Kentucky Derby Museum
Churchill Downs Racecourse is home to one of the most prestigious thoroughbred horse racing events on the racing calendar, namely the Kentucky Derby. This event forms part of the Triple Crown series and has been run at Churchill Downs since 1875, making it a vital part of the track’s history and culture. To document the heritage of the Kentucky Derby, and afford visitors the opportunity to go back in time, the Kentucky Derby Museum was inaugurated in 1985 and welcomes approximately two hundred thousand visitors each year.
The Kentucky Derby Museum is located on the grounds of the Churchill Downs Racecourse, inviting race-goers to visit their exhibitions between or after racing. The museum is maintained through generous donations and memorabilia sales from the gift shop, which has allowed the museum to be renovated, and restored after suffering major damages during a flood in 2009. The Kentucky Derby Museum now boasts exhibits featuring the latest technology, breathtaking displays and interactive attractions.
Within the museum, visitors will be able to view past races dating back to 1918, at the Warner L. Jones Jr. Time Machine. The It’s My Derby display features information about the race and a variety of fashionable outfits and jewelry that were worn to the derby by celebrities such as Bill Samuels and Anna Nicole Smith. Visitors are also able to be an announcer for a few minutes in the Callers sound-proof both. A race will be shown on the monitor inside the booth, and visitors can try their skills at calling the race as it is being run. For visitors who would prefer a little more action, there is a Riders Up exhibit that has a horse simulator placed in front of a video screen. The simulation lasts for two minutes, and visitors will be required to keep a jockey stance on the horse simulator for the duration. Visitors will be able to experience everything a jockey does during a race. Other exhibits include silk displays, Test Your Derby IQ display, a derby hat collection, saddles, and a display on owners, breeders and trainers. A few noteworthy horses are also interred at the museum, namely Swaps, Brokers Tip, Sunny’s Halo and Carry Back, with Barbaro being interred in a life-size statue that is located just outside the museum. The Kentucky Derby Museum is as fun as it is educational, and is an attraction that both young and old can enjoy, while being whisked away on a journey of victory and legends.