Who we are
Founded in 1978 by elementary school teachers, the Portland Museum grew from a single classroom to its present location in Beech Grove, an antebellum “country seat” on the old road between Portland and Louisville. The on-going restoration of Beech Grove, an 1852 Italianate residence with vintage gardens, serves to tell the story of William and Mary Skene whose family lived here for eight decades. In a modern addition, the Portland Museum uses long-term and temporary exhibits to tell the story of Portland – a Louisville, Kentucky neighborhood that is rich with history and folk life.
Beech Grove Press, a letterpress studio, is equipped with Chandler & Price presses, cases of foundry type, and bookbinding equipment. Here, as funding permits, children and adults learn and practice book arts. Gray Zeitz of Larkspur Press in Owen County, Kentucky, has been a major influence over the years.
The Portland Museum’s Squire Earick House, an American Treasure, may be the oldest house in Portland and when its restoration is complete, will tell important stories about life on the river’s edge, flatboats and steamboats, and the Underground Railroad.
Nathalie Andrews, Executive Director
Teresa Lee, Museum Educator/Visitor Services Coordinator
Katherine Taft, Communications/Office Manager
Board of Trustees
Maria McGary, President
Rosanne Kruzich, Secretary
Sherry Cockrell, Treasurer
VISIT PORTLAND MUSEUM
Visit Portland Museum
2308 Portland Avenue
Louisville, Kentucky 40212
Phone: (502) 776-7678
Email Portland Museum: firstname.lastname@example.org
From Interstate 64: Take the 22nd Street Exit. Turn right onto Portland Avenue. Portland Museum is located one block west, on the left side of the street.
From Main Street: Take 21st Street North until it becomes 22nd Street. Continue to intersection with Portland Avenue, turn left. Portland Museum is located one block West, on the left side of the street.
Click here for a map
PARKING: Off-street parking is available in the parking lot on the south side of Lytle Street, behind the museum. Accessible parking available in lot behind museum on North side of Lytle. Both can be reached by driving through the museum grounds or from the intersection of 22nd and Lytle.
Tuesday - Friday: 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Other times by appointment
Children (5 and under): Free
Discounts: $1.00 off for AAA, AAM, National Trust, military personnel.
Groups of 10 or more adults: $6.00 per person
Please contact us about special arrangements for group tours.
Support Portland Museum
Portland Museum, a private, not-for-profit institution, depends on people like you to help fulfill its mission. Your donations support preservation of collections, educational programs, community outreach and more. Your support is vital to ensure that the story of Portland will be told for generations to come.
The generosity of many civic-minded individuals, corporations, government entities, and foundations make the programs and projects of the museum possible, and we extend our most heartfelt appreciation to each one, large and small, who lend support. Together, we are making a better community.
Please consider making a donation today!
The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, supports the Portland Museum with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
A grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation supports Young Curators Preservation Camp
Grants from Metro Louisville External Agency Fund support educational programs.
Support also provided by
Captain Mary Miller
A Lady Steamboat Man: Portland’s Captain Mary Miller, introduces your museum tour with tales from her life as the first woman in America licensed to pilot a steamboat.
Portland; The Land, The River, The People
You will discover how the 19th century town of Portland developed below the Falls of the Ohio River. Portland: The Land, the River, and the People employs dioramas, a terrain model, historic figures, and automated lights and sounds to bring fascinating characters and events to life in a 23-minute experience.
Portland’s vibrant sports history comes to life in A Neighborhood of Teams, A Community of Champions, A Golden Boy From Portland, and Run to Win: Paul Hornung at Green Bay. Historic images and the extensive Paul Hornung Collection of sport memorabilia tell the story of a working class neighborhood where team sports shaped identity and community, while producing world class athletes like Paul Hornung.
The Skene Gallery, named to honor the family that lived in Beech Grove for eight decades, features John James Audubon’s portraits of Portland magistrate Squire Jacob Earick and his wife Mary Ann Bell. Other important related artifacts are on display.
Albert B. Comstock Gallery, named to honor a local banker and philanthropist, features changing exhibitions in the arts and humanities, intimate musical events, and panel discussions. Click here (link) to see the current offering or sign up for our mailing lists to receive updates (link).
Squire Earick House, located at 719 North 34th Street, is a designated American Treasure (U.S. Secretary of the Interior). The museum is restoring this heavy-timber federal period house. Open for tours on a limited basis by appointment only. Sign up for our mailing list to be updated on periodic tours and programs (link).
iRead Summer Camp
Tiffanie Hanvey was a wonderful teacher and mentor to our campers this year! Reading and writing skills were honed through fun art activities and group play. Campers learned about world geography, our solar system, and explored the mysteries of the ocean. We would like to wish Ms. Hanvey good luck in her exciting next adventure teaching in South America!
Special recognition and thanks to District 5 Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, and Metro Parks EAF dollars for making this educational programing possible.
Young Curators Preservation Camp
What a fun camp! Young Preservation campers had quite the unique and amazing opportunity to participate in a real archaeological dig at the Historic Squire Earick house. Many interesting artifacts were found beneath the back porch area, including a spear tip that we have preliminarily dated back to over 1000 years ago! Campers also worked with Restoration Carpenter, T. Mike Mullinix, to learn about what tools were used to build the house, how carpenters used mortise and tenon joints to secure the framing, and even were able to make their own mortise and tenon joints as well as build flat boat models! Ash Braunecker, a masters student at the University of Louisville, and the museum's educator, Teresa Lee, taught the campers the social history of the families that lived in the house, how surveying was done in the 1800's, and the role of cartography in researching the history of the house.
