The Louisville Historical Museum began collecting items related to the history of the town in 1986. The collection consists of over 21,150 items. Initially focused on Louisville's early coal-mining origins from 1878 - 1955, the strengths of the collections are:
- Artifacts, maps, and records relating to coal mining in the area
- Historic photos of downtown Louisville
- Items relating to Louisville families and houses
- Items relating to immigrants who came to the Louisville area
- Business items from the Louisville area
The Museum continues to broaden the scope of its collection to represent and interpret the growth and diversity of Louisville's population and businesses from the 1950s to current day. The Museum’s holdings include artifacts that are exhibited and interpreted for visitors and archival materials for research. The Museum is also the repository for historical items from the administration of the town.
All items received by the Museum become the property of the City of Louisville. As the steward of valuable collections, the Museum and the City of Louisville maintain and interpret the Museum collections and fulfill the Museum’s mission.
The Louisville Historical Museum currently has a collection of over 4,800 photos that are viewable and searchable through the Museum website. The historic photo collection is searchable by keyword for subjects, family names, and street addresses.
Photo Reproduction & Purchase
Photo reproduction rights for personal or business use are available for a nominal fee. Use the form below to request a photo or use the "Send Us Feedback" button located in the top right corner of the image record within the online photo catalog. Be sure to note the image catalog number (e.g. 2019.001.012) when requesting an image.
Digital Public Library of America
The Louisville Historical Museum shares its online collection of historic photos and artifacts as part of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). DPLA is a national consortium consisting of libraries, museums, and archives across the country that have made their digital collections accessible through a single portal.
The Museum is pleased to share Louisville’s history with a wider audience and also access additional historical resources related to Louisville that are housed at other institutions. DPLA also compiles images, documents and primary sources into online exhibits and research tools on a wide variety of themes. Louisville images included in these tools, add meaning and context to the interpretation of Louisville’s role in local and national events. The DPLA site can be searched by keyword, including family names and place names, for those interested in genealogical research or specific events.
Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC)
The Louisville Times from 1942 to 2007 is available online through the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC). A service of the Colorado State Library, the CHNC currently includes more than 1.5 million digitized pages, representing more than 380 individual newspaper titles published in Colorado from 1859 up to 2017.
Oral History Interviews Online
Thanks to the participation of dozens of Louisville residents and a talented and dedicated team of oral history program volunteers, the Louisville Historical Museum has a rich collection of filmed interviews documenting Louisville's unique history. The Museum has captured people's memories and stories about Louisville in over 170 hours of interviews conducted since 2009.
Watch interviews on YouTube:
Oral history interviews are occasionally shown on Louisville's Channel 8. If you have questions or would like to participate in the Museum's oral history program as a narrator or volunteer, please contact the Museum Coordinator:
Rex Theatre Curtain
This painted theater curtain, sporting ads from local businesses from the 1920s, hangs in the Historical Museum. A local fine arts restorer, Lisa Capano, completed cleaning of the curtain in 2016, removing decades of accumulated dust and grime.The Louisville Historical Museum is honored that the Rex Theatre curtain was selected as one of Colorado’s "Ten Most Significant Artifacts" in 2016.
Town Council minutes reveal that Louisville likely purchased the safe in 1895 for use in City Hall. Louisville resident Helen Caranci recalls using the safe when she worked for the town in 1943. In late 2006, to prepare for the renovation at City Hall, the safe was moved to the City Services building on Empire Road. It was too large to fit through any of the doors of the historical buildings of the Museum campus. Lisa Capano restored the antique safe and it is now on display at City Hall.
The Museum collections consist of the permanent collection, the education collection, and the reference collection.
- The permanent collection is made up of original and unique artifacts, photographs, and archival materials that are preserved and maintained in order to represent and share the story of Louisville's history, residents and businesses. These items are exhibited or stored at the museum in protected cases or managed environments.
- The education collection also includes artifacts, photographs, and archival materials and may also include reproductions and new items. The intention of the education collection is to allow visitors to learn about history through sensory learning by handling and using historic items. Education materials are used for demonstration purposes and can also be brought offsite for greater accessibility to a wider audience.
- The reference collection consists of books, newspapers, and other resource materials that are used for research and to provide a broader picture of Louisville and its role within larger historic movements and events.
The Museum appreciates offers of donations of artifacts, photographs, and documents relating to the history of the Louisville, Colorado area. Items are sometimes declined for different reasons, such as if they duplicate what is already in the collection, if the items don’t have a sufficient association with the history of the area, or due to considerations of space. If the donation proceeds, the donor will be asked to sign a Deed of Gift form that will be presented to the Louisville Historical Commission for acceptance at its next regular meeting. Donated items become the property of the City of Louisville. Please contact the Museum Coordinator to learn whether the Museum can accept a particular donation.
Contact the Museum Coordinator with donation questions:
Collections Management Policy
The Museum’s full scope statement is described in the Collections Management Policy.