International Museum of the Horse

The International Museum of the Horse, an Affiliate Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, illuminates the special relationship between human and equine throughout history with its permanent collections and exhibits.

Visitors trace the evolution of the horse while ascending a 360-foot spiraling ramp through the permanent exhibits of The Legacy of the Horse. Adjoining galleries present important collections such as the history of the ASPCA, The Horse in SportBuffalo Soldiers, tributes to outstanding Thoroughbreds and farms, and an outstanding array of carriages. Most recently, the Al-Marah Arabian Horse Galleries opened, housing an 8,000 square foot multimedia interactive experience which showcases the Arabian breed from its desert beginnings through its emergence across Europe and the journey through America.

Ongoing philanthropic support for the operations of the International Museum of the Horse is needed to maintain, improve and expand upon the permanent exhibits and collections of the museum while also attracting and creating new temporary and permanent exhibitions. Examples of just a few of the specific projects for which philanthropic support will make a difference include:

Man o’ War Restoration Fund

The monumental sculpture of the great Man o’ War has long been an icon for Kentucky and the Kentucky Horse Park. While the sculpture has survived well, the metal used for casting has presented unique challenges. Corrosion is evident every year and his original patina or color is long gone from the surface. Preservation occurs yearly to keep our beloved Man o’ War looking his best and further corrosion at bay. However, without removal of the existing corrosion the metal will continue to deteriorate. In order to help the sculpture survive another 70 years, a new patina will be applied in 2016 thus removing the corrosion and adding a new protective layer to the metal. Yearly preservation work will still take place and, with diligence, future deterioration should be minimized. If you would like to help us save this monument to America’s greatest Thoroughbred, please go to the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation’s donation page and select “Man o' War Restoration Fund” under “Campaign.”

The Legacy of the Horse exhibit

Private support will help update and improve upon this beloved core exhibit in the museum, which explores the history and evolution of the relationship between human and horse throughout time.

New exhibits

The museum constantly adds new exhibits to highlight issues and topics important to the equestrian world. For example, plans are being formed to include an exhibition centered around the horse in Kentucky, showcasing the horse’s development from the famous sire named Lexington to Kentucky’s current position as the Thoroughbred breeding capital of the world.

Research Center

The museum houses one of the foremost collections in the world of equine related artifacts, art and historical documentation including rare books and archival material. Private support will help us to improve accessibility to the research center through such projects as upgrading storage facilities and digitizing collections in order to preserve this tremendous equine collection for future generations and more capably share it with the general public.