Every Picture Tells A Story: Henry Clay, Ashland, and Photography

One of the most important ways that Ashland and Henry Clay have been recorded is through photographs and we have learned a lot about both the estate and its owners through it. This exhibit will look at how photography has impacted our understanding of Henry Clay and his farm as the medium has evolved over time and features many images rarely or never before seen and reveals the stories they tell.

Our new exhibit has an interesting twist: it needs your photo taken at the Estate. While the Exhibit in the Mansion will feature iconic images of Henry Clay and Ashland, an auxiliary Exhibit in the Keeper’s Cottage will showcase how Ashland has transitioned from Clay’s “pleasure grounds” to a space linked to particular moments in the lives of individuals, families, and visitors from around the world. We anticipate that photographs from years past will weave a story – of people and events, but also of the changing landscape of Ashland itself.

We appreciate your taking time to dig through photos and submit them for consideration in the Exhibit. Here’s how to submit a photo:

  • Mail or drop off physical photos at the Mansion at 120 Sycamore Road, Lexington, KY 40502. Please print and include the Photo Loan Release
  • E-mail digital photos to our Manager of Tours & Education, Cameron: cwalpole@henryclay.org and be sure to attach the Release Form
  • Post digital photos using #myashland on your public Instagram or twitter account
  • Be sure to label and date your photo and include a brief description of its meaning to you

In the pyramid of boys below, front and center, is a young Dr. John Looff. Here’s his story: Growing up across the street,  Ashland provided the Gathering Place for all the kids in the neighborhood. It was our ‘Hundred Acre Wood’ – a playground for our imagination, hide and seek, catching fireflies in the summer, and building snowmen and forts in the winter. Later there were countless games of baseball, football, and later still a hand-in-hand walk with my first girlfriend. Moving away, but then relocating back to the same house with my own children allowed me the satisfaction of seeing Ashland become an integral part of their lives too.

Ashland typically rotates 2 or 3 temporary changing exhibits each year. Check here regularly for information on what is currently on view and coming soon!