Fans of the Kentucky Derby now have easier access to media and historic archives that date back to the mid-19th Century.
“There really was an impetus by our administration to really become the primary resource center for the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs,” says curator Chris Goodlet.
There are an estimated 17,000 items archived in the Colonel Clark Library. Some of them are under high security, Goodlet says.
One of the more impressive collections came from the late Jim Bolus, who wrote for the Louisville Times and Courier Journal.
“We have all his research collection. He kept meticulous files on the Kentucky Derby from 1875 up until 1995,” he says.
Archives have been available to the public before but it wasn’t easy to use the museum’s space for research, he says.
Louisville writer Bill Doolittle has written a book on the Kentucky Derby and says this is important for researchers and historians and for helping the museum becoming the horse racing version of Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame.
“When somebody comes across a special item or some old dusty thing in their attic, a photo or a book, there’s a place they would think of to do something with it,” says Doolittle.
The library is open on Tuesdays and by appointment.