redefining image for broader appeal
name, website to part of new campaign
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (January 2006) After 11/2
years since opening in May 2004, the $32 million Frazier Historical
Arms Museum in downtown Louisville is about to enter a transition that
officials there hope will better define the collection to the public.
tableaus (above) and armor dress
(below) are among the exhibits
at the Frazier Arms Museum.
The five-story museum at 829 W. Main St. houses Owlsey
Brown Fraziers private gun collection as well as an impressive,
one-of-a-kind collection of armaments from the British Royal Armouries
Museum in Leeds, England, and Tower of London. There is also a 48-seat
theater and several videos screenings throughout the museum.
But there is much more. The museum features exhibits, tableaus and timeline
boards that are as much about history as weapons. All of the lifesize
tableaus were designed in Europe and reconstructed upon arrival in Louisville.
Some include full-size warrior-mounted horses in full battle dress.
The facility has an aggressive outreach program to schools and nursing
homes, and has its own classroom for visiting school groups. Grade-schoolers
participate in scavenger hunts, sleepovers, Breakfast with the
Knight, and watch some of the diverse demonstrations performed
by the museums costumed interpreters.
A lot of people walk past our door every day on their way to the
Louisville Slugger Museum (across the street) and say, What is
that? They think were just about guns, but we have a lot
more to offer, said Frazier Museum marketing administrator Michelle
She added that once people visit, their experiences help sell the museum
to others via word of mouth. Once they come in, they are so surprised.
They say its more of a history museum and that it isnt what
they expected at all. They usually love it because we are so unique.
from an area school learn
what it was like to be part of a
battle in the early days of war.
To get that message out, the museum in January will launch
a promotional effort that will include a slight name change as well
as new live performance demonstrations, and a new brochure that better
illustrates what were all about, Gelback said. A new
website was launched Dec. 15 and more changes, including videos, are
in store for it in the coming weeks, she said. The museum recently began
offering MP3 headphones for audio tours and hopes to have a traveling
exhibit ready by next October.
We didnt have the museum finished at the time we designed
the first brochures, so we now have more to go on, Gelback said.
Its a process; its a new museum, and the Royal Armouries
is just now letting us use their name more in our marketing efforts.
The museum already offers eight interpretations, or demonstrations,
a day that take place every half hour. Among the 40 total types of demonstrations
is 16th century sword fighting. A new demo will be pollaxe fighting,
On Jan. 21, the museum will play host to an unusual Historical
Ball, featuring Civil War and 18 century-era re-enactors and guests
dressed in period clothing.
Louisvilles museum is only one of four Royal Armouries exhibits
in existence worldwide. Museum officials in Leeds searched for nearly
a decade to find the perfect, centrally located U.S. city in which to
situate a portion of their collection. All of the pieces behind glass
are real; those not sealed behind glass are realistic replicas to help
tell the story of their use.
The museum also houses such things as George Washingtons flintlock
rifle, presented to him in 1791; Daniel Boones family Bible (on
loan); Teddy Roosevelts rifle; Apache Indian Chief Geronimos
bow and arrow; Josiah Bartletts sword; and exhibits on Annie Oakley,
Buffalo Bill Cody, Civil Wars Clara Barton, and a Great
Names in American Gunsmaking gallery. There is a unique display
of master knifesmith Lloyd Hales beautiful artistry of hand-carved
Gelback said the museum is pleased with attendance of just over 100,000
in 2005 after having surpassed the national average of 60,000-80,000.
But with the new marketing efforts, the staff hopes to push well beyond
that level as the public becomes more informed on its collection and
displays. The staff already has set up traveling exhibits this past
year at the Louisville Zoo and the Kentucky State Fair. The museums
membership is more than 1,200, she said.
For more information about the museum or its
events, call (502) or visit: www.fraziermuseum.org.
Back to January 2006