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Fall 2019 Newsletter


As the red, orange, and golden hues of fall come upon us, we prepare for the cooler weather, shorter days, and the coming holidays.  Soon we will be smelling apple cider, pumpkin pie, and the bountiful buffet of the holidays.


One great piece of news we have to report is that the George Rogers Clark (2nd Street or US-31) Bridge work is finished and access to the museum is now simpler than ever before with this non-tolled option to cross the river from the south.


Here at the Howard Steamboat Museum we are looking forward to this time of year as we have lots of events that will bring you in to visit with us.  We will be participating in the AFLOAT: An Ohio River Way of Life series of events on the 11th of October with a special lecture in our Carriage House, featuring Professor Carl E. Kramer presenting “The American Barge Line Goes to War”.  The following day will be another special event, our 2019 River Ramblings lecture with Capt. Matthew P. Dow sharing his experiences in a three-year project converting a former Casino Boat into a modern excursion boat in the historic New Orleans Harbor.


As we get closer to the holiday season, we will have our Annual Christmas Open House.  This event is more like a homecoming of friends and members who come to see the mansion decorated in its best holiday regalia.  Santa will be here to visit with the children and the mansion will be full of holiday cheer.  Plan to be with us on the 8th of December to join in on the fun.


You don’t need a special event to come see us.  We have the doors open to guests year-round, Tuesday through Sunday.


There is always something happening at the Howard!  Plan to come visit us soon!


Welcome home to the Howards!




Professor Carl E. Kramer, “The American Barge Line Goes to War”

This lecture will be part of the “AFLOAT: An Ohio River Way of Life” series of events happening community-wide in 2019.

AFLOAT: An Ohio River Way of Life encompasses a number of themes that will be highlighted in the various exhibitions, programs and venues that are joining together in this collaborative cultural effort.  Some of these themes include the Ohio River, its history, inspiration of contemporary artists and ecological importance; Shanty Boats and their impact on area social and cultural. life; the iconic Kentucky artist, Harlan Hubbard and his continuing impact on the art of our region; and the general historical, ecological and environmental significance of the River and its ways of life.

On the 11th of October, in the Carriage House of the Howard Steamboat Museum, Professor Carl E. Kramer will lecture on the role of American Barge Line, and its subsidiary, Jeffersonville Boat & Machine Company, in shipping war material and building vessels for defense purposes.  Focused on the Louisville region, and especially southern Indiana, the presentation will set out this area’s role in World War II, including Jeffboat’s construction of towboats, LSTs, oilers, and other vessels.

Professor Kramer will cover a diverse set of topics including wartime employment, expansion of the shipyard, the roles of female workers, and such issues as the ‘Catfish Navy’, which transported completed vessels down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to the Gulf of Mexico.  The story will feature individuals whose careers at ABL/Jeffboat covered the wartime and continued for decades thereafter.

This event will be held in the Carriage House of the Howard Steamboat Museum at 7:00pm on the 11th of October 2019.  This event is free to the public, donations graciously accepted.

For more information on AFLOAT go to



River Ramblings


This year’s River Ramblings will be on Saturday the 12th of October 2019 in the newly renovated Carriage House Event Center on the Museum campus.  The event will begin promptly at 3:00pm and admission is $5.00 per person.


Our special guest Capt. Matthew P. Dow, Project Manager, New Orleans Steamboat Company,  will deliver a talk about the trials and tribulations of taking the defunct 1991-built Rock Island, IL based riverboat casino (the CASINO ROCK ISLAND) and converting her into the new dinner boat sensation of New Orleans, the Riverboat CITY OF NEW ORLEANS.


Some of the topics addressed will include the physical work and dealing with modern vessel regulations from the prospective of an older vessel.  Capt. Dow tells us that he will be sharing pictures and anecdotes of the process from the prospective of his position as the Project Manager.  As with all River Ramblings talks, there will be ample time allotted for a question and answer session after the talk.


This will prove to be a very interesting talk as Capt. Dow is an engaging speaker with a great story to tell; this should be an afternoon to remember!


Historically, many of our out of town guests who come to River Ramblings like to ride the Str. BELLE OF LOUISVILLE before the event. We have specifically scheduled this event to be one hour after the vessel is scheduled to land.  This way our guests can take their time, be safe, and not be hurried while they are coming to the museum.



Carriage House Rentals


One of the most popular event venues in town is our historic 1880’s-built Carriage House. It’s no surprise to hear this if you’ve seen it.  There is simply no venue in town like it in size, accommodation, or versatility!  Our manager, Mrs. Bonnie Poore reports bookings are well into 2020 and she is looking for bookings in 2021.  She would love to show you the magic this space creates.  She is available via phone at (812) 913-4591 or email at   Make an appointment with her to show you the capabilities of this great venue today!


