out to the grandstand learning trivia and fun facts along the way.

Learn more about this tour >

 

146 Derby glass close-up

Featured Blog:

The Official Mint Julep Glass: What Makes Something Collectible?

The Official Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Glass has been a popular collectible for many years. Limited production runs or mistakes can make these highly sought after at auctions and other places of public sale. With the Kentucky Derby being postponed, the 146th Kentucky Derby glass has the date of May 2nd. Will the date change increase the value to collectors?

Read blog >

 

Vintage Derby Glasses

Vintage Derby Glasses:

Are you a collector of Derby memorabilia? Did you know the Museum's gift shop has a vast collection of vintage Derby glasses, ranging from the year 1959 until today? If you're missing a year, maybe we have it! Help support the Kentucky Derby Museum and fill in your Derby glass collection all at the same time!

Browse our vintage Derby glass collection >

 

Tatanka & Poppy at the Farm

Tatanka sure seems to be enjoying his time in quarantine at Moserwood II Farm. We hope everyone is eating healthy and staying active at home!

Horses in field

 

March 31, 2020:

Have you ever wondered what the horse statue represented out front of the Museum? Today we want to talk about that immortalized horse, Barbaro. Barbaro will be remembered for his six, first-place finishes, including the 2006 Kentucky Derby which he dominated by 6 1/2 lengths. Two short weeks later, with whispers of Triple Crown possibilities at a full roar, he shattered his leg in the Preakness. The heroic struggle that followed created a swell of national attention and support for this racing champion. The memorial in front of the Museum celebrates Barbaro's courage in the face of a year-long struggle against his injury and resulting infections. Barbaro brought the passion for racing beyond the industry… igniting emotion in children and inspiring those who had never seen a race.

 

Barbaro Statue

Barbaro Memorial Statue

The bronze statue, created by Kentucky artist Alexa King, showcases Barbaro and jockey Edgar Prado in mid-flight between strides nearing the finish line in the 2006 Kentucky Derby. The statue is attached to a horizontal bronze rail that supports the 1,500-pound sculpture and creates an impression that Barbaro and his rider are suspended in air. It is the first time that an equine statue of this size and scope has been presented in this manner, with all four of the horse’s feet off the ground.

Barbaro’s ashes were interred beneath the memorial. The sculpture was dedicated on April 26, 2009.

Watch this 30 minute documentary about the creation of the Barbaro statue and the artist, Alexa King. Produced by Allison Pareis.

 

Educational Activities:

Today we bring you TWO educational activities, both in relation to the star of today, Barbaro!

Clay sculpture of horse head

Let's Make a Horse Head Sculpture!

Together let's make some homemade clay from common household ingredients and learn how to shape it into a horse head sculpture! We'll learn about design, balance, and engineering - techniques that Alexa King, artist of the Barbaro Memorial Statue, relied on when creating the statue. Share your own clay creations with us on social using #derbyeveryday!

Download Horse Sculpture Lesson >

Barbaro Coloring Sheet

Barbaro Coloring Sheet:

Color your own Barbaro! Share a photo of your colored sheet online with us at #derbyeveryday.

Download Barbaro Coloring Sheet >

 

Kid's artwork of Barbaro Statue

Art-Questrians: Summer Art Camp

At the end of July we are planning to host our Art-Questerians: Summer Art Camp. It will be a week of inspiration and education, as we learn, create and exhibit works from some of Louisville’s most creative and gifted artists – YOU!

Last year's camp attendees took part in a watercolor lesson in front of the Barbaro Statue.

Learn more >

 

Share your photos from out by the Barbaro Statue!
#derbyeveryday

 

March 30, 2020:

1918 Derby Winner Exterminator

Best Kentucky Derby Moments:

1918: Exterminator

An example of a bygone era, 1918 Kentucky Derby winner Exterminator actively raced until the age of 9. During that time, he had a now unheard of 100 total starts. Due to his gangly appearance, many fans referred to him as “Old Bones.” In the 1945 book, Down the Stretch, Churchill Downs’ legendary Matt Winn stated, “Exterminator was the greatest all-round American thoroughbred I ever saw.”

