Derby Museum Closed Through End of Year

Damaged by flood waters in August.

The Kentucky Derby Museum, heavily damaged by floodwaters in Louisville, Ky., Aug. 4, will be closed through the end of the year.

A release said a further examination of the museum’s contents found “that every exhibit on the main floor of the museum was affected by the flood. Exhibit fabrication specialists predict that full restoration of the exhibit spaces to their original condition would take at least three more months. The museum leadership awaits further estimates by insurance adjusters and contractors before moving forward.”

The Louisville area received more than six inches of rain in one hour Aug. 4, causing widespread flooding. One of the areas hardest hit was the historic racetrack property. The track was inundated with water, the paddock filled, and cars in the parking lot were covered. Several barns of horses were moved to a nearby training facility.

At the Derby Museum, personnel found water gushing into the lower level, unfortunately where the collections and archives were stored.

"We have been coping with the effects of this flood for a month and a half now. It's been difficult on our staff and frustrating for fans of the Derby Museum,” Kentucky Derby Museum executive director Lynn Ashton said in the release. “We continue to offer tours for the public but not being able to share the fun and excitement of the Kentucky Derby with visitors from around the world is disappointing to us. We've got a great team and the insurance companies along with the crews they've sent to support us, have helped us keep a positive outlook during this trying situation.”

According to the release, 27,457 items have been lost and submitted as claims to the insurance companies. These items include office supplies, furniture, items from the gift shop, and retail items from the online catalog department along with alcohol used by the Derby Café for events. Thirteen full-time staff members were displaced from their offices, and seven staff offices along with other storage and meeting rooms were destroyed.

In addition, 2,493 items from the collections and archival research departments had to be let go due to significant water damage. Most of the items lost are not considered irreplaceable but do represent a significant portion of the museum's research materials. These items include photographs, historic newspaper clippings, race meet programs, Daily Racing Forms, chart books, and other historical records.

Insurance estimates for damage and cleanup costs remain at more than $4 million. The Kentucky Derby Museum will have to pay about $100,000 in deductibles.