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Pewee Valley Museum


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About the Pewee Valley Museum

Opened in 2014 in a former fire station beside Pewee Valley?s historic Town Hall, the Pewee Valley Museum celebrates the sixth class city?s unique heritage.

Whimsically named by Louisville educator Noble Butler in the 1850s when the tiny settlement of artists and educators first became a stopping point on the Louisville & Frankfort Railroad, Pewee Valley had grown into a popular resort by the turn of the 20th century. It was known as one of the most beautiful towns in Kentucky, and many of Louisville?s elite families summered here.

Adding to the town?s reputation was the 1895 debut of ?The Little Colonel,? by children?s author Annie Fellows Johnston. The story was based on real people and places in Pewee Valley Johnston encountered while visiting the summer before. That thin little volume eventually led to the publication of 11 more ?Little Colonel? books, a children?s diary, paper dolls, card games, puzzles, postcards and the 1935 Fox Studio debut of ?The Little Colonel? movie starring Shirley Temple and Lionel Barrymore.

The museum?s collection includes the nearly-complete works of Annie Fellows Johnston, Shirley Temple dolls and other memorabilia from ?The Little Colonel? movie, the real Little Colonel?s baby buggy, official Little Colonel postcards, toys and games, and information about Kate Matthews, the official ''Little Colonel'' photographer who also became a character in the stories.

Pewee Valley was also home to several unique institutions, including the Kentucky College for Young Ladies, the Kentucky Confederate Home (a retirement facility for Confederate veterans) and the Confederate Burying Ground at Pewee Valley Cemetery (open daily during daylight hours), and the Jennie Casseday Rest Cottage for Working Women. Their stories are told through photo displays and artifacts at the museum.

Also on display are relics of the town?s relationship with the railroad, including a luggage car, telegraph equipment and 1956 mail bag used when the town's mail was delivered by train. Other reminders of the role the railroads played in the town?s founding are the wooden caboose and restored 19th century mail crane on display across the street from the museum.

On semi-permanent loan are mid-20th century artifacts from the Pewee Valley Post Office, including a wooden cash drawer, manual cancellation machine and hand cancellation equipment.

The gallery at Town Hall includes works by local artists and photographers from different periods of the city?s history.

The museum is free and open for self-guided tours. QR codes on many photos allow visitors to access the Pewee Valley Historical Society?s website for in-depth information. Group tours can be accommodated by special arrangement.

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