Watch video footage from the 1918 Kentucky Derby >

 

Newspaper article of early fashion

Featured Blog:

Outlandish Designs and Dressing to the Nines: 146 Years of Derby Fashion
Part 1: Origins of the Derby Fashion Tradition

For those of you who thought fashion was just about the clothes we put on, think again. The history of fashion is the history of people: how we relate to each other, what our customs and values reveal about us, who we are.

Read blog >

 

Today's Derby Fashion

After reading the featured blog from today, compare some of the early fashion with what people are wearing today. What do you think Derby fashion will be like 50 years from now?

 

March 29, 2020:

Today is all about our horses and the Helen B. "Penny" Chenery Stable, named in honor of Helen B. "Penny" Chenery (January 27, 1922 – September 16, 2017), owner of Kentucky Derby winners Riva Ridge and Secretariat. The Museum's stable houses a permanent resident named Tatanka, a 5-year old, pinto-colored pony who serves as a companion to our Resident Thoroughbred. "Resident Thoroughbred" is a title we give to the visiting Thoroughbreds that stay in our stable for a few months at a time. The visiting Thoroughbreds often have ties to horseracing and share bloodlines with notable racehorses. Our current Resident Thoroughbred is Populist Politics, or "Poppy" for short. Due to the Museum being temporarily closed, we brought Poppy and Tatanka to Moserwood II Farm in Pleasureville, Kentucky. They are being well-taken care of and get to play with each other all day.

Populist Politics

Populist Politics

  • Bay Colt
  • Foaled: February 11, 2008
  • Bloodlines include: Mr. Prospector, Seattle Slew, Raise a Native, Northern Dancer and Secretariat
  • Career earnings: $653,396
  • Race record: 45 starts, 10 wins, 8 place, 8 show
  • Owner: Generously on loan from Robin Murphy, Poplar Creek Horse Center, Bethel, Ohio
Tatanka

Tatanka

  • Gelded Pinto-colored Pony
  • Foaled January 15, 2015
  • 39 inches tall and 380 lbs

As a companion pony, Tatanka provides support, friendship, and helps calm our Resident Thoroughbred

Tatanka & Poppy at the Farm

Tatanka may be small but he sure does love to play with Poppy, and Poppy is thankfully a sweetheart who doesn't mind. Tatanka, how did you get your hoofprint on Poppy's neck? Silly boys!

Horses in field

 

Oral History Collection Featured Clip:

Penny Chenery, owner of Derby winners Riva Ridge and Secretariat, discusses one of her favorite things about the racetrack.

 

 

We can't get over how adorable miss Lydia is coloring one of our coloring sheets at home! Today is extra special because it's her birthday! We wish you a happy birthday, Lydia!

#derbyeveryday

Want to color the same sheet Lydia colored? Here it is!

Lydia and her artwork

 

March 28, 2020:

Happy Saturday everyone! After making it through another week of anxiety and uncertainty, we hope you can unwind and take it easy at home today. We've prepared a couple of activites that can keep you entertained during this time of quarantine.

Featured Video: Storytime with Ronnie

Ronnie reads I Rode the Red Horse: Secretariat's Belmont Race

Today we wanted to read to you about one of the all time greatest race horses, Secretariat, who won the Kentucky Derby in 1973. Ronnie Dreistadt, Manager of Education Services, reads I Rode the Red Horse: Secretariat's Belmont Race, written and illustrated by Barbara Libby and published by Blood-Horse Publications. Available on Amazon.

Before watching the video, review these pre-lesson vocabulary words:

  • Burnished - to polish
  • Glinting - to reflect small flashes of light
  • Sire - the male parent of an animal
  • Dam - the female parent of an animal
  • Roisterous - to revel noisily
  • Tele-Timer - An electronic device that measures time in a horse race

After watching the video, consider this writing prompt:

Throughout the story, Ron Turcotte, the jockey, described his special relationship with Secretariat. Write about how Turcotte respected and trusted his horse in the most important race of their careers.

Share your student's responses with us at #derbyeveryday

 

Reading List Blog

Recommended Reading:

Five Books to Prepare You for Derby Season

The Kentucky Derby may have been postponed due to the current health crisis, but the arrival of spring still will bring memories of Derby season for many race fans. In recognition of this, we want to share a list of five books to tide you over until September 5, 2020.