If you have a family event coming up, a wedding, corporate party, or maybe a holiday party…think about using the Carriage House as your location.  Bonnie is well versed in what it takes to make your event perfect.  From the finest caterers, to breath-taking decorations, and enthralling entertainment, Bonnie knows the best vendors and can work with you to create a spectacular event that will be the talk of the town!


Our interior space comprises of two unique venues, a reception hall and the spacious Bales Hall.  We feature a state-of-the-art audio/visual system, historic finishes and appointments, and space you have to see to believe.  Then there is our warming kitchen that is ready for your professional caterer to provide you with the finest culinary delights.  We have a bar that serves both in and out of doors for your caterer to utilize as well. You can bring the outside in when the weather turns on our 3-season heated veranda with automatically closing Kevlar drapes.  Don’t miss our outdoor, lighted pavilion patio that features a rather unique photo opportunity, the former jail cell of the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE.


It’s the versatility of the space that makes the place and we have the perfect versatile space for your event!  Call Bonnie now at (812) 913-4591 to set up an appointment to see what a wonderful event you can plan for your guests!  One thing is for sure, it’s sure to be the talk of the town!



Christmas Open House


On the 8th of December from 1:00pm until 3:00pm we will be having our Annual Christmas Open House.  This is a great event and a wonderful time to share the Christmas spirit in the Victorian mansion with your family and friends.  Santa will be here ready to visit with the kids, our usual buffet of treats will be in the kitchen, and many museum members and friends alike will gather to visit.  This is also a good chance to pick up something for that special someone which will be truly unique from the great selections in our gift shop.  Another great gift idea is a museum family membership (free admission for a year) or one-time admission gift card.  They are both great ways to share the beauty, history, and story of the Howards with your friends.  Plan to join us and celebrate the holidays Victorian style!



Volunteers needed


Have you ever thought, “I would love to meet new people and share a great story with them”?  Do we have the opportunity for you!


The Howard Steamboat Museum is looking for volunteers.


As a Docent you would greet our guests and share the riveting story of the Howard family while you show them how the Howards lived in their own 15,000 sq. ft., 3-story mansion.  This is a great way to meet exciting people and share knowledge. Our average guest is traveling and genuinely interested to learn the history of the area when they arrive.


Of course, every tour is different.  We offer both guided and self-guided tours.  So sometimes all you have to do is introduce the subject matter and let them explore on their own.


We are seeking people who can be volunteer docents for the museum.  The responsibility would be interpreting the house and collection for our visitors.  We would like to have people who can be available from 10:00am until 4:00pm one day a week.  We aren’t always busy and you will have the museum at your disposal to read, learn, and explore in your free time.  We will train you in what you need to know.  Our belief is that we give you the tools and you make those facts blossom for our guests in your own way.


It is a lot of fun and you sure meet some interesting people along the way.


Contact us at  or call us at (812) 283.3728 and let us know just how interested you are!



Museum Wish List


With the end of the year coming many people are looking for a way to make donations that will have meaning.  At the Howard Steamboat Museum, donations and bequests are gratefully received. The Clark County Historical Society/Howard Steamboat Museum, Inc. is a 501©3 organization. Therefore, your gift may be tax deductible. Kindly contact your tax consultant for details.

The museum receives no regular federal, state, county or city tax dollars. Occasional grants from a variety of entities are used to fund special projects.


The museum always has basic needs to function properly.  We are grateful for all the support we receive from the community and our guests.  However, there are a number of things we need for daily operation.  If you have these items or know of someone who may be willing to donate them to us, we would be very appreciative!


Office Supplies

  • Printer Cartridges (HP 902 M XL, HP 902 C XL, HP 902 Y XL, HP 902 K XL, and HP 61XL Black, HP 61XL Color)
  • Printer Paper
  • Ink Pens (Black and Blue)
  • Tape
  • Post-it-Notes
  • Stamps (Forever stamps, preferred)
  • #6 ¾” Envelopes
  • File Folders (standard Manilla and Hanging)


Housekeeping and Household Supplies

  • Coffee (Reg. and Decaf)
  • Vacuum cleaner bags (A-Type)
  • Window Cleaner
  • Disinfectant Cleaner
  • Paper Towels (regular)
  • Paper Towels (for electronic dispenser)
  • Cleaning Buckets
  • Cleaning Rags
  • Garbage Bags (Kitchen size and full size)
  • Toilet Tissue
  • Toilet Cleaner



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