The Collections at Portland Museum

Portland Museum has a substantial collection of approximately 5,300 objects. The collection encompasses the history of Portland — once an independent town at the Falls of the Ohio and now a neighborhood of Louisville — from its conception in 1811 to the present. Detailing the history and material culture of Portland, the collection plays an important role in understanding American life in a particular yet representative place and includes textiles, objects, photographs, paintings, significant archival material, and an extensive oral history collection. The works of several local artists are represented, as well as paintings and prints by John James Audubon. The collection is further informed by a research archive, including bodies of research by notable local historians.

In addition, the Squire Earick House — an “American Treasure” — is part of Portland Museum’s collection and is the oldest timber-framed house still standing in Jefferson County. The museum has been carefully restoring the Squire Earick House over the past couple of decades, Portland Museum’s Squire Earick House research highlights important stories about life on the river’s edge, flatboats, steamboats, the Underground Railroad, and more. In 2016, the museum began a preservation camp at the house through our Young Curators program where middle and high school students spend a week exploring “how we know what we know” about the house and what it means for a free-standing house to be part of a museum collection.

Research Requests

If you wish to inquire about a research request, please fill out the Research Request form below. There is usually a small fee associated with this service.

PLEASE READ: Unfortunately, the collection is not currently available to the public for research. While we work towards making the collection accessible, the staff will do its best to process research requests on an as-time-allows basis — but please keep in mind that we are a very small team, and the museum’s day-to-day upkeep and programming, as well as our current focus on facility and exhibit changes, has us generally spread thin.