List of books and short bios >

 

Netflix Movie Recommendation:

War Horse (2011)

Directed by Steven Spielberg
PG-13 | 2h 26min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.

Educational Activity:

While watching the movie, fill out these viewing questions.

Enjoy!

War Horse 2011 Movie Poster

 

March 27, 2020:

In honor of #WomensHistoryMonth, we are highlighting Donna Barton Brothers, the second-highest earning female rider in history!

Oral History Collection Featured Clip:

All three of trailblazing female jockey Patti Barton's children became jockeys. Although her son, Jerry, grew too tall to continue riding, and her daughter, Leah, chose to retire to start a family, her other daughter, Donna, has become one of the leading female jockeys in history, retiring as the second highest earner as a woman in the sport. Hear Donna Barton Brothers describe how growing up with her mother's example helped her win races.

Donna Barton Brothers

Featured Jockey: Donna Barton Brothers

"We were now in an era where jockeys were going to the gym and working out. In Mom’s era they didn’t. They got strong from farm work, from barn work, from getting on a lot of horses in the morning and riding as many races as they could. And so I would go to the gym and work out with a lot of the jockeys that I rode with, and they knew I was as strong as them because I could out-benchpress everybody at the gym that I lifted with besides Mike Smith. I could out-benchpress most of the other jockeys. And as far as legs go, they knew that I could kill them on legs, too, so none of the jockeys when I was riding could ever say that we weren’t as strong, cause they knew better.”
-Donna Barton Brothers

Learn more about our upcoming exhibit "Right to Ride" >

 

Fun Fact

Three fillies have won the Kentucky Derby: Regret (1915), Genuine Risk (1980) and Winning Colors (1988).

 

Diane Crump Coloring Sheet

Educational Activity:

Today we put together another coloring sheet, this time of Diane Crump! Diane was the first woman to ride in a professional horse race in the United States in 1969, and the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby in 1970. Share a photo of your colored sheet online with us at #derbyeveryday. Need inspiration? Look below at Cherish Lancaster's art!

Download Coloring Sheet

 

Check out this Horsing Around With Art piece of Diane Crump!

This artwork won the Employees' Choice Award, sponsored by Kentucky Derby Museum employees. The Employee's Choice Award is given to the artist whose work is “voted to be the overall favorite by the employees of the Kentucky Derby Museum.”

This year's winner was Cherish Lancaster, a sophomore at Christian Academy of Louisville

Diane Crump artwork

 

March 26, 2020:

Virtual Historic Walking Tour, P1:

This is part one of the virtual Historic Walking Tour of Churchill Downs®, led by our very own Barry Northern! Barry is a born and bred Louisvillian who has a genuine passion and decades of knowledge on the Kentucky Derby, so be sure to take one of his tours when the Museum opens back up. We're not the only ones who love Barry - just search "Barry" on our Trip Advisor reviews to see what our guests have said about him!

The Historic Walking Tour comes free with a general admission ticket to the Kentucky Derby Museum. It is a 30 minute, guided walking tour of historic Churchill Downs Racetrack. Learn about past Derby winners and the rich history of this location. Visitors walk through the property to the paddock and out to the grandstand learning trivia and fun facts along the way.

Learn more about this tour >

 

Horsing Around with Art Exhibit

Featured Exhibit:

Horsing Around With Art

To everyone who loves the Kentucky Derby, we hope this collection of children's Derby-inspired art brings you joy in a time when it's most needed. We hope to see you soon, but in the meantime, we want to see how you're celebrating #DerbyEveryDay. Tag us in photos of your derby-inspired art!

View winning art from the 2019 - 2020 competition >

 

Image of war tanks

Featured Blog:

The Kentucky Derby: An Enduring Tradition

Traditions provide an anchor for us in a constantly moving world. Since its inaugural running in 1875, the Kentucky Derby has served as such. This international sporting and cultural event brings people together at a specific place and time to share a unique experience with family and friends. As we move past a calamitous time, this tradition may become even more important, just as it did for those coming out of wartime in the 1940s. Read blog >

 

March 25, 2020:

Oral History Collection Featured Clip:

We've got another Oral History video for you on our Virtual Museum today! Watch D. Wayne Lukas, four-time winning trainer of the Kentucky Derby, tell us how he watched the 1988 Kentucky Derby from a janitor's closet!

