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

Ashland the Private Home Overrun By Curious Tourists

YOU ARE HERE -> 1920s After her parents’ deaths, Nannette McDowell Bullock was the next descendant to take on the yoke of hospitality at Ashland.  Yet by the dawn of the twentieth century the number of people coming to see Henry Clay’s famous estate escalated and great-granddaughter Nannette struggled to cope. The automobile revolution between … More Ashland the Private Home Overrun By Curious Tourists

The Story of the 1846 Cottage At Ashland

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

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”

We Were Soon Perfectly At Home, As Everyone Must Be With Mr. Clay

YOU ARE HERE -> c1820s-1852 Henry Clay rose in an era when appearing to be a “commoner” was advantageous for one’s political image.  Andrew Jackson, the “common man,” benefited from this perception.  Henry Clay himself was known as the “Great Commoner,” but for Clay this was no act; in his words and behaviors, he personified … More We Were Soon Perfectly At Home, As Everyone Must Be With Mr. Clay

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