The International Museum of the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park announced the launch of the Chronicle of African Americans in the Horse Industry, a new website designed to increase awareness, education and access to African American history. The site builds upon information discovered for the museum’s permanent exhibit, Black Horsemen of the Kentucky Turf.
Through a collaborative effort between individuals, organizations and communities, the goal of this digital history platform is to uncover, collect, document and make accessible the history of African Americans in the horse industry. The Chronicle relies on researchers finding archival materials, as well as family members sharing their stories, photos, documents and memorabilia.
The International Museum of the Horse invites African Americans who currently work or have worked with horses, in any discipline, anywhere throughout the U.S. to contribute their history to this remarkable historical collection.
The digital archive allows contributors to tell their personal stories without letting go of family treasures. Oral histories are archived at the museum’s partner repository, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky.
In 2018, the museum began website development with input from the community on what content should be included and how to make the content accessible to the public. With the support of Phoenix Rising Lex, a grassroots organization that promotes the cultural history of Lexington’s early horse racing industry, contributions for the website began in the spring of 2019, with the museum hosting History Harvests at the Lyric Theatre in Lexington, Kentucky.
The mission of the International Museum of the Horse is to provide education on the relationship between humans and horses throughout history. Ten teacher representatives were selected to work with the museum to create educational modules based on the website’s content. These modules include American history from the perspective of men and women who have worked with horses across eras that span from 1619 to the present day.
Funding for the website was provided by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, Museums for America, Learning Experiences grant and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation. Additional funding was allotted from the Kentucky Foundation for Women Art Meets Activism Grant to assist the museum with the hiring of five African-American women to write narratives for the website.
To preview the website, visit https://youtu.be/B_ul2_lnIEg for an introductory video.