D. Wayne Lukas Exhibit

Featured Exhibit:

D. Wayne Lukas: The Modern Trainer

D. Wayne Lukas: The Modern Trainer chronicles the life and career of one of the most significant trainers of the current era. The exhibit illustrates how this Wisconsin native combined a love of horses, a strong work ethic and an innovative mind to change and enhance modern Thoroughbred training.

Learn more about this exhibit! >

Notes from the Curator

"In April 2017, legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas announced that the Kentucky Derby Museum would be the permanent home of the massive collection charting his still active career. That summer, the KDM team spent two weeks moving the over 1,300 piece collection to the Museum. It was both an exciting and intimidating task. However, I can honestly say that in my 20 plus years in the field, there have been few experiences that compare with having decades of history in front of you told through the lens of a single career. Finding a way to adequately share that story would be both an honor and a challenge."
-Chris Goodlett

Read the full note from Chris Goodlett about the process of translating Lukas's collection into a Museum exhibit >

Chris Goodlett

 

Horse Jockey Trophy coloring sheet

Educational Activity:

Today we put together another coloring sheet! While coloring, think of the following questions: If you owned a Derby horse, what would you name it? What color horse would you want? The Kentucky Derby trophy is made of gold. If you could design a trophy, what would you like it made out of? Share a photo of your colored sheet online with us at #derbyeveryday

Download Coloring Sheet

 

March 24, 2020:

Featured Video: Derby Academy Lesson 3

“Let’s Talk $$” (Economics)

Today we are traveling back in time to Lesson 3 (Economics) of our Derby Academy series, filmed in 2017. “Derby Academy” was designed for teachers to use to supplement curriculum in a variety of subjects for grades 4-8 and always tie to America’s longest, continuous, sporting event with curriculum you’re teaching in your classroom.

After watching the video, consider this writing prompt:

We know from this episode that the Kentucky Derby has about a half a billion economic impact on the regional economy in Kentucky. Think about your town. What events do you have where you live that attract people from other areas? Where do they spend money, and how does that money affect your community?

Share your student's responses with us at #derbyeveryday

 

The Greatest Race Movie in the Great Hall of the Museum

Featured Exhibit:

The Greatest Race

The Museum’s epic movie that puts you at the center of the Kentucky Derby experience has been edited to a 3 ½ minute video to give you a sneak peak.

Check out the exhibit! >

 

Photo from the Archive

Today we bring you a sweet moment between an unidentified horse and a handler from the 1940 Kentucky Derby. It's a good reminder to take care of each other and we'll get through this together.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack

Horse and Handler

 

Horse coloring sheet

Educational Activity:

We turned a photo of our Resident Thoroughbred into a coloring sheet, fun for all ages! Share a photo of your colored sheet online with us at #derbyeveryday

Download Coloring Sheet

 

March 23, 2020:

Featured Video: Derby Academy Lesson 1

Who Was Ansel Williamson? (Social Studies)

As a continuation of our featured video and fun fact from yesterday, we are traveling back in time to Lesson 1 of our Derby Academy series, filmed in 2017 for Black History Month. “Derby Academy” was designed for teachers to use to supplement curriculum in a variety of subjects for grades 4-8 and always tie to America’s longest, continuous, sporting event with curriculum you’re teaching in your classroom.

We hope that both teachers and parents can utilize our Derby Academy videos to engage their students/children at home.

After watching the video, consider this writing prompt:

Although Ansel Williamson trained the first Derby winner, why do you think that not much is known of his life? What are clues we have today that give us insight into Williamson’s life and character?

Share your student's responses with us at #derbyeveryday

 

Winning Colors Blanket of Roses

Featured Artifact:

1988 Garland of Roses won by Winning Colors

The Garland of Roses has become a coveted emblem of Kentucky Derby dreams. Made official by Churchill Downs in 1932, it has undergone many changes in its look. This 1988 garland won by Winning Colors, the most recent filly to win the Kentucky Derby, is one of the earliest examples of the garland being freeze-dried for preservation and made suitable for display in the home of the winning owner.

