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”

Messy Generational ‘Layers’ Complicate Museum’s Task

YOU ARE HERE -> 1950s Historic house museums often face difficult decisions regarding which period of the house’s history to interpret.  This interpretive decision has proven to be a most complicated issue at Ashland.  Not only is Henry Clay’s original house gone, but five generations of his family occupied the estate and much of the … More Messy Generational ‘Layers’ Complicate Museum’s Task

Children at Ashland

Ashland for over 200 years has been a magical place for children to play.  From Henry Clay’s own children and grandchildren to his son James and Susan’s ten children, to his granddaughter Anne Clay McDowell’s girls, the estate’s young occupants delighted in their surroundings.  And it was not only the Clay children who grew up … More Children at Ashland

Ashland Grounds as Public Park: The Formal Garden

YOU ARE HERE -> 1950s-today When Ashland opened as a museum in 1950 the estate featured seventeen acres open daily to the public.  Although the mansion was the primary focus, from the beginning the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation emphasized Ashland’s spacious grounds and encouraged visitors to “pause” before entering the mansion to see the grounds, … More Ashland Grounds as Public Park: The Formal Garden

The Cottage At Ashland

It is the picturesque little building that most Ashland visitors first encounter: The Keeper’s – or Gardener’s – Cottage.  Adjacent to today’s modern parking lot, this original structure from Henry Clay’s time is a charmer. The Cottage was designed in 1846 by Thomas Lewinski, the Lexington architect who had helped Clay with some mansion remodeling, … More The Cottage At Ashland