Frazier History Museum

Arts and Humanities
4:18 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Exhibit at Frazier Museum Explores American Flag In All Its (Old) Glory

This flag from Kit Hinricks' collection flew during the Civil War, after which it adorned a ship in the Asiatic fleet, and was captured by the Koreans during a skirmish. When the flag was re-captured, the marines who saved it emblazoned it with “By Land or By Sea.”
Credit Frazier History Museum

Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty and the bald eagle are all instantly recognizable icons of the United States, but the American flag is not only ubiquitous, it's changed over time, and is easily adapted for interpretation. Historical flags, folk art, ephemera and artifacts featuring versions of the flag design are on display in “Long May She Wave: A Graphic History of the American Flag,” now showing at the Frazier History Museum.

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Arts and Humanities
1:00 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Frazier Extends Napoleon Exhibit, Adds Saturday Hours

Watch from "The Eye of Napoleon" exhibit.
Credit Frazier History Museum

The Frazier History Museum has extended the run on an exhibit of items from the private art collection of Napoleon Bonaparte.  “The Eye of Napoleon,” which opened in October, was originally scheduled to run at the Frazier through February 9, then move to Montreal, where it would open in the Notre Dame Basilica in May.

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Local News
6:13 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Legendary Louisville Cartoonist Hugh Haynie, Through His Son's Eyes

Hugh Haynie (used with permission)

Judge Smith Haynie has had a long day. He's tired from his work in the courtroom. But when he leaves the bench and heads to a museum showcase of his late father Hugh Haynie's editorial cartoons, he can't keep still.

"You want two famous cartoons?" he asks me as he bounds across a room in the Frazier History Museum. He's pointing at a pair of framed cartoons that comment on the U.S. space program of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He singles out one, which he calls "Moon Rocks."

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Arts and Humanities
4:18 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Battlefield, Palace, Exile: Frazier History Museum Offers Intimate Look at Napoleon

Napoleon's watch.
Credit Frazier History Museum

Pierre-Jean Chalencon was 13 when his father gave him a book about French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

“And I thought the first time it was a cartoon,” he says. “My father says no, it’s not like Superman, Napoleon exists, I’m going to show you his house, his country house!”

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Arts and Humanities
6:42 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Frazier History Museum's Popular Poe Program Peers Into the Tell-Tale Heart

Daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe 1848, first published 1880. Taken by W.S. Hartshorn, Providence, Rhode Island, November, 1848 From LoC "Famous People" collection [1], Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-10610
Credit Library of Congress

Beloved of weird kids and literary-minded adults alike, the popularity and influence of Edgar Allan Poe's poems and stories show no signs of flagging, even 164 years after his (quite mysterious) death. The Frazier History Museum knows—the museum has been bringing Poe's work to life during the Halloween season for four years now, adapting a total of 16 different stories and poems for the stage in intimate shows that tend to sell out early.

This year, alongside perennial favorites "The Raven" and "The Bells," the three-person cast will reprise their adaptation of the creepy monologue "The Tell-Tale Heart" as well as tackle some new material. The short stories "MS Found in a Bottle" and "The Fall of the House of Usher" will join "Annabel Lee" and "Dreamland" to round out the program.

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Arts and Humanities
10:14 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Free Admission to More Than 20 Kentucky Museums for Military Families

Soldier and knight exhibit at the Frazier History Museum.
Frazier History Museum

Institutions participating in the Blue Star Museums program are opening their doors free of charge to active duty military personnel and their families through Labor Day. 

More than twenty Kentucky museums and programs are included in the initiative, including the Frazier History Museum, Locust Grove, the Muhammad Ali Center, the Oldham County History Center and “KentuckyShow!” at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.

