Frazier History Museum
Frazier History Museum
The Frazier is a history museum located in the West Main District of downtown Louisville. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the Frazier documents and reinterprets stories from history using artifacts, exhibitions, and live interpretations written and performed daily by a talented staff of teaching artists. With the opening of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Welcome Center and the Spirit of Kentucky® exhibit in 2018, the Frazier became the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.
Founded in 2004 by local philanthropist Owsley Brown Frazier, the Frazier was originally called the Frazier Historical Arms Museum. Shortly after opening, the museum expanded its focus to topics of U.S. and world history, with a focus on the state of Kentucky. The Frazier now houses of one of the largest collections of toy soldiers and historical miniatures on permanent public display in the world, The Stewart Collection. Subjects of other permanent exhibitions include Lewis & Clark, the Civil War, and Bourbon whiskey. In 2018, the Frazier became the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.
The permanent collection features a wide array of historically significant arms and artifacts of American, American Indian, Asian, and European origin. Arms of notable provenance include Teddy Roosevelt’s “Big Stick,” Custer’s pistols, and Geronimo’s bow and arrows. Other rare and noteworthy objects include a surplus grave marker from the Battle of Little Bighorn, a first edition copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the arrest warrant issued for Mary Todd Lincoln.
With over 30,000 figurines, vehicles, and accessories representing some 170 different toy soldier and miniature makers, The Stewart Collection at the Frazier constitutes “one of the finest collections of rare historic toy soldiers on permanent public display in the world today,” according to Old Toy Soldier. Another major permanent exhibition is The Spirit of Kentucky®, a visual guide to the history, craft, and culture of Bourbon. Features include a covered bridge, a touch-screen library, and a bottle hall stocked with hundreds of different Bourbons.
The museum rents out select spaces for weddings, meetings, and other private events. Spaces for rent include the Gateway Garden, a linear courtyard populated with native Kentucky plants; the First Floor Great Hall, an atrium with a sweeping terrazzo staircase; and the Rooftop Garden, which has seasonal blooming flowers and a view looking out across the Ohio River. Other rental spaces include the Classroom, the Champagne Parlor, the Speakeasy, the Order of the Writ, the Boardroom, and the Fourth Floor Loft.