Our Story

Portland Museum is an educational resource that collects, preserves, exhibits, interprets, and enhances the culture and heritage of Portland, a neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky that was once a thriving independent town.

At Portland Museum, we interpret history through the lens of arts and culture. Thus, we are not just a museum focused on the history of Portland – and inherently the history of Shippingport Island – we are so much more! We preserve local art, craft, and oral traditions; bring art and artists into the community; nurture community creative spirits and talents; use art as a vital tool for community development; and care for our museum collections of community artifacts and research.

The story of Portland Museum covers nearly 200 years of Kentucky culture — from the chartering of Portland as an independent town along the Falls of the Ohio to today’s contemporary Portland neighborhood — as well as moments in early cultural history that predate European settlers. From the museum’s humble start in 1978 as a classroom project in the former Roosevelt Elementary School, we have continued to educate and inspire the people of Portland while also engaging the neighborhood’s visitors.

In 1983, we purchased our current facility at Beech Grove, an 1852 Italianate residence on an estate along the historic “Louisville & Portland Turnpike.” With a modern addition built onto the front of the residence, the preservation of the original house displays a piece of Kentucky’s architectural history as a unique, touchable exhibit within the museum. There are also two rotating exhibition galleries and a “John James Audubon Gallery” located on the residence’s first floor. The modern addition houses the museum’s permanent exhibit; an architecture gallery; three rotating mini-galleries focused on Portland’s art, heritage, and community; a third rotating exhibition gallery; a workshop space for arts and public history education; a media room featuring a newsreel of the tragic 1937 flood; and the museum’s new destination gift shop. In addition, the museum’s printmaking studio, located on the first floor of Beech Grove’s former servants’ building, is equipped with various Chandler & Price presses, cases of foundry type, screen printing equipment, and bookbinding equipment. Most of the printmaking studio’s equipment and accessories are part of the museum’s collection, but we also utilize the studio to engage children and adults in various printing and book arts techniques.

The sum of all these parts is what makes Portland Museum a unique arts and culture experience within Louisville, Kentucky and the surrounding area.

Staff

– Ash Braunecker, Executive Co-Director
– Danny Seim, Executive Co-Director
– Anna Wilson, Outreach & Administrative Coordinator
– Bailey O’Leary, Education & Exhibition Coordinator

Board of Trustees

– Maria McGary, President
– Jon Cayot, Vice President
– Lacie Eubank, Secretary
– Wes Vance, Treasurer
– Kerrie Clifford, Member-At-Large
– Abby Glogower
– Beth Henson
– Bobby Shore
– Caroline Behrle
– Christa Iwu
– Doug Magee

– Ed White
– Heather Gotlib
– Jimmy Soto
– Joshua Hale
– Judy Schroeder
– Katy Delahanty
– Kristina Turner
– Lindsey Cummins
– Michael Janok
– Stan Squirewell
– Woo Smith