Arts and Humanities
1:59 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Frazier Museum Exhibit Explores Natural History, Science, Folklore Behind Mythic Creatures

There's more to the unicorn exhibit than this dramatic sculpture.
Erin Keane WFPL News

There’s no scientific proof that the elusive Bigfoot exists. The fearsome Chupacabra (a cryptid known in Puerto Rico and Mexico as a small livestock vampire of sorts) doesn't belong to an identifiable genus or species. And yet, tales of unclassified creatures have endured across cultures and throughout history. 

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Strange Fruit
11:48 am
Sat April 6, 2013

Strange Fruit: A Look at the Transatlantic Slave Trade through "Spirits of the Passage" Exhibit

"He looked at me and smiled and put his hand in the sand, and put some sand into my hand. I didn't think much about it. And I looked at it, and it was full of trade beads. It was  full of the beads that were actually traded for people."

Even after studying it for years, Madeleine Burnside says the reality and magnitude of the Transatlantic Slave trade hit her in this moment, at the bottom of the ocean, exploring the shipwreck site of the Henrietta Marie. Dr. Burnside is the Executive Director of the Frazier History Museum, and she curated their current original exhibit, Spirits of the Passage

Dr. Burnside has studied the history of the slave trade for the last twenty years. "It's one of those subjects that when you start at all, it will not let you go," she says. For her, the story begins once you get past the horrific (but dry) statistics you learn in school. "You start to think about maybe just 200 people on a ship," she explains. "You start to imagine that you know these people as individuals, and I really sort of started to feel a really big responsibility to tell that story."

This week we went to see the exhibit, then sat down for a chat with Dr. Burnside about putting it all together. She says for her, it's not about the past at all (strange words coming from a historian!). "There's only one reason to study history, and that's to understand the future, not the past." To that point, she draws comparisons between the rebellion and resistance of enslaved Africans straight through to the struggles we still face today. "There's Civil Rights, there's women's rights, there's gay and lesbian rights, and then there's ADA. All of those people really built on Civil Rights and that struggle. And the 1960s struggle comes out of the 1860s struggle comes out of the 1760s struggle."

  One disturbing part of the exhibit is a collection of shackles that were used on enslaved people during transport. Within this case, among the battered-looking metal ankle and wrist restraints, is one very tiny set of shackles that could have only been used on a very small woman or on a child. But even this somewhat heart-wrenching artifact points to a strength of spirit. "There's no reason to restrain someone who doesn't fight," Dr. Burnside points out. "These people fought back."

While at the museum, we also ran into friend to the show Brian Lee West (you might remember him from our conversation about his work in the play Top Dog/Underdog). For the Spirits of the Passage Exhibit, he portrays Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian man who was captured as a child and sold into slavery. Brian tells us the story of Equiano's life and the amazing series of events that lead to his eventual freedom and authorship of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, a major work among North American slave narratives.

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Arts and Humanities
5:03 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Frazier Exhibit Shows Horrors of Slave Trade

Shackles from the "Spirits of the Passage" exhibit.
Frazier History Museum

The Frazier History Museum opens the first exhibit to examine the entire history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade with artifacts from an excavated slave ship. “Spirits of the Passage” is produced in partnership with the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, which performed the underwater excavation. The 4,000 square foot exhibit contains 150 historical artifacts retrieved from the wreck, as well as African art objects on loan from the Speed Art Museum and historical documents, paintings and illustrations related to the slave trade. 

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Arts and Humanities
9:00 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Quoth the Frazier: An Even Edgier Poe Takes the Stage at History Museum

Interpreters Tony Dingman, Kelly Moore and Eric Frantz during last year's "An Evening with Poe."
The Frazier History Museum

The Frazier History Museum’s historical interpreters are bringing the haunting stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe to life. This is the third year the Frazier has staged “An Evening with Poe,” and the program changes every fall. The show opens Wednesday evening. 

This year’s bill, which the Frazier has tagged "An Even Edgier Poe," includes haunted perennial favorites “The Raven” and “The Bells” as well as the grisly short stories “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Masque of the Red Death.”

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