View on our online collection >

 

Ralph Steadman in front of his art

Featured Exhibit:

Ralph Steadman: The Art of Gonzo

Ralph Steadman: The Art of Gonzo commemorates the iconic artist’s historic 1970 visit to Churchill Downs to work with Kentucky journalist Hunter S. Thompson. In 2019, Churchill Downs invited Steadman to produce original work honoring his 1970 trip, which is a feature of this exhibition.

Learn more about this exhibit >

 

March 22, 2020:

Featured Video:

African Americans in Thoroughbred Racing

Learn about Oliver Lewis who won the first Kentucky Derby in 1875 on Aristides, along with two other significant African Americans in the horseracing industry (Jimmy Winkfield and Willie Simms).

 

Fun Fact:

Out of the 15 jockeys in that first Derby, 13 were ridden by black jockeys. Fifteen of the first 28 Derby winners were ridden by black jockeys.

Portrait of Oliver Lewis

 

At-Home Detective

Featured Blog:

What year was the Infield Tunnel built?

Here is what we are trying to validate: was the tunnel to the infield opened in 1939? While the photos in the Churchill Downs Racetrack photo collection appear to be dated correctly, a few times we’ve run across some discrepancies.

We challenge the at-home detective in you to help us figure out this mystery! Read blog to learn more >

 

March 21, 2020:

Featured Video:

Chief Artisans of the Kentucky Derby trophy

The Kentucky Derby Museum is incredibly excited to have an interview with Bill Juaire and Susanne Blackinton-Juaire. They create the coveted Kentucky Derby trophy every year. Watch as they tell their favorite stories about that famous trophy.

 

Photo of Eddie Arcaro Saddle

Featured Artifact:

Eddie Arcaro Saddle

This is the saddle used by Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro aboard Citation in the 1948 Kentucky Derby. Trained by the father/son team of Ben and Jimmy Jones and owned by the legendary Calumet Farm, Citation would go on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes on his way to sweeping the Triple Crown.

View on our online collection.

 

Fun Fact:

The trophy is made of 14 karat gold and it sits atop a jade base. It was introduced at the 1924 Kentucky Derby.

Trophy presentation of the 1924 Kentucky Derby

 

Derby Vocab Word Search

Educational Activity:

Learn some Derby vocabulary from home! Download our Derby Word Search, then learn about what each of those terms mean and how they are connected to horseracing. Share a photo of your completed word search sheet online with #derbyeveryday

Download Derby Vocabulary Word Search (includes definitions!)

 

March 20, 2020:

Oral History Collection Featured Video:

In honor of #WomensHistoryMonth we are featuring a clip from our interview with Diane Crump, the first female jockey to ride in a pari-mutuel race in the United States. Listen to Diane Crump herself talk about how she literally fought her way down the racetrack.

Learn more about our upcoming exhibit "Right to Ride" featuring female pioneers in the horseracing industry >

Tatanka & Poppy at the Farm:

Our Resident Thoroughbred (Populist Politics, aka "Poppy" for short) and companion pony (Tatanka) have been brought to Moserwood II Farm in Pleasureville, Kentucky, during the time the Museum is temporarily closed. They are being well-taken care of and get to play with each other all day. We plan on sharing more photos and videos of our beloved stablemates as we keep up with their shenanigans at the farm!

Populist Politics and Tatanka Tatanka playing with basketball

Featured Artifact:

Kentucky Derby Dice Game
Proof of the cultural significance of the Kentucky Derby can be seen in the many games produced over the years. This early 20th century Kentucky Derby Dice Game serves as only one example of the race’s enduring popularity.
This vintage item is a mechanical dice game. Along the top are pictures of horses numbered 2-12 with odds for each horse. In the center is a compartment that holds two dice that spin when the handle on the front is pulled. Along the top of the game are the words "Kentucky Derby/ patended and copyrighted". The bottom of the game is wood.

See more photos of this object by viewing our online collection

Kentucky Derby Dice Board Game

 

March 19, 2020:

Featured Blog: The Year There Almost Wasn't a Kentucky Derby

This will be the first time the Derby hasn’t run on the first Saturday in May since the end of World War II. Have you heard about the year there almost wasn’t a Kentucky Derby at all? Read our blog post about the 1945 Kentucky Derby >