Like a true Southerner, the Kentucky Derby Museum welcomes guests with open arms and hospitality. Located at the entrance of famed Churchill Downs, the museum bestows upon all visitors an experience steeped in pride and tradition, but above all else, an education about one of America’s most prestigious sporting events.
Although the Kentucky Derby is hailed as “the greatest two minutes in sports”, visitors to the Kentucky Derby Museum will be inclined to spend hours among the museum’s permanent exhibits. Two floors of exhibits allow visitors an in-depth look at the history and tradition of Thoroughbred racing and the prestigious Kentucky Derby.
The first exhibit, entitled “The Derby Experience”, explores the colorful pageantry surrounding Derby Week and features a collection of handmade hats as well as a freeze-dried garland of roses donated by former winning Thoroughbred owners, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Ross.
The next exhibit is entitled “The Warner L. Jones, Jr. Time Machine”, which is a video archive allowing visitors to view film of every Kentucky Derby since 1918. Interviews with Derby-winning jockeys, trainers, and owners are also available on film for viewing.
“The Horses, Their Owners and Trainers” exhibit is devoted to the people who were instrumental in winning the Derby. Visitors can learn about the racing careers of some of the most famous Thoroughbreds in Derby history, from Secretariat to Seattle Slew.
The life of the jockey is the central theme of the next exhibit, “The Jockeys and the Backside”. In this exhibit visitors can learn about the daily life of a jockey as well as the people who work behind the scenes at the track and in the stable area, which is known as the “backside”.
The final exhibit on the first floor is the world’s first 360-degree high-definition video presentation. Entitled “The Greatest Race”, this area brings the thrill of the race to life with high-definition video which is updated every June, allowing guests to experience the most recent Derby victory.
On the second floor is the “Riders Up” exhibit, which allows visitors to mount a simulated Thoroughbred and try their hand at holding a jockey’s stance for two minutes, which is the length of time it takes for a jockey to complete the famous racetrack at Churchill Downs. Also on this floor, visitors can test their Derby IQ with interactive trivia, or explore the history of African-Americans in Thoroughbred racing. There is even an exhibit entitled “Place Your Bets” where guests can learn the basics of handicapping horse races.
The Kentucky Derby Museum
704 Central Avenue
Louisville, KY 40208
Call (502) 637-7097 for information.