Thank you to the National Trust for Historic Preservation for providing funding for this program.
Want to learn more about Portland? Get involved in Portland community initiatives through Portland Museum projects or other neighborhood organizations:
Portland Wharf Park: "Linking Our Heritage to Our Future," A Preserve America Project
On the “wet side” of the floodwall near 34th street lies the 55-acre site of Portland Wharf Park where General William Lytle founded the Town of Portland in 1811. Portland Museum and Louisville's Metro Parks Department are working together to develop Portland Wharf Park as an educational opportunity and cultural heritage destination.
Portland Preservation Alliance
“Honor our Past, Build our Future” is the motto of PPA. Join the Portland preservation community in meetings, workshops, tours and other endeavors to preserve Portland's history and architecture.
This neighborhood organization, known as the “Voice of Portland,” addresses issues and concerns of the Portland community including economic development, quality housing, preservation of historic architecture, education and many other environmental and social issues.
JUST FOR KIDS
Kentucky Institute for Creative Kid Stuff
Welcome to KICKS! Portland Museum created this page just for kids. We will post new activities and ideas to help you learn and use your imagination! Check back often for new things to do
NEW this month:
Meet the Wulfings, a family who lived in Louisville a long time ago! They traveled a long way—all the way from Germany—to make Louisville their home. Learn about how the Wulfing family and children lived, worked, and played!
Can you find Germany on a world map? Now find Louisville, Kentucky. What great body of water did the Wulfings cross to get to America? What other body of water brought them to Louisville?
What is your favorite thing about your home?
What kind of job would you like to do when you grow up?
CLICK HERE to download the Wulfings’ story and fun activities.
Get smart about history – bring your class to the Portland Museum.
Portland Museum makes teaching history fun. As the story of the Falls of the Ohio unfolds through exhibits, films, and games, children get smart about where their town has been and where is it going. And, for an educator, what could be smarter than that?
Book a field trip for this year’s class to see the places, hear the people, and experience the events that make 19th century river towns like Portland so fascinating. We will work with teachers to tailor your trip to your class needs. Perfect for grades 3, 4, and 8 but all ages enjoy and learn.
- Free preview for teachers interested in booking a field trip
- Meet Captain Mary Miller, the talking steamboat captain
- Experience “Portland: The Land, the river, and the people”
- Play “Shoot the Falls,” “Heave the Lead” & other interactive games
- Watch documentaries and animated films
- Get materials for your classroom
You will meet Portland’s Captain Mary Miller, America’s first female steamboat pilot, who introduces the museum tour with tales of life spent of the Ohio River.
Then, an automated light-and-sound tour, “Portland: The Land, the River and the People,” transports students back in time to explore our river history through dioramas of historic scenes and life-sized characters like John James Audubon.
You may select a video for class viewing from children’s animated films, historic newsreels of the 1937 Flood, or a documentary about John James and Lucy Audubon arriving in Louisville on a flatboat and the life they built in Kentucky.
There’s more! Students can learn how participating in sport helped New Americans join the community and enjoy the sports career of football great, Paul Hornung, Portland’s Golden Boy and Heisman trophy winner.
Of course, the latest temporary exhibit in the Comstock Gallery and the Audubon Room are also available for students and teachers to enjoy.
Outdoors, students will enjoy a lovely lawn and garden as well as our “River’s Edge Play Yard” featuring a steamboat wheelhouse, knot boards, and maritime artifacts.
Teachers choose from the list below to meet their curriculum needs:
Along the Ohio: This charming animated film by and for elementary children tells the story of boats used on the Ohio, from canoes to the Belle of Louisville.
Jim Porter: Another film animated by children, this production tells the story of the Kentucky Giant who grew up in Portland.
Iron Horse Fever Comes to Portland: Also animated by children, the film tells of the coming of railroads to Louisville and Portland and the uproar they caused.
1937 Great Ohio River Flood News Reels: Students can learn about this tremendous event and also how differently the news is reported today than in a time before television when people went to movie theaters to see the news.
John James Audubon: Witness at the Falls: A 23-minute production about John James and Lucy Audubon’s life in Kentucky. The young couple arrived in Louisville by flatboat and later moved to Henderson. Shippingport remained a refuge for the family in times of trouble. Suitable for older students and adults.
Dream of Power: This documentary tells the story of the great Tarascon Mill on Shippingport and how the Portland Museum recreated it in a model.
Grades 1-3: In “Shoot the Falls” children roll dice to race boats along a room-size floor map and learn about the perils of navigating the Falls of the Ohio before the canal.
Grades 4-5: In “Heave the Lead,” a steamboat game, students learn about “Mark Twain” a call the leadsman used to tell his steamboat captain the river’s depth. Children toss weighted ropes at targets to simulate the job of a leadsman.
Grades 3-5: “Hoops and Graces.” The museum has sets of “Hoops and Graces” for outdoor fun, weather permitting. Nineteenth century children rolled hoops in races and tossed and caught wooden rings called graces.
The collections of the Portland Museum play an important role in understanding American life in a particular yet representative place, detailing the history and material culture of Portland, once an independent town at the Falls of the Ohio and now an urban neighborhood of Louisville.
The growing collection includes artifacts, costumes, paintings, drawings, photographs, documents, oral histories and vernacular objects. The collection is informed by a body of research.
The collection is not currently available to the public for research but the staff will process requests for information on an as-time-allows basis. There is a small fee for this service. Click here to fill out a Research Request form.