Clio Logo

The Speed Art Museum, Kentucky's oldest and largest art museum, is located along south Third Street in downtown Louisville. The museum was originally founded as the J.B. Speed Memorial Museum in 1925 by Hattie Bishop Speed in honor of her husband James Breckinridge, a well-known businessman and Philanthropist. Collections at the museum showcase a wide variety of art from around the world, including ancient, classical, and modern art. The facility is currently being renovated--at an estimated cost of $50 million--to include a larger exhibition space, welcome center, theater, and education center.

  • Speed Art Museum
  • Speed Art Museum
The Speed's original facility was designed by Arthur Loomis, a local architect, and did not officially open until January 15, 1927. Nearly 2,000 patrons attended the museum's first exhibition--sponsored by the Louisville Art Association. Approximately 100 European and American painters were in attendance. 

The museum was incorporated as a privately endowed institution in 1933, with Hattie Speed serving as it's first president and director. A board of governors was also established and the Speed received its first major donation in 1934--a collection of North American Indian artifacts gifted by Dr. Frederick Weygold. The first of three additions to the facility was completed in 1954 following donations made by Dr. Preston Pope Satterwhite. The museum's collections were expanded under the watch of Addison Franklin Page, who assumed the position of director in 1962. Additions to the north and south side of the facility were completed during Page's tenure. 

The museum was renovated in 1996 after James Breckinridge's granddaughter gifted $50 million to the Speed's endowment. The facility reopened in 1997 and is supported entirely by donations, endowments, grants, ticket sales, and memberships.

The Speed is once again closed for a major renovation.