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architect rendering of new campus concept design, overhead

Museum Conceptual Design

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Most recently, the City contracted with the architectural firm of the Roybal Corporation to develop a conceptual design of the building addition with input from citizens, staff, and board members. In December 2017, the City Council approved the Museum Conceptual Design.

Stay tuned for news about more developments as we continue to involve the public, ascertain community needs, and explore funding options.

A 14-Year Process

The following timeline shows the work that has gone into the development of the Museum in order to better meet the needs of the community and the public. Links to referenced documents are included here:


Pursuant to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, visiting museum experts assessed the Louisville Historical Museum as part of the Conservation Assessment Program (CAP). The CAP report recommended that the City increase storage space and staffing levels at the Museum. The report encouraged the City to move forward with a new building on the site and noted that it would also help address other issues, such as ADA accessibility. It recommended that the new building could serve “as the main entrance to the site or nucleus for the site,” as “[v]isitors could get a good orientation and then go through to the back to the see the historic buildings, gardens, and outbuildings.”


A strategic planning session for the Museum and the Louisville Historical Commission was conducted for the first time. The resulting plan that the Commission adopted was especially helpful in terms of its SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis.


Louisville voters approved a dedicated city tax for historic preservation, creating the City’s Historic Preservation Fund.


Within the City’s organization, the Museum was moved from the City Manager’s Office to be a division in the same department as the Library, alongside the Library division, with the new departmental name being changed to the Department of Library & Museum Services.


The City added a fire protection system and security system to the Museum.


The Museum Coordinator position was changed from a part time to a full time position, with 31 hours to be spent per week on Museum responsibilities and 9 hours per week paid out of the Historic Preservation fund to be spent researching and writing about historic buildings for the Planning Dept. and the public.


The Museum produced the 100th issue of its quarterly publication, The Louisville Historian.


Following how other city museums in the area are organized, and how the Library Board of Trustees and the Louisville Public Library Foundation are organized, the fundraising role of the Commission was separated from the role of the advisory board. The names of the nonprofit corporation and 501c3 were changed to The Louisville History Foundation, Inc. The Foundation became a private entity with its own bylaws and mission. The Historical Commission continued serving as an advisory board to the City.
Funded by the City of Louisville in partnership with the Louisville History Foundation, Metcalfe Architecture & Design of Philadelphia conducted a Needs Assessment of the Museum. This involved two visits and the organization of two public workshops designed to elicit input about the future direction of the Museum. Metcalfe proposed the construction of a “Community House” building addition. The resulting Needs Assessment Report is a part of the Museum Master Plan.


The City arranged for Artsmarket, Inc. to develop a Business Plan for the Museum. The resulting Business Plan is a part of the Museum Master Plan.

2016 & 2017

Museum staff wrote an Interpretive Plan and put together the Museum Master Plan with input from the Historical Commission, History Foundation, community members, and other City staff. City Council approved the Master Plan in early 2017.


The Roybal Corporation developed the Museum Conceptual Design for the building addition, and it was approved by City Council in December 2017. Louisville voters approved the continuation of the Historic Preservation Tax for ten more years by a vote of nearly 2 to 1 and approved up to 20% of funds to be used for Museum operations and maintenance, starting in 2019.