A Treasured Artifact: Clay’s Ghent Jacket

YOU ARE HERE -> 1814-today A fragile and precious artifact periodically makes its appearance at Ashland today: Henry Clay’s ceremonial jacket that he wore at the signing of the Treaty of Ghent.  Clay had been part of the American delegation sent to Belgium to negotiate a peace treaty with the British in 1814, which effectively … More A Treasured Artifact: Clay’s Ghent Jacket

An American History Museum …in Henry Clay’s House

YOU ARE HERE -> c1820-1852 Ashland’s history is unique in the world of historic house museums in that there was an early and uncommon practice of displaying artifacts for a public audience …inside the Ashland mansion, while it was still a private dwelling.  Henry Clay himself initiated a particular manner of presenting the past in … More An American History Museum …in Henry Clay’s House

Interpreting Henry Clay in a Charming Home Environment

YOU ARE HERE -> 1950s-1970s Unlike many historic house museums, the public display of Ashland’s collection began during the domestic life of the founder’s—Henry Clay’s—home some 150 years before.  The coexistence of home and museum actually has a long history at Ashland; exhibiting and interpreting artifacts for the public has been occurring for almost two … More Interpreting Henry Clay in a Charming Home Environment

Giving the Impression that Henry Clay “may return at any moment”

YOU ARE HERE -> 1880s-1940s When Henry Clay’s son James and his wife Susan left Ashland during the Civil War, they placed their precious Clay heirlooms safely in family hands.  Their family line would retain a large portion of Henry Clay artifacts, many of which eventually found their way back to Ashland after 1950.  But … More Giving the Impression that Henry Clay “may return at any moment”

The Curious Case of The Golden Draperies

A bit of mid-twentieth-century Ashland history… On proud display in the Drawing Room for Ashland’s 1950 Opening Day were two pairs of elegant golden draperies.  These sophisticated window dressings would be for decades among the most prized of the museum’s artifacts. Director Lorraine Seay told the Lexington Herald-Leader in 1953, “Probably the items on display … More The Curious Case of The Golden Draperies

Straddling the Victorian and the Avant-garde at Ashland

YOU ARE HERE -> 1880s-1890s The McDowells performed a dramatic “inside job” at Ashland when they arrived in the early 1880s.  Keeping the exterior and floorplan of the mansion largely intact, they set about updating Ashland’s interior design. The McDowells were the first occupants to photograph the interiors of the mansion.  The modern idea of … More Straddling the Victorian and the Avant-garde at Ashland

The Exotic and Curious at Ashland: Kentucky University’s Natural History Museum

YOU ARE HERE -> 1860s-1870s After the Civil War Ashland was in the hands of the predecessor of the University of Kentucky: Kentucky University.  The estate was no longer a family home and farm, but instead a nascent college campus. SEE ALSO: Clay Family Loses Ashland, University of Kentucky Predecessor Moves In and Historic Homestead … More The Exotic and Curious at Ashland: Kentucky University’s Natural History Museum