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Please join us for the opening of our latest exhibit, Shantyboat Life on the Ohio, curated Jim Holmberg and Jennie Cole, with help from Dr. Mark Wetherington.

Denigrated as “squatty little half-house, half-boat,” shantyboats provided dwelling places for as many as 50,000 people along American rivers during the Great Depression. From the 1850s until the 1950s, Louisville had a thriving shantyboat community by the outlet of Beargrass Creek along River Road near Butchertown, at an area called “The Point.” Drawing from the Filson’s art, manuscript, photograph, print, and museum collections the exhibit will present images, artifacts, and information documenting the largely extinct shantyboat culture.

Dr. Mark Wetherington, former Director of the Filson Historical Society, made an extensive study of Louisville’s vanished floating community during his tenure as the Filson’s Senior Research Fellow. This exhibit, co-curated by Wetherington, the Filson’s Curator of Collections, Jim Holmberg, and Manager of Collections Access Jennie Cole, pairs this research with resources from the Filson’s collections.

The opening will be held from 5:00-6:30 p.m. and will feature light refreshments and short remarks from the curators. Curators and Filson staff will be available to answer questions about the items on display and the history behind them.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information about these and other upcoming exhibits, please visit

Venue Details
The Filson Historical Society
1310 South 3rd Street, Louisville, Kentucky, 40208, United States
The Filson Historical Society, founded in 1884, is a privately-supported historical society dedicated to preserving the history of Kentucky and the Ohio Valley Region.